Controversial Messages on Outdoor Billboards

There are checks and balances for all messages that are posted in the outdoor billboard business sector. These checks are not only in place in America but other countries like Australia. This is to prevent any racial vilification or prejudice towards any group of people due to their heritage, ancestry or political views.

Earlier this week a billboard near Vegas, Texas came under scrutiny after it was noticed and the image posted on Facebook by a local as reported by the Star -Telegraph. The sign read “Liberals Please continue on I-40 until you have left our GREAT STATE OF TEXAS’.

The local was from a nearby town of Fritch, Texas that has a population of just above 2,000. The town of Vegas has a population of 906 as recoded in the census of 2016. On the Facebook page of Kylee Mccallie was the caption of ‘Billboard 6 miles east of Vega on I-40 east bound! I like it!’

As of late Wednesday the billboard message has been reportedly removed according to one of over 2,500 responses to this Facebook page.

In response the site has raised enough funds to post the billboard with the message ‘Texas is for Everyone”.  This message will be on a digital billboard at the junction of I-40 and Coulter. The sign is expected to be posted by Friday June 22, 2018 and should remain in place for a minimum of 4 weeks.

In Australia there was another controversial message to be posted on an outdoor billboard. The Aboriginal Victoria’s Deadly Questions campaign has been stopped after the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) advised APN Outdoor not to post it.

The ad and campaign was designed to have non-native Australia’s or non-Aboriginal Australia’s ask the tough questions they have about the aboriginal people and the Australian government support of them.

Of the seven ads that were proposed two of them were found to be discriminatory towards the Aboriginal people according to the Australian Association of National Advertisers code of ethics.

The image of one of the two messages was mocked up and then posted by Mumbrella and the Guardian in a report about this situation. The entire campaign developed by the Victorian Government has been pulled from the advertising company of APN Outdoors, but instead will now be posted by JC Decaux.

At this time there are no details about the new ad campaign that have been released by the Australian Government or the ad agency.

What is ironic is that the ad that was posted then removed was funded by a private citizen in Texas, but the ad campaign funded by the Australian Government was blocked. Maybe the difference was the extent of the campaigns. The one it Texas was just local while the campaign in Victoria, Australia was to be more wide spread. The other difference was an ethical group was named by the ad in Australia while the ad in Texas targeted a political view.

It is events like the two examples above that the outdoor billboard business owners has to consider in their daily business dealings with those that want to get a message out.

California to make a Profit with Digital Outdoor Billboards

The number of digital outdoor billboards in California has nearly tripled under the governorship of Jerry Brown. He has been a friend to this type of Out-of-Home advertising since he took office nearly 8 years ago and is now looking to profit from it.

In the past decade the number of digital billboards on California highways has gone from 125 to 366. This was done by the state granting permits for them and charging a modest fee. The governor now feels there is another approach that can bring in additional revenue for the state.

There are 904 digital signs the state owns as reported by the LA Times and OOH Today. These signs vary in size and are currently being used to warn the traveling public of road hazards, traffic information and Amber alerts. The new proposal by the governor is to rent out the space to Out-of-Home advertising companies.

Governor Brown has a proposal that will begin with a 5 year pilot plan that would rent out the state owned digital signs. The proposal could bring in a net of $10.2 million to the state over a 4 year span.

This idea has been backed by several outdoor billboard companies that have purportedly spent more than $2 million in lobbing the state legislation for the rights to rent out the state owned signs for the past 10 years. These same businesses have also contributed more than $4.52 million to political campaigns in that same time period.  Part of those funds went to Governor Brown’s campaign coffers.

The areas of the state where the state owned signs would be operating with advertising will include Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco.  These metro areas were picked because of their high density in population and traffic flow where the Out-of-Home advertising would get maximum exposure. The state could also charge a premium for this sign renting business due to these three areas of the state are also the location of the most profitable revenue markets.

There are opponents to this proposal in the state legislation, who have legitimate worries about the alternative use of state owned digital signs. Because the location of many of the state owned signs are mobile; they will be on the shoulders of the highways. This could be distracting to motorists as they pass by.

There are those that feel the changing usage of the signs would also reduce the effectives of them when they would be used to inform the public of road or traffic hazards. The signs could also pose as a hazard themselves being on the road side. This is unlike the larger outdoor billboards that are positioned off the road.

The first 25 state owned signs are not mobile, but located on pillars above the roads in high traffic and congested areas. The profitability of this business venture is about to unfold. With this business venture states will be entering the Out-of-Home advertising business sector.  With the state paying for the construction of the digital billboards with tax payer money, many feel this would be an unfair advantage.

