Advertising in the great outdoors.

Position:Sporting goods stores - Column

OK ... so you've run newspaper ads 'til your hands are permanently stained from printer's ink. You've tried a little radio. You've even had a go at some television spots. So, what kind of advertising is left for a small retailer to try?

How about billboards? In most cases, outdoor advertising is not a stand-alone media. But used properly - usually in combination with some other advertising media - billboard advertising can help you reach a lot of people and build a strong identity within your local market. Quite naturally, if you have no practical experience with outdoor advertising, you're bound to be a little leery about taking the plunge since all the terminology, methodology, audience measuring and creative skills are completely different from the more familiar print and broadcast media. But, like anything else that's new, you can learn enough about outdoor advertising to be able to judge its value as part of your media mix, and enough to be able to communicate your goals and wishes to your local sales rep. For starters, here are a few basic tips and guidelines to help you feel a little bit more comfortable in "the great outdoors."

Billboard Size

First, it's important to know that there are three basic sizes of billboards, each having its own place in the marketing mix:

1) Bulletins, also known as rotating bulletins, painted bulletins, painted spectaculars or simply paints. They're the largest standard outdoor units, usually measuring about 14 feet high by 48 feet wide. They're most commonly used for long-term messages so they're usually sold on a four to 36 month basis. They're usually illuminated for improved nighttime viewing and they're usually hand painted one-at-a-time in a studio. Larger, non-standard bulletins called perms are also available and are usually painted on location. Sometimes they feature eye-catching add-on pieces - occasionally they're even animated. Because of the high cost and the long-term commitment, these are often used by local advertisers like banks, automobile dealers and major department stores.

2) 30-Sheet Posters are the most common of all billboard types. They measure approximately 10 feet by 22 feet, and the panels are usually either pre-printed or silkscreened then pasted up in sheets on location. 30-sheet posters can be either illuminated or non-illuminated. They can usually be purchased for a minimum of thirty days or for as long as several years.

3) Eight-sheet Posters, sometimes called Juniors...

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