Just outside a fire station near where I live there is a modestly sized noticeboard facing the main road. It has the occasional warning in season about high fire danger. It has also featured from time to time messages of congratulation or celebration of various events, someone’s birthday, a wedding anniversary, a graduation. I doubt it has cost much to use, as it’s not really a big signboard. And it’s on a local road, not the highway.
It doesn’t compare with the huge signs you can see along the freeway, much less with the even more impressive ones I’m thinking of near a major airport that, through the wonders of modern display technology, don’t stay static but have moving graphics and bring up different images.
So what if you could have one of those big, animated signs in a major traffic location, to celebrate a son’s or daughter’s graduation, or a wedding anniversary, or – daring thought – to promote your promising but still small startup company, all without having to take out a second mortgage on the family home?
Realistic? Well, not if you are thinking of using the current setup for getting the use of one of those fancy billboards in a prominent location.
The fact is, that kind of outdoor advertising as we know it is the province of those companies with big bucks to spend.
And outdoor advertising in big cities is tied into who owns the real estate where the billboards are placed: the owners of that real estate are not making the space available for free, or even for peanuts.
Then there are regulations, licenses and permits involved.
More big bucks to factor into the cost.
And don’t forget the concentration of control of the medium. In the United Stated, media business buyouts and consolidations have led to a few mega-media firms like Clear Channel, Lamar, Fairway, CBS and others controlling a sizable portion of these advertising mediums.
The new, more dynamic billboards? More expensive still.
So the message for startups and other small businesses dreaming of such big scale advertising? Basically, “Not for you. Eat your heart out”.
Don’t we live in the age of disruptive technology and disruptive business models?
Aren’t these the times when the board rooms of great, established corporations struggle to anticipate the next technology that is going to change the way their business operates, and especially the economics of what had previously been services open only to those companies or individuals with extraordinarily deep pockets?
And so it is with outdoor advertising.
Undeterred by the apparent stranglehold of established players on the outdoor advertising scene, the founders at Zeusvision saw a new opportunity, made possible by combining innovative technology and some serious lateral thinking. They realized that billboards didn’t need to be dug in at a single location and mounted on poles.
They thought, “What if these multimedia billboards had wheels and an engine?”
In other words – a bus.
But no ordinary bus.
And not just a bus with ads, which of course we have all seen.
It’s much more.
The digital media bus
The Zeusvision spark of inspiration for changing the dynamics and whole mode of operation of outdoor advertising, morphed into the Zeusvision digital media bus with 31 foot, full-color, multimedia displays on either side.
Now their billboards were free to roam anywhere, not tied to a piece of expensive real estate, not tied to the same “billboard” regulations that the mega-media companies were saddled with.
Outdoor advertising is an elitist business. I want to bring the power of large-scale outdoor media within reach of the average person. Giovanni Wolfgang, CEO, Zeusvision
Democratizing the business model and the economics
So with its digital media bus, Zeusvision brings to the outdoor advertising market a novel idea, a new product, and a new price model that is positioned to compete with, and beat, the well-entrenched competition.
But the story – especially for people like me in small business – gets even better.
Not content with seeking to slice out a segment or three of the existing market for such advertising, Zeusvision has now decided to bring the new value proposition and cost savings to the small business owner and to the average consumer who may want to advertise one of those family-oriented congratulations or celebration messages I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Beyond relying on social media
As any regular reader of this blog or anyone who has attended one of my presentations knows, for years I’ve been beating the drum and waving the flag for social media as a great way for small businesses to get their story out without the cost of regular advertising.
But there is still a place for advertising beyond the realms of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and the rest.
And what better for a small business, or a boot-strapping startup, than to be able to have:
- prominent, multimedia displays
- at a price we can afford
- in locations traditionally closed off, effectively, to us smaller players?
“Location, Location, Location” is not just a real estate agent’s mantra. It applies too for outdoor advertising by any business. Media and advertising still benefit greatly from the perceptions of location.
