Static vs. Scrolling and Rotating….They’re all OBSOLETE!

My name is Bret Pawlowski and I have started, built and operated a group of successful mobile billboard companies for over 13 years. At our peak Go Happy Trucks and Billboards-4-Rent owned and operated 28 advertising vehicles executing mobile and guerrilla marketing campaigns in The USA, Canada and South America.  After 13 years in this business, it is my opinion that static, rotating and scrolling mobile billboards are obsolete for today’s market. Here’s why.

  1. Digital Mobile Billboard technologies have been tested and perfected and are being constructed daily in a variety of formats and price ranges.
  2. L.E.D. and other digital technologies are at the right price points for mobile applications. The cost per pixel for high resolution video L.E.D.s have dropped by nearly 50% over the past 3 years.
  3. The operational costs for drivers, storage, fuel, insurance, sales, marketing, and vehicle maintenance are almost identical for digital, scrolling, rotating or static mobile billboards.
  4. Printing, shipping, installing, removing, storing and disposing of printed vinyl billboards is expensive, time consuming, labor intensive, wasteful and an environmentally unfriendly process.  In our experience we spent nearly 50% of our time managing, tracking and correcting print production.
  5. Custom building digital mobile billboards or even converting static and scrolling mobile billboards to L.E.D.s is now an affordable and viable option. Support mechanism in place to help people get in the business and get through the learning curves quickly while minimizing costly mistakes.
  6. Advertisers realize benefits of pricing flexibility, rapid posting, as well as the ability to show dynamic content in multiple graphic formats like static graphics, video and animations.
  7. High Speed Wireless technology has opened the door for digital mobile applications allowing content to be updated almost immediately and on-the-fly to multiple locations.
  8. Vast global digital networks exist today that allow advertisers and agencies to place dynamic content on-line, on Out-Of-Home and indoor billboards with a few clicks of the mouse. Digital Mobile Billboards are now part of that global inventory.
  9. In 12 years, 85% of the advertising campaigns we were contracted for were for less than 10 days. Customers are becoming even more “event” and “promotion” driven.

10.  In 13 years, 70% of the customers we worked with sent us artwork late.

11.  60% of the time 3rd party large format printers created delays by either printing or finishing the job wrong or to sub-standard quality and/or delivering later than they promised.

12.  Things have changed dramatically due to the power of the Internet and Mobile Phone Technology. Digital Mobile Billboards are uniquely positioned to deliver dynamic messaging using existing content from TV spots and Internet Video, like YouTube, virtually eliminating lengthy and expensive production processes.

13.  The Internet and Internet Video have been helpful to our industry and yet formidable competitors to Mobile Billboards. Google, Yahoo and Bing are not just search engines, they are Advertising Agencies. Don’t fool yourself, Mobile Billboards compete against TV, Radio, Print and Internet for budget dollars so we need to use current technology to deliver content to consumers.

14.  Digital Mobile Billboards are opening new profit centers for existing mobile billboard companies with local advertisers as well as national and international brand marketers.

15.  Experienced consultation, fabrication, warranty, technical support, business development, network support, creative content management and financing options are available for new digital mobile billboard business operators as well as interested existing mobile billboard owners.

Digital Mobile Billboards have changed the way local businesses and national brands use mobile billboards. I say this with a high degree of confidence because we have placed ourselves at the epicenter of the Digital Mobile Billboard business and have witnessed the increased demand and strategic use of this product. I’d like to take the opportunity to clarify a few points

  1. We are not against scrolling, static or rotating / trivision type mobile billboards. We still own them, use them and recommend them for certain clients and certain types of campaigns.
  2. Even though the initial investment is larger, it is our experience that with everything factored in, Digital Mobile Billboards are more efficient as a business and are actually less expensive to operate, maintain and market.
  3. It is our experience that Digital Mobile Billboards offer far more benefits to the advertiser than the older forms of mobile billboards.
  4. We are not against fixed location billboards as they are vital parts of many good media plans and actually work well in conjunction with digital mobile campaigns.
  5. We do recommend that mobile billboard businesses include multiple mobile billboard formats in their inventory. Building a sustainable mobile billboard business and industry over the next 10-15 years requires that you have or have access to state-of-the art technology for your market.

