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.

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

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.

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.

Outdoor Billboards on Public Transportation Routes

Getting the attention of those in transit is the top priority of any outdoor billboard business for the people that advertise on their spaces. With the use of public transportation growing, especially in the larger urban areas with 59.6 billion miles annually traveled in America in 2016 and more each year, this is a large audience of commuters that can be targeted successfully.

With a growing number of Americans using public transport to get to and from work on a daily basis, these commuters are spending 318 million hours annually just staring out the windows, using their cell phones  or reading a book. While some commuters are doing work related functions when they commute, most are just passing the time absentmindedly.

The positioning of billboards on the bus and train routes allows for these commuters the chance to see what an advertiser wants to sell.  Because most Americans take the same path to work daily, the billboards are seen on a daily basis.

With daily exposure to a message, the advertisements are remembered by most or all on the buses and trains that pass by. Subconsciously the commuters remember the signs and in many instances it is in reference to where they are on their trip. This is very common for ads near a stop or station. The commuter knows their stop is close when they see the sign so they are considered a landmark.

The largest public transportation companies in America as ranked 1 through 5 are MTA New York City Transit, Chicago Transit Authority, Los Angeles County  Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority.

It is on these rails and bus lines that the highest daily number of passengers are sitting still with a majority looking for something interesting to observe to occupy their minds. This is a captive audience looking for something to do or read and the target audience of advertisers.

At the stations where commuters are waiting for their trains and buses is another set of locations there is a captive audience. The advertisers in these locations get great exposure to the masses with their messages. With short jingles or pointed messages, the commuters will get them stuck in their heads long after the posters are out of their sight. The larger the traffic, the more the rent will be for advertising on them.

For those in the outdoor billboard business this is an avenue for revenue many people do not think of. Most of the population relates billboards with highways and on the roadside where passenger car traffic is the main focus.

The similarity between the two different locations is most viewers still only have up to 8 seconds to absorb the message. The biggest difference is the commuter on the highway is also navigating the vehicle; those on public transport are just sitting idly by passing the time away. Because of this the passengers on public transport can focus on the message for a longer period than those driving.

When looking for a new location to advertise, remember the routes of public transport. The bus routes will be seen by both passengers on the buses and those in a vehicle which will provide your message with a better chance of being absorbed.

The New Golden Age of Outdoor Billboards

The old fashioned outdoor billboards are new entering its new Golden Age. The new popularity of this long established out-of-home advertising is booming to the point that news networks and the online social medias are covering it.

The Biggest Advertisers on Billboards

To no one’s surprise the biggest advertiser on outdoor billboards is McDonalds. They have held this position for the last 5 consecutive years. The newest statistic available on the amount they are spending on outdoor advertising is from 2015 where they invested $73.6 millions in this path to getting the word out.

Just behind McDonalds in 2017 in terms of spending on outdoor advertising for the past 5 years is the tech company Apple. They invested $59.7 million in 2015 and have increased that amount each year since.

The rest of the top ten in 2017 were Geico, American Express, Google, Amazon, Coca-Cola, HBO, Verizon, and Chevrolet. That makes 3 of the top 10 investors in outdoor billboards are giants in the high tech world. For the top 100 advertisers last year nearly 25% were from the tech business sector.

The Popularity of Outdoor Billboards is Spreading

The tech industry is using outdoor billboards more and more even with their nearly unlimited reach on the internet. The reason for this trend is added evidence of just how effective the oldest form of out-of-home advertising is in the new modern world.

The reason behind the making of 3 billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri is only known to the writer, but if effect on the outdoor billboard business has been profound. The pattern of using 3 and now even 4 billboards to send a message out about social injustice like the 4 billboards of Wichita is more proof of the effectiveness of this out-of-home advertising.

There are also private citizens with deep pockets placing ads on billboards in their home town to attract top athletes to their area so their team can possibly win a championship.

Revenue Potential of a Billboard to an Advertising Business


The two most profitable locations in America for renting out an outdoor billboard include Times Square in NYC and the Sunset Strip in LA. In both of these locations there are billboards being rented for more than $100,000 a month.

For many organizations that amount for just a month of getting their word out is too much, but for big companies, it is just part of doing business in their highly competitive business sector.

The exact cost of this old fashioned form of advertising varies, depending on its location. Inside of a downtown area of a major metropolitan city will cost $1,500 to $20,000 a month depending on the size of the local population.

In the major freeways outside or metropolitan cities, the month rental varies from $750 to $4,000, 4 lane highways are less as with 2 lane highways are even lower in price. It is all dependent on the volume of traffic that passes by on a daily basis.

The new Golden Age of outdoor billboards is upon us. This 100 year old path to getting the word out is still growing strong. For entrepreneurs in this business sector, the profits continue to roll in.