Only time will tell if the proposal in California using their digital outdoor billboards for private advertising is good for this business sector. It could also be the future for Out-of-Home advertising.

The Latest Ads in Outdoor Billboards for Summer 2018

In the summer of 2018 there has been new paths taken by outdoor billboard owners to attract the attention of the public as they pass by the signs. Many do it to help brand recognition of their clients while others use a holiday of social recognition day to highlight it in a unique manner.

To help recognize World Oceans Day that occurred on June 8th last Friday, Corona Beer had six outdoor billboards advertisements created and posted. To help get the point across of the damage plastics were doing to the oceans, the public was encouraged to donate old and used plastic and place it near the billboards.

On the billboard was an image of a surfer catching a wave. The plastic that was collected and accumulated by the public was then stacked in front of the billboard in the shape of a wave. This added a third dimension to the billboard most do not have.

Corona did place their name on a small poster below the billboard. Unlike the full color the surfer and wave were depicted with, the poster with the Corona name was in simple white background with black lettering.

The outdoor billboard is located in the UK. Corona also created five more for this World Oceans Day. They are located in Melbourne, Australia; Santiago, Chile; Bogota, Colombia; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Lima, Peru.

The advertisement was posted on the social; media site Twitter by Campaign Live of the UK.

Another manufacturer has also recently used a recognition day to promote themselves. This instance was Hasbro and Children’s Day which will occur on November 20th of this year. The new posters went up in April of this year and were under the theme of Play-Doh; ‘Open a Jar of Imagination’.

The campaign might be aimed at children, but its focus is really on adults and the importance of encouraging the youth of this world to use their imagination.

The ads have been placed at bus stops in cities across America. Along with billboards that are at eye level.

The ads depict a clear plastic container with a jar of Play-Doh inside. The clear plastic containers are in the shapes of a robot, airplane and an owl. These same shaped containers can be found in stores where Play-Doh is being sold. They will only be available for a limited time.

The ads can be seen on the social media site Pinterest.

Both of these ads are just one way businesses get their message across to the public by using a day recognized as special. In the case of Corona, it is to bring awareness to a huge problem that the world has yet to truly recognize.

Hasbro on the other hand is using theirs to inspire parents the importance of teaching their children so they can be better prepared to face the challenges this world will throw at them when they reach adulthood.

Both ads will also help to build brand awareness and loyalty because of this approach there is more than selling the product in their business plan.

Outdoor Billboards and Social Shaming Messages

In the latest news on outdoor billboards is an attempt by Andy Parker to rent out billboard space to post anti-gun and anti-Ted Nugent signs.  The signs were a move by this gun control activist Andy Parker to publicly shame the pro gun activist Ted Nugent before his show at the Berglund Center in Roanoke, Virginia next month.

The outdoor billboard business owners are once again proving there is more than money when it comes to what they will rent out space on their billboards. Three of the larger outdoor billboard companies that have signage in this part of the country have turned down the opportunity to post the anti-gun and anti-Nugent ads.

The three companies were Capital Outdoor, Lamar Advertising and Outfront Media. So far there has been very little released any reason why these companies did not accept Mr. Parker as a client according to the Roanoke Times, but it might have to do with his message and the legality of public smearing a celebrity.

The messages Mr. Parker attempted to get up included were“#BoycottBerglund” and an anti-Nugent sign that included “Brought to you by Berglund.” Both of these not only wanted to shame Mr. Nugent but also the venue of his concert. The reason given for not renting the space by an unnamed source at one of the billboard companies was they would not shame another business.

The image Mr. Parker wanted to use showing Mr. Nugent with a semi automatic gun has also raised questions. Just because a person finds a photo on the internet does not mean anyone can reprint it.

Those reasons have not stopped the mobile advertiser of DC Mobile Ads from taking the contract.  This is the same Out-of-Home advertiser who posted Anti Trump and Anti Obama ads in the past. Those ads included the words “TRUMP IS AN ORANGE NAZI” along with “OBAMA WAS BORN IN KENYA.”

What the people of Roanoke can expect is that for 2 days there will be two mobile advertising trucks roaming their city with ads aiming to persuading people away from attending the upcoming Ted Nugent concert.

Since it has not occurred yet, the legal implications of this advertising campaign has yet to unfold. Verbally attacking presidential candidates is not new, but shaming a business and a celebrity is unheard of in this manner.

