All around the world, the advertising industry has slowly grown to be one of the biggest money making ventures.
The advertising industry keeps raking in profits as it serves the purpose of basically helping companies to sell what they are actually selling.
Information is a very crucial aspect of business and it must keep flowing from producers to consumers on a constant basis.
The producers need to market their products and one of the key aids to doing this is through advertising.
On the other hand, the producers also need to know what the consumers think about the products on the market or what more they would want. This is usually achieved through market research and feedback.
One of the most outstanding forms of advertising in this day and age is outdoor advertising. This lucrative segment takes on several forms but the common one is the use of large billboards that are often placed by the roadside, on tall buildings where they can easily be seen by motorists and pedestrians alike.
The adverts placed on these billboards usually follow the basic rules of information communication concerning banners that require the billboard to appeal to the eye with a catchy image and probably a few words.
For the case of Rwanda, telecom companies, beverage companies and banks are some of the businesses that have embraced this culture of using billboards to maintain brand presence in the minds of the populace.
However, there are times when you find billboards with messages that are either ambiguous or sometimes insensitive. This usually happens because the company’s advertising or marketing departing skipped a crucial stage in the process of preparing an advertisement.
This is the stage of pre-testing the message before it can be presented to the general public.
Anyone who knows a thing or two about advertising or business communication will tell you that one of the key lessons is that before you present an advert for public consumption, you have to find a sample of people to tell you what comes to their mind when they look at it.
This way you get to know whether the interpretations are representative of your (company’s) intentions.
There is a billboard that always gets me thinking each time I see it. It is located near the Nyabugogo Taxi Park.
It belongs to a beverage company and it has a picture of one of their products with a message saying, “Inzoga y’abagabo.” I believe that the intentions of the beverage company were purely commercial and quite noble.
However the above message could be considered not only gender insensitive but also one that gives that exalts the consumption of alcohol, or precisely strong alcohol.
In other words are we being told that consuming this drink is what it takes to be a man? Considering that this is a drink with a high alcohol percentage, the company may have had to critically think about what their billboard is saying.