There are no mobile phone companies, no dating apps, no fast food chains, no international conglomerates. Just clubs, parties and DJs. I remember the first time I arrived in Ibiza and being awestruck by the billboards all over the island. You felt a sense of anticipation, whizzing by in the taxi, trying to take mental notes about which DJ was playing in which club on what date! The funny thing is – now, the clubbing billboards have just become so normal to me, they are part of daily life. I see them as I drive to White Ibiza HQ, I pass them on my way to see a sunset and I spot them as I go to meetings. In fact, I can even see them out the window of my yoga studio!
Over the years however, as more and more and even more billboards start appearing at the beginning of each new season, I’ve started becoming quite judgmental about the artwork cropping up. You see, as most advertising agencies across the world already know, there’s an art to creating good outdoor advertising. You could almost call it a science… One needs to be eye catching and impactful. You need to get all the right information across in – almost literally – the blink of an eye. You need to attract your target audience (admittedly not hard on an island famed for clubbing!). You need to establish your brand identity. You need to have wow factor.
But here in Ibiza, sometimes I think these simple facts are lost on some of the island’s graphic designers. They try to give away too much information, for example, including the entire year’s worth of DJ line-ups in small print. They opt for colours and fonts that are hard to read or (and this is my pet hate) they actually use enormous, larger than life, overly retouched photos of DJs within the artwork. Let’s face it. Not all DJs are attractive… We go to see them for their musical selection and mixing skills, not to swoon over them. Well, most of them anyway…
Many of the best Ibiza billboards are the most simple of them all. HYTE at Amnesia does it perfectly. Huge, simple black text with the party name and day of the week, plus their slogan ‘Yes to all’ on metallic silver background. You don’t need to guess what club it’s at, because Amnesia have their logos plastered on top of all of their billboards, as do Pacha and DC10. Speaking of which, Circoloco – which really needs no introduction – is the most simple of them all. And striking. If you know, you’ll go. If you happen to be one of the very rare few who don’t, you’ll Google it.
Solomun + 1 at Pacha is vibrant and eye catching. Glitterbox at Space – simple and effective. ANTS at Ushuaia and Music On at Amnesia – while they don’t actually give away any information whatsoever – are striking enough to make you remember them. But then there are the epic fails. The few billboards that make you think… what the? For example, Martin Solveig’s My House at Pacha. An awkward looking DJ against a very unflattering background colour, with far too much information listed beside him to make you take note. Interestingly, this is V2 of the My House billboard – at the very beginning of summer was an even more unflattering photo of the man himself, lazing uncomfortably on concrete wearing beige slacks. Perhaps a good friend had a word in his ear after they saw it.
BIG by David Guetta is another one that I just don’t quite get. I feel like there has been TOO much thought put into it. Is David Guetta trying to be the Dj version of Tom Hanks? Is David Guetta trying to look big against that giant I? (Fail if so). What’s so big about the party anyway? I think I am obviously missing the point of this one… And last of all: Destino. Beautiful blue sky, lovely holiday vibe tropical palm trees, the logo clearly placed and then… a girl with her butt cheeks poking out of a swimsuit (no matter how toned they may be, it’s still a bit weird) WITH A TOWEL ON HER HEAD. A towel. Like she’s just washed her hair in her fancy hotel room and is popping out to get some more sun on her bum. I don’t get it? The girl in the swimsuit would have been totally fine – a little bit sexy, a little bit chic – on her own, but to add a towel turban, with a caption underneath that says ‘Solomun + Live daytime open air from 4pm’ – huh? What on earth is the message they are trying to get across?
The next batch of billboards will probably start to go up in September, as the closings start approaching… I’m already looking forward to judging the best and worst of them!