I recently drove past a billboard on I-95 in New England which advertised an area bank. This is all it said:
183 Years. 0 Bailouts.
How utterly brilliant. With those “four” words, the reader’s takeaway is…this bank is sound, fiscally responsible, trustworthy, stable, and (most importantly) my money will be safe there. Moreover, without saying a single actual disparaging word against its competitors, it clearly states: they suck, and we’re better than them.
Audiences have short attention spans, so when seeking to persuade them, you can use fewer words by employing meaningful ones that enrich your statements beyond their actual face value.
This strategy works with all communication types, but of course, it’s particularly vital with billboards. Look at that entire paragraph of imagery that got planted in my mind with just a 2-second glance, stolen while whizzing by on a (blissfully) traffic-free interstate. Granted, I was doing the speed limit (40 years. 0 Speeding Tickets.) but it would have worked even if I had been driving past at 100 miles an hour.
Of course, then the need for the bailout would have been mine.