The Time Required for Placing a New Message on an Outdoor Billboard

The actual time that is required for placing a new message on an outdoor billboard is good knowledge to know. With Lamar advertising company, a new posting from idea to up on the billboard is just 1 day.

To Honor a Past First Lady

The speed at which Lamar placed the new sign was just a day after the former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away. The sign was not an advertisement, but posted out of respect for this simple yet elegant soft spoken first lady.

Most companies have their brand on a billboard when advertising.  The first lady also had a simple brand of 3 string pearl necklace. Nothing too fancy, but elegant and with class which appeared on the new billboard.

Digital vs Real World Timing

Today nearly all of the advertising campaigns are created in a computer program. The only difference in terms of time required of posting an ad on the internet and one in the real world is the printing of the vinyl then placing it on the billboard.

For those who will be using a digital billboard, that printing and posting time is eliminated.

The Latest Trend in Billboards

The posting of this memorial of the past first lady is out of respect and categorized as a personal message. Nothing is being sold or offered for free, just a sign of respect.

Unlike the 4 billboards of Wichita, Kansas that was used to send out message to the government calling for action, this one for the past first lady was just to honor this elegant woman and mark her passing.

The use of this mass media advertising has also recently been used to ask for LeBron to change teams and go to the city where the group who is paying for the billboards are from.

While the revenue for these short time postings will not have long term profits for the advertising company in short term the rates are higher because of the speed required to get the message out.

Views of the Personal Messages

In the past only those passing by a billboard would see the message. That is no longer true. The use of social media on the internet has changed that as proven with the 4 Billboards of Wichita and the memorial to Barbra Bush. Both of these and the LeBron billboards were covered not only by the social media like Facebook, but also local news stations.

With this increase in exposure come more views. This is positive and shows the relevance of just how important outdoor billboards are in today’s modern world.

With the one day turnaround of idea to posting of an outdoor billboard, this lucrative business sector has proven it can keep pace with the digital world.

Another unnoticed fact is that messages on outdoor billboards are being shown in the digital world, but messages from the digital world do not appear on outdoor billboards. This is one of the many advantages of advertising on outdoor billboards.

The New Importance of Outdoor Billboards

It has become evident that the new importance of outdoor billboards as part of any advertising campaign has emerged. Just 6 days again it was reported by Reuters that Netflix made a $300 million offer to purchase Regency Outdoor Advertising in Orange County California.

Netflix knows the Importance of Billboards

Netflix is not the only organization bidding for this outdoor billboard owner and just 3 days ago, Netflix again upped their bid to $391 million was reported.  With a jump of nearly $100 million in only 3 days, this bid must be taken seriously and emphasis how important Netflix views the mass media approach of outdoor billboards.

What should be known is that Netflix has an advertising budget of for its movies and shows of $2 billion for this current year. The outdoor billboard advertising firm they are attempting to purchase owns billboards all over LA including Sunset Strip.

With the monthly rental of just one billboard on Sunset Strip reaching more than $140,000, the purchase of this advertising firm would be a wise investment. Not only will Netflix own space in the entertainment capital of the world, but also at the airport for travelers to see constantly upon their arrival.

Profitability of Outdoor Billboards

With the numbers reaching $100’s of millions, the importance of Out of Home advertising on billboards is evident. This mass media marketing approach is more than just alive; it is still a highly profitable business venture.

The cost of rentals of billboards does vary depending on their location. Sunset Strip is at the higher end of the range. On rural roads the costs can be as low as $250 a month with locations in NYC and Chicago going for $14,000 a month. This shows how important the location is relative to costs of the rental.

For most small to medium size cities, the monthly revenue of just one outdoor billboard will be in the range of $1,500 to $4,000. This is potential profit for any outdoor billboard business venture an entrepreneur might create for themselves.

Factors determining the rental price

The leading numbers that any investor should look at when deciding on a region is number of adults in the area and potential weekly impressions the sign will receive. The more adults in the area the higher the weekly impression will be and the more the billboards can be rented out for.

Another important factor is the size and power of the competition in the area. Nearly everywhere across America already has an outdoor billboard business in it. Most have more than one, but that should not persuade anyone away from this type of business venture.

Getting into the Outdoor Billboard Business

For many investors, the easiest path is the best. With outdoor billboards, this would entail the purchase of existing billboards from the competition. The lowest cost ones would be the billboard in locations the competition has not been successful at.

If a billboard fails to attract attention, it is not always the location. Many times it’s the message. By following the 8 second rule of grabbing the attention of travelers, a billboard can become a profit making machine.

The outdoor billboard business is becoming more popular in recent years. Now is the time to make an investment in this reliable income source.