Every once in a while we see a marketing campaign that flops. Meant to resonate with consumers and steal the show, some marketing strategies (whether it involves a visual display or not) fail miserably, sometimes doing more harm than good.

Take Burger King’s former mascot, ‘The King’, for example.

Created in an attempt to stand up against McDonalds long-time hero Ronald McDonald, the odd looking mascot and his strange commercials ended up turning people away rather than bringing them into the restaurant.

The result was a decrease in sales.

He fought a good fight, but because of the 6% loss in sales in the first quarter of his life, The King was laid to rest in 2011.

Another notable fail was Bud Light’s ‘Up for Whatever’ campaign in 2015. In the campaign, the beer was positioned as the perfect beverage “for removing no from your vocabulary for the night.”

The innuendo tucked inside the campaign didn’t make people want to buy the beer, it made them want to not buy it – the exact opposite of what a killer marketing campaign should do.

I could write this entire blog post on failed marketing campaigns, but I won’t.

I think the examples here and any you might be thinking about right now are enough to make you understand that your content in any marketing campaign needs to make sense, resonate with the audience, and leave them wanting more.

So… how do you create content for your visual display campaign that really resonates without failing, offending, or butchering your sales?

Here are 4 tips to help you create content that resonates with your audience and makes you look like a superhero all at the same time.

** I put together a separate list of 20 free tools you can use to create beautiful content for digital signs without using a graphic designer. And you can get your content up in less than 15 minutes. Get the list of tools here.

1. Find Your Avatar

Discovering who your audience is can be challenging, especially for newer businesses. Sometimes we miss the mark on this, pointing our campaign in the wrong direction.

To avoid this, and before you create any kind of content, you need to be crystal clear on who your avatar is.

Your avatar is your ideal customer.

The name is synonymous with ‘target market’ or ‘niche.’ No matter what you call it, creating content that resonates with your avatar is the most crucial element when designing a visual display campaign.

We talked about campaigns that flopped as a result of missing the mark. There are a hundred reasons why this can happen, including poor visuals, unclear tag lines, and targeting the wrong audience.

Take the time to sit down with your marketing team to determine the full demographic of your audience to avoid hitting these snags. Try writing a short paragraph that defines their age, what they like, where they live, and what they might be struggling with.

The clearer you are with this, the better.

2. Declare Your Objective

Once you’ve really honed in on your target audience, you need to declare your objective. Ask yourself questions like:

– What is the purpose of this campaign?
– What kind of results do I want to have?
– Is my visual display campaign long term or short term?

If your objective is to release a new product under your brand, your content needs to make that clear. It also needs to resonate with your current avatar. Otherwise, you could have some confused consumers on your hands.

Take the Dr. Pepper Not for Women’ ad campaign launched in 2011 as an example. The 10 calorie soft drink was aimed at men that wanted a diet cola that made them feel “manly.” This, after company research found that men tend to shy away from diet drinks that aren’t perceived that way.

Their attempt at cornering the “manly market” failed.

The purpose of the campaign was to sell a completely new product to a single demographic. But the objective begged the question: Is there even a manliness factor for Dr. Pepper in the first place?

Turns out there was not.

The results they wanted clearly missed the mark. They didn’t get a good response from the manly market they attempted to corner.

Instead, they found themselves answering to thousands of upset consumers that found the ads to be sexist. And while the executive vice president of marketing for Dr. Pepper said at the time that “women get the joke,” there was still a degree of uncertainty as to exactly what the joke was to begin with.

What should have been a long term campaign ended up short term. The ads were pulled and the joke was on Dr. Pepper.

3. K.I.S.S

I love acronyms.

There are a million in the English language, but none is as fun to define as K.I.S.S: Keep it super simple. (There are other not-so-nice words that are sometimes used to define K.I.S.S, but in the face of being politically correct, we’ll stick with the acronym above.)

Keeping content sweet and simple is often the key to holding one’s attention, especially because statistics show that the average attention span of a viewer is a mere 9 seconds: one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.

That means time is a significant factor when deploying a digital marketing strategy. Sometimes you’ve got to be short and sweet, other times you’ve got to follow the pulse of the user.

If this is something you don’t already have your finger on, your first launch will help you determine which way to go.

If you’re using animated content, the number of times the video loops will depend on how long a user stays to observe.

This will differ based on the age of your audience and the location of your sign.

A great example of this is when the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam displayed animated paintings to the public to celebrate the first anniversary of the newly renovated museum. 86 visual displays boasted various paintings throughout 16 metro stations in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The campaign was extremely successful and brought to light the magnificence of art to individuals that had yet to experience some of the infamous paintings that were part of the digital gallery.

If you intend on using an interactive application, like the one used for the #LookingForYou campaign in London, you need to consider how often the application will “air” a segment.

For example, in the #LookingForYou Campaign, a digital signage marketing strategy that encouraged the adoption of rescue animals in England, volunteers at an area shopping center handed out brochures with a radio frequency tag attached to the brochure.

Anyone that took the information would see a cuddly adoptee pup named Barley on various digital signs as they walked through the shopping center.

Based on the number of brochures handed out and at what times, the organization knew when to keep the interactive application up and when to shut it down.

Of course, your content should relate directly to the wants and needs of your consumers. If you are marketing to children, like Dreamworks did with the release of the film Despicable Me 2, you don’t want to go with a video of a boring man in a suit and tie talking about the film.

You want animation, and you want it short and sweet to match the attention span of a child.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you want to inform our older generation of different choices they have in health care, an animated video may not be the way to go. The guy in the suit and tie might be right up their alley.

Gauge your audience and choose accordingly, and have fun creating your content.

 4. Measure Return on Investment

According to an Invodo study, 52% of shoppers confess that watching product videos makes them more confident in making a purchase.

That’s good information to have when creating content for your product. The more people you intrigue, the more purchases are made. And really, that’s what a good digital signage campaign is all about.

Ultimately, you want your campaign to produce. You want it to bring in new customers, increase brand awareness, and tip the financial scales in your favor. To create this trifecta, your need to know what your ROI, or return on investment, will look like.

Before a campaign launch, this can be difficult to predict. But by following the pulse of similar campaigns and monitoring their returns, you can create a similar digital marketing strategy that is sure to turn heads.

As the campaign unfolds, you will measure your ROI based on the quality of your content, the time of day that the campaign is most effective, and the response from consumers.

If the numbers don’t jive and customer feedback is weak at best, it’s safe to assume the content isn’t resonating with customers, and that means it’s time to go back to the drawing board.


Not all marketing campaigns get it right the first time. Some even get a second chance.

We already know Burger King didn’t get it right with ‘The King’ mascot. But someone must have put his plastic body on ice because he showed up again when the quick service chain brought him back to life in 2015.

He’s getting a second chance, which means even if you launch a campaign that doesn’t bring fireworks the first time, it may very well the next time around.

Determining the objective of your campaign is also key.

Without direction, you’ve got nowhere to go. That’s why defining the purpose of your digital campaign is crucial in helping you better deliver your message.

Finally, keep your content super simple. Don’t overpopulate it with images and videos just to fill your screen. Determine how long your video or image campaign will be based on the attention span of your avatar.

The best content is the most memorable content. Powerful images and empowering messages are often most effective. In the end, you want the consumer to remember who you are.

What kind of content resonates will your audience now? How can you convert that to a powerful digital campaign strategy?