Sydney-based mattress company Koala is creating eye-catching, tongue-in-cheek billboards which take aim at everyone from Clive Palmer to Ikea.
A departure from the norm for mattress brands, Koala’s cheeky billboard strategy was first revealed late last year when the company recreated outdoor ads by furniture brand De Rucci.
Since then, Koala has rejigged an erectile dysfunction billboard which originally read: “Want Longer Lasting Sex?”, replacing it with “Want Longer Lasting Sleep?”.
The latest rollout includes a ‘NOFNIDEA’ Ikea-themed billboard, and another inspired by Clive Palmer’s latest advertising.
To find out more about the strategy, how it’s impacting sales and the “memefication” of billboards, B&T sat down with Koala head of marketing Tom Doyle.
While the cheeky billboards are a completely different strategy to Koala’s YouTube content, Doyle says it’s all about making the most of different channels.
“YouTube is a channel that works best when you provide detailed, well-made content. Billboards on the other hand for us represent an opportunity to drive mass brand awareness,” he said.
And looking at the figures, it’s clear brand awareness has grown substantially.
According to Doyle, Koala has received “tens of thousands” comments from consumers, and eye-wateringly large numbers in terms of online engagement with the billboards.
“I think the total reach for our billboard related posts online is over 10M people.
“The execution that we tend to go within this space is to put the billboards up, take a picture, push it out to media and then take both the pictures and any media coverage and then use them as social posts which then drive huge engagement for the brand.”
For Doyle, their success can be pinned down to taking a more humourous and original approach to advertising.
“I think in our space [humour] just represents an opportunity to be different.
“Every Australian has had one million ads driven into them from the furniture world about either crash discounts or product features that are simply reformulations on the same materials.
“We are willing to take a step away from that and talk about furniture in a way that is fun and memorable, and then we deliver a customer experience that backs that up,” he added.
Koala’s tactic represents a sort of “memefication of billboards”, said Doyle.
He explained, “When you think about the time of content that works online, and specifically memes, it is visual, sharable material that often have cultural references.
“They rely on being fast, contextual and easy to understand. We take that thinking to a medium that we think it really naturally fits in.”
“For us as an online first brand, we have to some extent grown up in internet culture as so the types of content we believe work there, will in our minds logically extend to offline content, and so far we have seen this work.”
When asked if Koala had faced any backlash about the billboards, Doyle said: “Not at all, I think each of these brands (people) understand that everything is quite tongue in cheek and probably don’t mind being talked about.”