Beach'n Billboard founder Patrick Dori calls his company's product "the world's largest and first environmentally safe billboard."
Mr. Dori, who also is president of Imagination Group, Leonia, N.J., is negotiating with two New Jersey beaches, the Wildwoods and Seaside Heights. Bestfoods has signed on as a sponsor, for its Skippy peanut butter brand.
IMPRESSIONS IN THE SAND
With Beach'n Billboard, a cleaning machine makes impressions in the sand that form the ads left behind.
The cost to advertisers is around $25,000 a month; credit is given for rainy days.
An undisclosed percentage of profits are to be given to municipalities, which will in turn help pay for the beach cleaning.
Mr. Dori plans to expand down the East Coast to Florida. He hopes to be on all commercial beaches in the next two years.
He admits this product is not for all beaches. "It doesn't belong on scenic and natural beaches," he said.
Rather than calling the concept "advertising," Mr. Dori prefers to call it a sponsorship, because each message is accompanied by an anti-litter slogan.
Mike Lyon, director of promotions at Bestfoods, said the product is a "unique high-impact advertising and promotional [tool]. It's pretty consistent with what we want to do with the brand. We want Skippy on the beach."
Some observers point out that the sand ads aren't permanent, since a wave, high tide, a few footprints or a sand castle can obliterate the ad message. Ads are created in the early morning.
"It will only work if the beach is pristine," said Jack Sullivan, out-of-home media director at Starcom Media Services, a division of Leo Burnett Co., Chicago. "What if it's littered [later in the day]?"
Still, said Hallie Friedman, assistant media director at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, "It's another opportunity to reach a target market in a non-traditional media vehicle."