Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Look here: Billboards to give city boost, street cred

Note: This column appears in the 4/23 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/24 issue of the Peoria Times

The city of Glendale is -- like many other cities in the Valley and in the country for that matter -- working to resolve a budget crisis. Thankfully, help is on the way. In the form of two giant digital billboards.

The city has agreed to construct two billboards along the Loop 101 with the hopes of using the advertising profits to help offset the current budget deficit. The first billboard will read, in giant letters: What deficit? The second billboard will read: Buy stuff now. Experts predict that, as a result, Glendale will have a surplus of three million dollars by August, which will be used to purchase a third billboard. And so on and so forth.

Of course, these are jokes to lighten the overall mood here, which is grim. But not anymore. Because the truth is that the city stands to make a very decent amount of money from these giant thingies. In fact, apparently Glendale will make $500,000 just to have the billboards, and will also receive a $10,000 monthly rental fee plus one-third of the profits generated. The city can also earn a 15 percent referral bonus if they call up another city like Peoria, and say, “Hey, check out our billboards. Want one? Cool. Here’s the number. Tell ‘em Glendale sent ya’.”

So who stands to benefit from this? Absolutely everyone. Definitely American Outdoor Advertising, who will make the billboards. Definitely the city, and definitely local advertisers. But most importantly, I think the true beneficiaries of the new billboards will be drivers who enjoy looking at stuff while driving. Even better, these digital behemoths will change graphics every eight seconds, keeping drivers occupied and diverting their attention away from dangerous text messaging.

I have to admit, I’ve always been fascinated by billboards. It’s amazing to me that, with all of the technological progress and ingenuity and advancements with regards to advertising in print, audio, televised and online mediums, the thing that still gets ‘em in the end is a giant sign on the side of the road that lights up. God bless America.

Another subplot of these billboards that I find compelling is whether or not, sometime down the line, the city will accept advertising revenue from the potential new casino on Northern Ave, a project that many in the city council are currently vehemently opposed to. Should the casino ever become a realty, I strongly recommend to the city council -– just for my own amusement –- a big arrow on the billboard pointing in the opposite direction. That’ll show ‘em!

Anyway, count me among those excited for the new billboards. It will help the city financially, and that’s all good in my book. Oh, it should also be mentioned that the new billboards will feature additional traffic cameras. So there’s that.

(Relax. Just trying to lighten the mood.)


Ha, Ha...see? Hilarious! Or something!

2 comments:

Bill said...

I am reminded of the Simpsons episode where Homer, excited that the new billboards are out, stops suddenly every hundred feet or so while driving on the freeway, to read and thoroughly enjoy each one, while causing multiple-car pileups behind him each time. Let's hope Glendale-area drivers are a little more careful.

mkenny59 said...

Bill -- can't believe I forgot about that Simpson's episode. If I remember correctly, that's also one of my all-time favorites: the clown college episode. Man, that show used to be awesome.