The mobile ad business owner is an independent business operator and seems not to fear any possible lawsuit. The bigger outdoor billboard companies that turned down this ad campaign are much larger with lawyers on retainer. It is more than likely these lawyers told them it would be risky to rent out their advertising space in this manner.

This is another lesson any outdoor billboard owner should take note of. This type of ad campaign is not the same as the 4 billboards of Wichita or the shaming of the NY Times. The message by Mr. Parker is directed at a business that has nothing other than book an act and at a performer because of his personal views on guns by using unauthorized pictures and words that could get the mobile advertiser and Mr. Parker in legal trouble.

If you are the owner of a billboard, be sure you are ready for the legal pitfalls of advertising a social message. It is not the same as advertising a restaurant

How Outdoor Billboard Business differs from other types of Investments

The outdoor billboard business sector has been around for more than 100 years and it is still flourishing. These signs have become part of the American culture and for many are necessary to help other business sectors to succeed.

In the urban areas of America the use of the digital billboards is the path to follow if you are an advertisers or owner of a billboard space. In this type of setting the traffic patterns are at their highest so more people will see what is being posted. The owners of the billboards can also charge a premium price for this space that has now reached on average of $100,000 a year for renting the space on the billboard.

In the so called rural area of the nation the old fashioned wooden billboards covered with a paper or vinyl and glues to a flat surface is still king. These so called old fashioned billboards have become part of the culture, especially when they are still advertising hot spots from the past like on Route 66 and the vintage towns on that historic route.

The older style of billboards is not a lucrative in terms of revenue as the digital billboards, but their construction and maintenance costs is also dramatically lower. With the construction costs of a small wooden billboard being under $10,000 and the revenue on an annual basis being from $8,000 to $15,000, the time to recover then initial investment is a year or less.

The smaller wooden outdoor billboards on the rural highways across American and in the smaller cities are where it is possible to break into the advertising business sector at a minimal cost. As with most business, the first year will be no too little profit.

After the initial recovery of the money invested, the outdoor billboard business is mostly profit. The rental on a billboard is continuous just as long as you have an advertiser renting the space form you. The only possible cost would be if the landowner requires payment even when no advertiser is renting the space. This is negotiable.

With the spaced rented the income on average of $10,000 on an annual lease, a passive for the next 12 months is guaranteed. In time like other business, your outdoor billboard will expand. This will increase the monthly income.

This type of continuous passive income flowing into your business is what sets this type of business sector adrift form most other businesses; no real interaction is needed to make money.

To break into this type of business, most look to take over an existing lease on a billboard. This path already has the land rent agreement in place along with the permits and in many instances a client advertising on the billboard. This makes sit possible to begin a steady passive income from nearly the beginning of the enterprise.

The first step to investing in an outdoor billboard business is to look around your area or in a city or town just down the road. By noticing any out of date or empty billboards, is the ideal place to start your next investment in search of that positive passive income for your family.

Outdoor Billboards as a Second Income


In today’s fast paced and expensive world the opportunity to operate an Outdoor billboards business as a second income is becoming more attractive. This type of operation on average can bring into the family household is up to $2,000 a month on average per large billboard that is rented out.

For many American families, the capital to begin a new business seems out of reach, but there are those determined few who do find a way. One such entrepreneur began advertising back in 2002 by using his bicycle and pulling a small sign behind it. This is the owner of


Since the humble beginning of constructing the trailers with billboards in his garage, Mr. Pawlowski has made is small business grow to reach coast to coast. The original inspiration for this idea was just to generate some extra income and stay busy during his retirement.

You too can take a small idea and make it flourish into a thriving business opportunity or just be happy with the extra income an outdoor billboard business will generate on a monthly basis. This all begins with just one client and one sign placed in one location or maybe on the side of an RV or truck you own.

One of the largest organizations in the outdoor billboard business sector has more than 340,000 billboards in place.  This business began back in 1906 when a banker decided to invest in a poster billboard business. This was a small sign company that also owned an opera house located on the Gulf Coast. Today over 100 years later they are one of the largest in the world and own billboards in America, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Just as the two examples have illustrated, in America if you have the determination, patience and the will to succeed, you too can earn money in the lucrative out of home advertising business sector. It all begins with the first step of desiring to operate an advertising business. Next step is finding a client and posting your first sign.

As a way to break into the business if you have some land, place a sign on it if zoning laws are favorable and you can get a permit and advertise ‘this poster is for rent’. You can be your first client, but you won’t be the last one once people take notice.

