It won’t be long before local residents see hotel-casinos on the Strip with entire sides of their building being used as a digital billboards.
At least that’s the way Las Vegas Billboards Owner Chad Harris sees the trend in billboard marketing going. Harris talked about the history of his company, trends in the industry and more during a recent Daktronics Experience podcast with show hosts Justin Ochsner and Matt Anderson.
Las Vegas Billboards works with Daktronics, a company that designs and produces electronic signage, when changing their static billboards to digital billboards. Dave Harris founded Las Vegas Billboards in 1987 after 15 years in the billboard industry, and Chad Harris got involved for his first job at the age of 16 after going to worksites with his father for years. The company has done some consulting in the past, but its main focus is the 28 digital billboards and 40 static billboards it owns in Las Vegas.
At one time, Las Vegas Billboards would develop new signs, but in 2004, Clark County banned new billboards, Chad said during the podcast, so now the company only acquires already-existing sites and converts its static signs to digital.
Making that transition to digital allows Las Vegas Billboards to work with more advertisers, he said. Whereas a static billboard can only accommodate one advertiser that is typically on at least a one-month contract, most of Las Vegas Billboards’ digital signs run on a 60-second loop, with 10-second spots for six advertisers. The versatility digital panels offer — where a message can be changed within a matter of minutes — also allows the company to sell spots to people wanting to wish someone a happy birthday or propose.
“We’re seeing a lot more of our advertisers, good or bad, wanting shorter-term digital contracts,” Chad said during the podcast. “In Las Vegas, things are always changing. There’s always something going on, and with that, digital allows us to keep up with those changes.”
But some local casinos aren’t taking advantage of that ability to change messages quickly just yet. Chad explained how, in some areas, casinos will advertise specials that run for a week or a weekend or even daypart, where the message changes during certain times of the day.
“That trend hasn’t caught on so much in Las Vegas,” he said. “It’s almost an underutilized aspect of digital. Digital allows you to do so much, and people forget that you can do it.”
So his sales representatives are encouraging clients to utilize the ability to mix it up as much as possible. It’s important to do so because of the number of eyes the signs attract. With 2.5 million residents and 42 million to 45 million tourists annually, “it’s literally a worldwide destination,” Chad said.
That’s why about 30 percent of Las Vegas Billboards’ business last year came from national advertisers.
“National advertisers are definitely seeing Las Vegas as a good market to advertise in,” Chad told Ochsner and Anderson. “We have some boards that get a million cars a week. That puts a lot of eyes on a sign. It doesn’t matter where your business is, when you have that many viewers, you’re bound to push traffic to your service or your business.”
Chad does have a tip for advertisers, though. He said on the podcast that he is “a big fan of keeping it simple” because “when you’re driving by a billboard you can only digest so much.” So he and his salespeople try to steer advertisers away from using complicated phone numbers and using a website instead. He also would like to see more utilization of RSS feeds to keep ads from being stale.
During the podcast, he recalled a story of an advertiser who was innovative in a different way. A few years ago, an online sportsbook company advertised on one of Las Vegas Billboards’ signs with $100,000 in $1 bills enclosed in plexiglass case on the sign.
“While we were doing it, my father and I, we were almost laughing to ourselves, wondering how long it will take before somebody tries to break into it,” Chad said.
The advertisers hired a security guard to stand at the base of the sign, which was on Las Vegas Boulevard. Around 2 a.m., the security guard went on lunch break at a McDonald’s across the street, and a few minutes later, Las Vegas Billboards received a call from the security company notifying them that the police department was at the sign because a man was up on sign throwing the money down onto the street.
“It was a big deal. It made national news,” Chad recalled. “Come to find out, the sports book place had a wagering line on how long it would take for it to get broken into. Basically it was all a big PR stunt for them to get a lot of publicity.”
To see how Las Vegas Billboards can help you get your message across in a fresh way, visit www.lasvegasbillboards.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-837-7822.
For more information about Daktronics, visit www.daktronics.com/en-us. To listen to the podcast, go to http://podcast.daktronics.com; Chad’s episode is 33.