A billboard in Times Square is going to be seen by viewers as originating from a more successful company than a billboard in New Jersey. Likewise a video display on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills will get more attention than a billboard in East L.A.
It’s just the way things are, the effect of decades of popular media conditioning.
The good news is Zeusvision will remove the roadblocks that until now have prevented you from advertising in these prominent locations.
As Zeusvision CEO Giovanni Wolfgang says, “Our message is rather simple: The average person or business owner should be able to get their message out to the most influential groups of people, in the most sought after geographic locations.”
Today, October 27, Zeusvision is launching a public campaign to bring affordable, mobile, multimedia advertising to most major U.S. cities in 2015.
Zeusvision promises a revolution in advertising and personal messaging.
Not only will Zeusvision’s digital media buses deliver stunning 31 foot video advertising, but their team of technologists will be adding an array of unique features that the “big guys” don’t offer.
Zeusvision is including on-board technologies, like Global Positioning System (GPS), cameras, inertial motion sensors, light sensors, eye tracking, gesture tracking, realtime Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) processing, and other tech packages they are still exploring, that allow your graphics and video to interact with the public in ways never dreamed before.
They will release their Software Development Kit (SDK) and Application Programming Interface (API) in the first quarter of 2015 so other developers can participate.
Think of Zeusvision as a huge iPhone™ on wheels that can position itself wherever the client desires, delivering customized multimedia messages and experiences for as little as $99.
Yes, you read that correctly: starting package is only $99.
Even a marriage proposal
It’s not just about business. It’s also about using new technology to enrich people’s daily in imaginative ways.
Our belief at Zeusvision is that people want to be recognized and they want their voice to be heard. This assumption is evidenced by the millions of comments and tweets posted to social media sites and blogs daily, not counting the bloggers themselves.. – Giovanni Wolfgang
Zeusvision shared with me this scenario of an “average person” use of the new service.
The context is that we live in an age where anyone wanting to propose marriage is under some pressure to be more seriously imaginative than was expected of previous generations. Blame YouTube!
But Zeusvision can help.
Imagine Robert has been dating Sally for six months. He has decided to ask for her hand in marriage but wants to do it in spectacular fashion. He goes to his computer, downloads a graphics template from the Zeusvision website and makes a graphic with her picture on it, with text asking her to marry him. Next he uploads the proposal image and schedules the time he wants his proposal to play.
Because Zeusvision buses have a route with fixed times and geo-locating ads, Robert schedules his proposal to play on a specific street at 12:00 noon where his fiancée-to-be will be joining him for lunch at an outdoor cafe.
As Zeusvision approaches the cafe he receives a text alerting him that his Zeusvision bus is only 5 minutes away. Once Zeusvision is in sight he directs Sally’s attention to his proposal graphic.
Once she realizes that she is looking at herself on a giant screen bus and she is also being proposed to simultaneously, surprise turns to excitement and hopefully a yes to his question (and happiness ensues).
How it could work for a startup
As soon as I learned about Zeusvision I thought of some small startup companies I know who are looking to attract investment, especially in Silicon Valley and in the US Northeast. Just like our prospective bridegroom Robert with his proposal and some creative thinking, they could book with packages that are financially manageable within their budget and then take steps to ensure that potential investors got to see the bus going past with the startup being featured, with a video and other media.
The possibilities are endless!
The music festival
To celebrate their vision of “giving the people their voice back,” Zeusvision is giving away free tickets to the 2015 Zeusvision Music Festival for all of the customers that support the Zeusvision Public launch campaign starting on the 27th of October.
These are exciting times, to discover more about the Zeusvision Public Launch head on over to www.zeusvision.com
I love working with people who have a vision, who are ready to shake up old models, especially when they offer something which technically and financially allows small businesses to compete more effectively with their bigger competitors. Zeusvision’s Giovanni Wolfgang and his team have that vision and determination. And they have the technology to translate their vision into practical reality.
I’ve always liked being part of disruptive ventures like this, which is why I’m delighted to be partnering with Zeusvision in this breakthrough offering for outdoor advertising and personal messaging.
Watch for further updates as this story unfolds.