The main advantage of a stationary advertising sign over the mobile ones that are being pulled by bicycles is that the stationary billboards are totally passive income. With the mobile signs the mobile units has to be pulled in public for a designated period of time. The stationary sign is always on.

Also with the stationary outdoor billboard if the rent is at $2,000 per month, then it will be generating nearly 5 cents every minute, 24/7/365. That does not sound like much, but it does add up. This income is rolling in day and night, during rain and snow storms and even when the power it out, you are making money.

By operating an outdoor billboards business as a second income, you and your family will have that extra income to help make ends meet and more.

Investing in Billboards is better than the Stock Market for Retirement

As you grow older your investments aimed to fund your retirement need to get more conservative. Because of this many Americans are moving out of the volatile stock market and looking for another type of investment to help their nest egg grow. This is where investing in outdoor billboards is advantageous.

By owning or just renting out billboard space, a passive income can be earned each month that will make it possible for your nest egg to grown independent of the economy and market place.

For more than 100 years the outdoor billboard business sector has been serving as a mass media outlet for business to advertise their goods and services. Even after the popularity of the digital mobile world took the youth by storm, the outdoor billboard business sector has continued to thrive.

It is true that investments in the stock market can bring in large windfalls, but huge loses can occur overnight. Those types of wild swings with your nest egg do not occur in the outdoor billiard business. What you can count on is a steady passive income on a continuous basis.

Depending on where the billboard is located, the average rental income for a sign in America is from $3,000 to $4,000 a month. The net profit is 75% of that or $2,250 to $3,000 every month for each billboard you rent out. This profit can reach up to or more $36,000 annually if you own just 10 outdoor billboards.

This passive income is almost guaranteed unless you lose a sponsor who was renting your billboard sign. Then all you need to do is find another client and you are back up to full profit potential.

With the stock market there are always fluctuations and corrections. If you have investments that goes south, in most cases it would take years to recoup those loses. For people approaching retirement do not have that time to recover.

Another difference between investing in stocks and in an outdoor billboard business is how your income is taxed. With the stock market you have to give an additional 15% of what would have been profits in what is referred to as Capital Gains tax. This is not present when you are operating a small outdoor billboard business.

Beginning in the outdoor billboard business starts with taking over a lease on just one billboard. The location of the billboard will determine its value and costs. Signs on interstates have the highest revenue potential but cost the most. The smaller state and rural highways are less expensive, but the revenue potential is also lower.

By finding one on a rural road, you can learn about the business with a minimal investment. Even if you only rent out the space for $1,000 a month, the gross income will be $12,000 a year. With 25% going to the landowner you can net $9,000 on just one location annually.

With the outdoor billboard business and its passive income the revenue potential is more consistent that a person close to retirement can count on. Best of all even after retirement, this passive income can keep rolling in.

The Future of Out of Home Advertising

The future of out of home advertising is changing to be of more relevance to the consumer instead of just branding a product. With the increase popularity of mobile services, an outdoor billboard can direct consumers to a site or app where they have been known to go viral.

Recent examples of just how powerful the combination of outdoor billboards and social mobile media and how they interact to spread the word is with the shaming of the New York Times and the 4 Billboards of Wichita. Both of these billboards were sending out a message and it spread in rapid fashion with the help of social media outlets including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

This new approach to using the space on outdoor billboards is now in direct completion with TV, printed news, direct mail and radio ads where there is more time to convey the message of the sponsor. By directing the consumers who pass by the billboards to a location on the internet, more information can be presented, just like the other forms of mass media.

The joining of forces with one of the oldest forms and forms of advertising, outdoor billboards and the newest which is online social networks, more people are being reached. What both of these forms of spreading a message have in common is they are both reaching out with their messages 24/7.

All other forms of advertising have limited amount of time during the day or week to reach out and for a few like the newspapers and magazines, a purchase has to be made for their messages to be seen. This limits their exposure to their target audience.

Because the messages on outdoor billboards are reaching more people on a daily basis and driving them to social media sites, the cost of advertising on them is increasing in urban areas. The locations with a high amount of traffic are still the most profitable, but some billboards are located where a target audience frequents. Those have a limited exposure, but the consumers are more responsive and interact with the ads on social media outlets.

This is the direction for out of home advertising that the outdoor billboard business are the first to jump into to make their businesses more profitable by offering a better product to their clients.

This connection can be made by connecting the messages on billboards and placing them on social media sites online so the client’s message can spread to more people faster. Other forms of advertising have already attempted this type of business venture, but with limited success. This is due to their lack of exposure as a mass media outlet.

