“What did that sign say?” If you say you’ve never asked a passenger that while driving down a highway, you’re lying. Static billboards and traffic signs are easy to miss, especially when you have to concentrate on the road in traffic. So what’s the answer for advertisers and traffic agencies?
One is the digital billboards that change their message every few seconds, but they’re still stationary and only allow for multiple ads in a single sign. Another is using the sides and backs of large trucks as moving billboards. Now we’re getting somewhere, but there are still downsides. Like the fact that painted or printed ads don’t change, so local or regional advertising isn’t very feasible on a truck that travels cross-country or even cross-continent. Digital signage on truck can fix that problem, but they’re hard to see in daylight and can be blinding to drivers at night.
Electronic signage company Visionect is solving all of these problems in partnership with Mercedes and Germany’s RoadAds, creating e‑ink RoadAd displays for the backs of trucks that are easy to read (because they use four connected e‑ink boards to create one 3x5 ad space), mobile (because they’re on the back of over the road trucks, of course), and can be used for local or regional advertising. This last feature is accomplished through GPS, wifi, and 4G technologies to download appropriate ads for the area the truck is in, and they’re accurate within 16 feet. I doubt the advertising landscape will change much over 16 feet.
In addition to providing truck-based advertising to drivers, which according to surveys generates 2.5 times more interest than static billboards, these displays can also provide valuable services like warnings of upcoming traffic problems or delays, weather warnings, or how far it is to the next gas station. Not to mention information like needing to take the next exit to get to such-and-such restaurant.
The opportunity is pretty huge. Up to 94% of people surveyed remembered seeing a mobile billboard like these, and 80% remembered the ads in specific detail. Most of us can’t recall what half of the television ads we watch are actually for, just that they had something cute or interesting in them (if that much). There are 2.8 million trucks in Germany alone (the test market), and each one gets 50,000 vies per day. That’s probably more than your blog.
Visionect signs are dust resistant and waterproof, as would be expected of a digital sign affixed to the back of a big rig, and use very little power because they’re e‑ink rather than LED or LCD, so they don’t require any backlighting. The first five trucks will hit the road this November in Germany as part of the pilot trial, but this is an idea which has great potential to take off quickly and spread just quickly. We could easily be seeing these truck-based digital display ads in lots of countries and in huge numbers within a couple short years.
Visionect might well become a strong draw for marketers, drivers, trucking companies, and any number of jobs in the electronics or technology fields. What about you? See an interesting opportunity in this?
(Image credit: RoadAds)