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OUTDOOR ADVERTISING BASICS

Due to the habits of the American consumer, (see “The Reason for Outdoor Advertising” and “Top 100 Advertisers”), outdoor advertising has become more important for businesses and services, who need to get their message to a large segment of the adult population. The need, and demand for outdoor advertising has created new alternative forms of outdoor advertising that have been noted by the news, and trade journals.

In the past outdoor advertising was dominated by the large outdoor displays known as billboards. Due to the demand of businesses and services that have come to rely on outdoor advertising the industry has grown and changed. There now exists a large array of outdoor advertising products that can be used in combination or individually, so that every business, large or small can benefit from the impact of outdoor advertising. Of course, not every form of outdoor advertising is available in every market.

BILLBOARDS

 The most numerous type of outdoor advertising display available is the “Billboard”. The billboard is more accurately called a “bulletin”, in the outdoor advertising industry in order to differentiate it from other forms of outdoor advertising. These units vary in their exact size, but the most popular size familiar to most motorists, is a structure fifty to sixty-five feet tall, having a sign display area 14 feet tall by 48 feet wide. The mathematical reduction of that display area, which is also offered as the second most widely used display size, measures 10 feet 6 inches, by 36 feet wide. The later are usually mounted on structures not as tall, and therefore appear to the motorist as large as the 14 x 48.

Types of Bulletin Advertising Programs

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PERMANENT DISPLAY – These are locations that are fixed to a particular site for either, three, six or a twelve-month period. The shorter the duration the more expensive, since the cost of production and installation have to be either recovered by the vendor or paid in advance by the advertiser. These locations are used as either directional or awareness signs, in order to target a select audience, who are driving past the location daily.

ELECTRONIC DISPLAY – The latest innovation in outdoor advertising brings to billboards the performance of computer monitors. These units are composed of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) that are capable of either full motion video (a television commercial without sound) or static motion video (the advertisement changes every six to eight seconds). The benefit of these units is that the advertiser can change their message at a moments notice, and usually without charge. As an example, a football team can advertise who they are playing three days before the game, the results of the game on game day, and then who they are playing next. 

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TRIVISION DISPLAYS – Due to the demand and demographics of certain billboard locations, many advertisers request the same location. The company may equip the billboard with a unit that mechanically changes every six to thirty seconds, so that at any given time, one of three advertisers on the same billboard unit will be visible from the roadway. This concept is most prevalent in Orlando, Florida, and other metropolitan areas where demand exceeds the supply for billboard signs.

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ROTARY DISPLAY – This program uses several bulletins in different sites, where the advertiser’s message is rotated usually every two months to another location. This gives the advertiser the “reach and frequency” to different roadways and hence different audiences. The cost of this program is usually two to three times that of that of the Permanent Display, since the vendor must incur the expense of moving the advertiser’s message every two months, and must leave certain inventory open, in order to rotate the messages. However, with the advent of digital advertising, rotary ads are now less expensive than traditional rotary fixed bulletin program.

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WALLSCAPES - These are signs that vary in their dimension, and are usually mounted on the side of buildings in the inner cities, such as New York, Chicago, Las Angeles, etc. They are usually much larger than billboards and can occupy the entire side of a windowless wall of a building. Lately, there has been an advance in the materials, upon which the signs are printed. Walls with windows can be covered with signs, and not obstruct the view of those windows. Wallscapes have existed prior to the billboards, but are prohibited by sign ordinances from newer cities, such as Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia.  

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30 SHEET POSTER PANELS - The second type of outdoor advertising display, and less numerous are 30 sheet posters. These signs measure 12 x 25 or 300 square feet, and are usually mounted on a single pole, or mounted to an existing “Bulletin” two signs to one side. The cost to the advertiser is reduced, as is the size of the sign displayed. This offers the advertiser the ability to have more signs over a wider geographic area, for less cost. This is called extending the reach and frequency of the message to a wider more diverse viewing audience. These signs are usually located in more rural areas of a city, just outside of the major metropolitan areas, and on secondary roadways. Large outdoor advertising vendors have these signs mixed in with their existing billboards, to increase the reach and frequency to the targeted audience.

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8 SHEET POSTER PANELS - The third type of outdoor advertising display, and even less numerous are 8 sheet posters. These signs measure 6 x 12 or 72 square feet, and are usually mounted on a single pole, ten to fifteen feet off the ground. They are frequently placed in dense inner-city areas or urban neighborhoods that do not permit the construction of billboards or 30 sheet displays. They are usually used to advertise to a narrow market of viewers for brand awareness, or local business that service the area in which these signs are located.

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JUNIOR POSTERS - The fourth type of advertising display, and even less numerous are the Junior posters. These signs measure 3 x 6 feet, or 18 square feet, and are usually mounted on a single pole, six to ten feet off the ground. These signs are not usually illuminated and are located in inner city and municipalities that usually do not permit any of the above sign types and sizes. In some cases they will be the only outdoor advertising sign available in certain markets. 

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BUS SHELTER ADVERTISING - This is another type of outdoor advertising that has become popular. Bus Shelters can deliver outdoor messages, in areas that do not permit any of the above signs. The sign company provides the community with bus shelters, and gets the ability to display one single sign display usually measuring 4 x 6 feet on the side of the bus shelter. Roadway traffic, and pedestrians along metropolitan bus routes view the Bus Shelter.  

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BUS BENCH ADVERTISING - This type of advertising is available in areas that either prohibit all of the above outdoor advertising signs or can exist in conjunction with all the above noted signs. In some cases, Bus Benches are in areas that have no room for a Bus Shelter. The back of the bus bench is used as a display surface for signage, measuring 2 ½ feet by 6 to 8 feet.  

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AUTOMOTIVE ADVERTISING - Personal cars are being used as message centers in selected markets around the country. In cities like Los Angeles, you can have your entire personal vehicles covered with images and messages regarding a product or service. The benefit to the vehicle owner is income, to the advertiser, reach and frequency that is not available with any of the above types of signs.

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MOBILE ADVERTISING - Necessity the mother of creativity, 30 sheet and 8 sheet-sized signs are being mounted on flatbed trucks that are constantly driven along major roadways, in order to get that advertiser’s message to a target audience. This concept is in use in New York, New York, Los Angeles, and other major cities with restrictive sign ordinances.


  • RIDE SHARE DIGITAL DISPLAYS – Champion has patented a triangular rooftop digital design, that permits 360 degree of readership from the roof of motor vehicles. Champion is deploying these units in major metropolitan areas in the continental United States and does offer franchise opportunities.

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