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A digital billboard advertises Rotary near the George Massey Tunnel in Vancouver, Canada.

A digital billboard advertises Rotary near the George Massey Tunnel in Vancouver, Canada.

By Penny Offer, Rotary Public Image Coordinator for Zone 24

Have you noticed how digital flat screen signs are popping up in banks, fast-food outlets, airports, sports areas and numerous other locations? They are replacing traditional fixed printed billboards on highways. This new media offers opportunities for Rotary.

In August, the Rotary Club of Ladner (Delta) in suburban Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, invited a sales rep from one of the major digital billboard companies as a speaker at a regular meeting of the club. At the end of his presentation he was asked if he would give comp space to Rotary, and he quickly agreed.

A poster was selected from the collection on the Rotary Media Center and modified to include a photo of a member of the club and the club’s web address. The digital billboard company posted it on two of their digital signs, at the George Massey Tunnel and the Alex Fraser Bridge. The image appears for 10 seconds every 90 seconds. The company offered 10 days of display at a retail value of $2,000, with no cost to Rotary.

Multiple traffic lanes merge at both the tunnel and bridge, with heavy traffic volume slowing traffic speed significantly. Therefore drivers and passengers see the Rotary sign twice as they pass during rush hour periods when traffic reaches a crawl.

The club will be monitoring increased visits to its site, contacts to its club membership chair, and new members brought in as a result of the sign.

So, how do you get low cost or free digital ad space for Rotary?

  • Just ask. Billboard companies may say no, but they often say yes!
  • When you see a digital sign, record the company name and contact them
  • Ask owners of businesses with digital signs if you can run a Rotary ad

See photos of the billboards and download a summary report on the project.