Ban digital signage – why?
Australia is set to ban digital signage, certainly according to Brisbane City Council; which includes digital billboards and other display forms of flashing and moving images, as it has had an unfortunate impact on the accident rate of drivers, passengers and pedestrians – some with fatalities. It has become too much of a distraction, where driver’s concentration is impaired as their attention is diverted from the safety of other road users, to focus their thoughts to the advertisement displayed on these huge display screens high above the freeway.
Static v moving advertising
From experience, people can be distracted by even a traditional static advertising hording, so what then are the chances of motor accidents as digital advertising is offered to us; speed, slow reactions and lost concentration all add up to a deathly total, let alone those who are hurt to some degree. A classic example was of an ad campaign, in 1994, for a brand of women’s underwear, displayed in New York’s Times Square! Imagine the carnage on the roads as drivers were distracted. Whilst animated and energetic adverts have their place, certainly the road side is not one of them. The traditional paper poster hoardings have emerged in the 22 century, to become static photo images which can be scheduled to change, so a number of products can be sharing one screen. This is a practical and profitable approach for a business – it cuts down on manpower, printing costs and impractical or inaccessible locations, as the content can be uploaded wirelessly if necessary.
Ban digital signage – Changing landscapes
Electronic billboards and LED billboards in particular are imerging as suitable replacements for conventional advertising. The content is created from computer software and uploaded to a single or network of digital signs. Although digital billboards can be found in most countries – even poorer ones of the third world (which is surprising!) those countries who frequently operate digital signage at the roadside for promotional crusades, are the United States, Australia and China. Surely the rest of the world will follow suit in time. It is a huge multimillion dollar business, with a respectively low cost or outlay, as so much ROI is recouped by selling ad. space and time. Some of these screens are massive and can be seen from the road, whilst stationed on a hillside. Everything from retail sales, leisure facilities and games, entertainment through to real estate are applicable to digital billboard advertising.
There are many ingenious ways to advertise on a temporary basis:
- Inflatable screens
- Vehicle trailers
- Even an amphibious billboard
One of the largest billboard advertisers in Brisbane has indicated that they are relatively acceptable of the legislation, as they do not endorse advertisers to use moving images whilst renting their boards. A number of smaller companies have been found to use portable digital advertising in their forecourts and on mobile transport, like a bicycle – but this creates distraction problems as they create the content using animated graphics and images, like video. One logical way to overcome this problem and stay within the law, is to change the static image every 10 seconds or so.