Some people call it outdoor advertising, but Michael Donovan calls it "environmental graphics." His 25-year-old ad-marketing-design-branding firm, Donovan/Green, has opened a sibling division called Asphalt Media that contracts with Swift trucking company to wrap as many as 50,000 18-wheelers with moving billboards. Clients so far have included Bic, XM Satellite Radio and NBC, which is using the truck ads in Southern California for its new syndicated show, "Starting Over," its entertainment mainstay, "Access Hollywood," and local KNBC news. Cost for the 4,000-cubic-foot message is less than a typical billboard. "Promotional time on-air is at a premium, so you have to look off-channel for ways to create awareness," says Mary Beth McAdaragh, VP-marketing, NBC Enterprises, which handles the network's syndication, licensing and merchandising. "I'm a big supporter of outdoor, especially in this market because of the commuter traffic, but I love the sheer size of these trucks and the fact that they move so you get an unduplicated audience."
The trucks, which can be branded on both sides and the back doors, travel on tracked routes to high-traffic retailers like Sears Roebuck & Co., Home Depot, Costco and Wal-Mart.