Border Billboards Entertain as Drivers Wait to Cross

Outdoor Company Set to Install Third Along U.S.-Mexico Line

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Border crossings, known for the thousands of bored drivers who can do nothing but sit in their cars and wait, provide a captive audience waiting to be sold to. That is exactly what Border Billboard realized four years ago, and come this fall the company will be putting up its third billboard along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The billboards incorporate video, audio and text-messaging features. Consumers are able to listen to messages on their car radios as well as send text and picture messages via their cellphones that will appear on ticker-tape displays.
The billboards incorporate video, audio and text-messaging features. Consumers are able to listen to messages on their car radios as well as send text and picture messages via their cellphones that will appear on ticker-tape displays.

Averaging a billboard every two years, Border Billboard hopes to dominate the border, having boards at all 13 crossings within the next five years. Next up for the company is the crossing between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where each month 178,000 cars stagnate in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Video, audio and messaging
The billboards incorporate video, audio and text-messaging features. Two LED display video boards show commercials and are flanked by flanked by tri-vision ad panels (a tri-vision panel can hold three advertisements that rotate one after the other). Advertisers pay $10,000 for a commercial to play 144 times a day for a month.

Consumers are able to listen to messages on their car radios as well as send text and picture messages via their cellphones and participate in contests and product giveaways sponsored by the advertisers. Amber ticker displays relay the text messages as well as news headlines and weather updates.

The text-messaging capability allows advertisers to see who responds to contests and giveaways, painting a fuller picture of who they are reaching.

"Full video, captive audience, multi-sensory -- the combination of those three is what makes it so exciting," said Jennifer Stefano, owner and CEO of Border Billboard.

Retail to restaurants
Currently in pre-sale mode for the newest billboard, the company has attracted some new advertisers as well as retained marketers it's worked with before. Advertisers range from retail to restaurants -- McDonald's, Hummer, Best Buy and Circuit City have all purchased space.

"Through using that type of media, we thought we'd capture the audience south of the border," said Sarrah Funtanilla, assistant account executive for Davis Elen Advertising, an agency which handled the account for Knott's Berry Farm, an amusement park in Southern California. "Nowadays, there are families living in Mexico while at the same time working in the U.S. Sitting in line for several hours, they'll be able to see our spot." The proximity of the San Diego water park to Tijuana, Mexico, was also a draw to the advertiser.

Border Billboard erected its first board at the San Diego-Tijuana border in 2004, followed by one at the border between Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, earlier this year. The latest billboard will go up on Oct. 1. Ms. Stefano said the company will continue its expansion along the border once the new Mexican president takes office.
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