Latest at the gasoline pump - the television commercial

The nearly $5 billion US outdoor advertising industry is hitting the road in earnest, hoping to convince marketers to pay for televised ads in unusual places - at gasoline pumps and on the sides of trucks.

Frisco, Texas-based BillBoard Video Inc. is offering wireless distribution of television commercials displayed on service-station pumps. Taking the low-tech route, Transport Media Network of Madison, Wisc., has signed an agreement with J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. to place huge ads on Hunt's more than 10,500 trucks.

"The gasoline dispenser is one of the last few places where you have a captive audience," says Bill Hall, president and chief executive of privately held BillBoard Video.

The moves are part of a trend in the advertising industry to reach people in new places in an age of increased mobility. They also reflect changes in traditional advertising outlets. One reason for the growing popularity of truckside ads, for instance, is a limited supply of fixed billboards.

"People aren't sitting at home anymore," says Deborah Cooper of Turner Private Network, a unit of Turner Broadcasting. "If you want to reach mobile executives, you must reach them where they are."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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