Earlier this year, I was driving down Lamar Avenue and noticed a full-size billboard that caught my eye. It was for a well-known local floral company here in Memphis, Pugh’s Flowers. At first glance, I was thinking to myself, “What in the heck does that say?” The billboard showed Pugh’s mascot, Pughy, in a French beret with the words “Je livre a tout le monde.” My second thought was, “What’s the point of that billboard?” I actually took a photo of it (while stopped at a red light, of course).

After telling someone how terrible of an idea I thought it was, I decided to look up Pugh’s website. It turns out, the florist held a contest placing six billboards around the city all with a different country and language. You received a $5 gift card for each billboard you spotted, and if you found all six, you could have been entered into a contest to win free flowers for a year. I still don’t know what “Je livre a tout le monde” means, so if you know, please leave a comment. Google Translate said it means, “I book everything.”

Up until the website discovery, I thought it was the worst billboard I had ever seen. Why would you advertise in French? Now, though, it all makes sense, and I think it was quite creative. Perhaps Pugh’s strategy was not only to get our attention but also to limit the influx of $5 gift cards, so as not to end up spending a fortune, which is smart. Everyone recognizes iconic Pughy. It gets you thinking, “What is Pugh’s trying to do here?” And, it got me to check their website and realize I could have earned a $5 gift card toward a purchase.

Billboards can be a tricky and risky advertising buy. If not planned well with strategic thinking caps on, they can end up as a loss and can even be detrimental to your brand. Before you embark on a billboard campaign, ask yourself if you have a big enough budget to really make a difference. Do you have a targeted goal and creative direction? If not, I would think twice about spending the money.