Big Bang Beans a Big Fat Lie

Moving through some cities, you might have come across the billboards of “ Big Bang Beans ”. It is an ad claiming that its beans will burn fat. A strange claim, so it might trigger your attention. You will not search for the ‘new product’ directly, but after passing the different versions of the Big Bang Beans billboards several times, enough interest should be triggered for you to go on a search-quest online (e.g. with the help of Google).

That is exactly the purpose of this campaign: you going to search for “ Big Bang Beans ” online. The product is a fake product, created solely to be a strange imaginary product triggering the attention of consumers. The advertising company JCDecaux created the fake campaign to measure the effect of outdoor advertising, to be able to use these results later on to sell its own outdoor advertising to large/medium enterprises.

Guess what, the search results were quite significant! There were more than 22.000 searches on Google, with an average click-through rate of 30% (above 10% is very good according to Google). Of those searches 77% was mobile and #BigBangBans was used over 50.000 times.

This seems to be enough reasons for JCDecaux to claim that outdoor advertising can be very effective. However, the question remains how outdoor advertising can lead to such great results. In the case of Big Bang Beans, the poster was funny and colorful, catching the attention of consumers immediately as it differs itself from the clutter of ‘regular’ posters. Furthermore, the lack of information creates some mystery. If you see the Big Bang Beans poster for the first time, the mystery might be frustrating, as you just want to know where the ad is all about. However, research has proven that your attitude towards a so-called mystery ad improves the more you see it.

Besides the large online search results, outdoor advertising has some other advantages as well. It reaches a lot of people, the frequency of seeing the ad is high and the costs are moderate. On the contrary, there are some disadvantages as well. People do not feel highly involved, a limited amount of information can be conveyed and targeting a specific audience is not possible. JCDecaux already overcame two disadvantages by creating the mystery ad. Although people in general pay little attention due to their low involvement and the limited information that can be provided on a poster, a mystery ad can counter this effect. The ad creates interest among consumers. The more people see the mystery ads of Big Bang Beans, the more attention they will pay towards the ad and eventually they even go for an ‘online search quest’.

In conclusion, outdoor advertising can indeed be very effective when the right poster is created.  An important additional remark to make is that outdoor advertising should get sufficient support from a SEO/SEA manager to get the online part right as well, because consumers should be able to find you online easily when their interest is triggered due to the outdoor campaign. For example, Big Bang Beans made sure that they claimed the website URL as they anticipated consumers typing this website URL themselves, although they only provided an email address on the posters. Hence, online and offline should be perfectly combined to get a successful advertising campaign.

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