 Understanding the Digital Opportunity

Industry Explosion -The outdoor advertising industry is $6 billion + and exploding with new and creative forms of media. Digital Billboards have popped up all over the place. Over the past decade more and more large brand marketers have used mobile advertising and digital billboards. In 2009, in the face of a global economic crisis, The Digital Signage Industry is growing and posting gains of up to 44% according to Digital Signage Today. Think about that for a minute.

The Demand-We receive a high volume of calls from around the country. Every business wants and needs effective billboard advertising. Think about it…auto dealerships, home developers, furniture companies, cosmetic surgeons, restaurants, nightclubs, schools…everyone wants premium space but only few companies can afford it for the “long term” contracts that the mobile billboard operator is always pushing for. Let’s be honest, 3-6 and 9 month, 5 to 7 days per week contracts do not exist any longer and probably don’t make sense for most advertisers. Digital Mobile Billboards allow business of all types to get an affordable billboard in the best locations at the perfect times. The Digital Mobile Billboards have the capacity and technology to fill in the gaps where advertisers need speed to market, affordable pricing formats and selectable scheduling.

Flexibility is key- For every billboard you see along the road there are probably 1000 other companies that would love to advertise but either can’t afford it, just want to target a specific area for a few weekends, or a specific time slot during the day or don’t know that they have better options. Digital Mobile Billboards offer advertisers the flexibility to run billboard promotions on a regular basis and to strategically place ads where their consumers are most receptive to advertising. Conventions, concerts, high traffic shopping centers, festivals, busy intersections and sporting events draw predictable traffic and our flexibility helps advertisers get to these places at the right time.

Building Relationships- Digital Mobile Billboards are designed to eliminate the expenses involved with production and reduce the barriers to try the product. They can be used for Public Service Announcements like Amber Alerts and dispersing Emergency Information immediately, without having to wait for print production. As mobile billboard operators, our goal is to provide options to the customers, do our part in Community Service and allow our advertisers to experience the results of our services. It’s just good business.

Mobile Marketing and Social Media: Massive exposure is needed to connect brands with mobile apps and the emerging social media platforms that have grown in 2010.Digital Mobile Billboards and their ability to show content on-the-fly and to interface with Twitter and other real-time social media networks is a huge opportunity for event marketers and brands.

Understanding the technology-Digital Mobile Billboards require a basic understanding of a few different types of technologies. Each technology has a history and important nuances as they relate to mobile billboards. I have taken the opportunity to create a simple glossary of terms to help people understand the basics. There are several hundred companies that make L.E.D.s and components but in reality there are only a handful of people in the world that really know how to integrate technology into a digital mobile billboard for everyday use. Out of that handful, there are only a couple of people that know how to operate a successful mobile billboard business and how to get advertisers. If you are really interested in exploring the digital mobile billboards as a business, timing is right because there are resources and opportunities available to you now that were not available just a year ago.

I became interested in the digital mobile billboard business in 1987 while I was working for a company that made and sold L.E.D. displays in North America and South America. At that time the technology and expense for outdoor mobile applications was prohibitive. Blue/White L.E.D.s were just being developed and were very expensive and not very bright. During that time I had the great fortune to be involved with the development of the L.E.D. technology for advertising and to experiment with several theories for mobile applications. My passion for digital mobile billboards fueled my drive to create an advertising agency and form a mobile billboard division in 1996. Since then, we have focused our efforts on advancing technologies and processes to make digital mobile billboards an industry rather than just a business concept. We have invested lots of time and money into making mistakes that you don’t need to repeat. If you would like to share your thoughts about the digital mobile billboards or if you need consultation for your digital mobile billboard business please e-mail us at


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