For these in the outdoor billboard business, remember to connect the ads you are posting with the social media outlets on the internet. This should be part of the package deals you sell to your clients. It will increase your profits and help the messages you are posting to reach more people.

Outdoor Billboard use Digital to Attract Specific Audience


The use of the digital outdoor billboard is changing to attract a larger audience. Because of the ability of billboards to change their ad campaign with a few strokes on a keyboard, different audiences can be reached from the same location.

No longer are advertising firms restricted to the old ways of collecting data from past surveys, censuses or traffic counters to decide on what should be advertised at specific location. Today there is real time data on what type of people are in front of billboards at specific times is available.

The real time data is collected from multiple streams online that can include events going on near the billboards. A great example is if there is a football or baseball game being played. The times before and after the game there are sports fans walking or driving by. With a few strokes the ad can be changed on the digital billboard to attract their attention.

That same billboard could be near movie theaters. In the evening after the game is over the billboard can target movie goers. In the late evening hours it can be changed to reflect local restaurants for those people who have been clubbing and are looking to get a bite to eat before heading home.

It is this type of changes to ads that are taking place to attract the audience in front of and near the billboards. By following the real time traffic flow and knowing who is in the area is the best way to get attention and draw customers to the sponsors of the ads.

By using technology in a smart way, billboard owners can increase the value their signs provide the clients. This on demand theme is what is trendy. It can be seen in the way people use TV with all the online formats that provide what the viewer desires at a time of their choosing. The same goes for out of home advertising. Meet the demand of the target audience that is always on the go.

The need static billboards across the nation will never totally go away, but their value is limited. They will still play an important role on the highways and byways of America, but once people are in the urban areas, the mindset of the billboard owner must change with the times.

In the past location was everything in the outdoor billboard business. This is still true, but now the ability to change the ads as the audience changes is fundemental to attracting their attention. This mass media type of advertising is transforming into one that has a more targeted audience.

Not only are ads being changed by the time of day but also by the season. Because there is no printing involved, the changing of ads is faster with the digital format at a lower cost.

It is true that the digital outdoor billboards are more expensive to build and operate, but the value they provide sponsors is immense. This is the direction of this out of home advertising is going now and into the future.

Getting Noticed with Outdoor Billboards

Getting noticed with outdoor billboards is possible with the right ad campaign and location of the billboard along with a little bit of luck. These are the three elements that make it possible for this mass media approach to reach their target audience.

The Message

There are certain elements and ad should possess to get noticed independent of what is being advertised. One of the key elements to a successful ad on a billboard is to keep the message simple. As a guide use ‘keep it simple’. If your message is much longer than that key phrase to 5 words, then it will be too long for anyone glancing at the billboard to read in its entirety.

The Image

Along with a simple message has to be an eye catching image. McDonalds uses a picture of the Big Mac to entice people with food. Chevrolet will use an image of the Camero or Corvette to showcase their new line of vehicles so people can envision themselves driving one.  This is all about branding the company’s image.

If the billboard has too many images along with highlights like stars with words in it, the message will look like a jumbled mess.


The use of contrasting colors can help the ad stand out from the surrounding items, building or landscape near the bill board. This approach has also been known to get the ad noticed and read. What should be avoided are the fluorescent colors that are so bright they tend to get people to close their eyes and look away.

Font Used

The simple message should be in large easy to read letters using a simple font. Many people using advertisements for the first time love to use fancy fonts. They are under the impression it will get their message noticed. What actually happens is the font is noticed, but the message is not because at a glance it cannot be read or understood.

By using large letter with enough space between them in a simple plain font is the best way to get someone to easily read the message and get remembered.


For maximum coverage the advertisement requires the placement of the ad in a high traffic area that is known to have the target audience passing by. With over 90% of the US population over the age of 16 and traveling by motor vehicle each month, their patterns are predicable.

This constant flow of traffic by the billboard it will provide coverage 24/7/365. No other means of advertising can claim this. With the easy to read message out there with travelers seeing it continuously, the message will sink in to those in need of the product and services.

Because the traffic pattern is repeated on almost a daily bases as people go to and from work, repeated exposure helps to cement the ad in the minds of those that are constantly seeing it.

Getting noticed is simple. Have a message that is short easy to read in location that is highly visible has the best chance of being remembered. A little bit of luck can also help, but good planning and execution of an advertising campaign is the foundation of getting the word out.