Billboards exists in Saudi, but not like every other country in the world. For some reason Saudi government decided that they will decrease the Billboards in all Saudi streets. They consider them as a visual ugliness.
While Driving through all capitals in the world you will find Billboards on walls, Billboards on rooftops also uni-poles in the streets and everywhere. That’s not the case in Riyadh. You can find some billboards on the highways which most of them are owned by Tihama. Within city limits you will not find that much. Major roads of the city have huge crossing bridge for the walker. Billboards exists on this bridges. in addition to some muppies on main corners. Digital screens are the common most convenient way of outdoor advertising.
Some municipalities set a minimum price for Billboard locations. With most of the major brands in the world existing in the market. All of them are competing for the locations inside the city. Add to this that the cities of Saudi are expanding horizontally. which means that the wide space of the city must be covered by many outdoors locations. all this factors made the price of outdoor locations very high.
Walkways exists everywhere in Saudi. Because its the only outdoor sport that can be performed as mix groups. Husband and wife can practice walking in the walkway together. also walkways most of the time are surrounding a park, which families goes to spend quality weekend time. Al arabia controls all the Sucetts placed on the walkways. It’s prime location if the target audience is Families. as people will walk by this locations. Slow speed of walking and a need for a distraction while walking makes the message on the Sucetts visible even if it has many text in it.
Billboards that hold a Record
If you are anywhere near the north of Jeddah. You will notice the biggest digital signage in the world. It’s installed on the 34 storey King road tower. The screen is around 10,000 msq spread on three sides. The screens are made and installed by Citiled which allows sun light to enter the offices in the building in the morning and light as a huge advertising screen in the evening.
In 2014 JCDecaux in cooperation with LG mobile was able to get the Guinness record of the largest billboard ever made by creating a 3,000 smq billboard at KKIA the main airport of Riyadh. this billboard suppose to be seen by more than 20 million traveler from the airport every year.
Also one of the major Billboard campaigns of Saudi was the re-branding of Al Arabia made by JWT Riyadh. A call has been sent to the Saudi artists to submit their work as some of the will be judged by the committee and some of them will be displayed on the many AlArabia outdoors locations in Saudi.
“The shock was when we received more that 3000 entry for the competition.” Bassel Tawfic from JWT
The campaign has been a great success as it was the largest open air art exhibition in Saudi.
On the other hand the government is very strict with illegal outdoors as it’s immediately removed or shamed by hanging a sign on it declaring that this location is illegal. Mall that had unlicensed outdoor advertising has been closed and given a grass period of 2 weeks to remove them.
Creative work on the outdoor also must follow certain rules. as any part of a woman’s body can’t be shown also men faces must be covered or pixilated.
Billboards campaigns in Saudi is one of the hardest marketing channels, because of the Rules, scare of locations, and Creative limits that you must follow to be approved as an outdoor message. This comes in a contradiction with holding 2 world records in the Billboard industry.