Los Angeles is a giant laboratory and proving ground for new out-of-home advertising strategies -- which also makes it a hotbed of opposition to the burgeoning, diversifying medium. Witness the seemingly endless battle over digital billboards, which now involves the LA City Council, the Planning Commission, and the state and Federal courts. But at least one of the more contentious issues -- the environmental cost associated with vinyl "super-graphics" applied to the sides of buildings -- appears to have been solved.
The environment-friendly fix comes courtesy of Midnight Oil and LA Graphico, sibling marketing companies based in Pasadena, which specialize in online advertising and super graphics (focused on the movie industry) in partnership with another local company, Billboard2Swag, which takes LA Graphico's discarded vinyl building wraps and turns them into sturdy, stylish reusable shopping bags.
Unlike the reusable shopping bags sold by green-thinking supermarket chains, each of the Billboard2Swag bags is unique.
Given the size of the super-graphics, which measure thousands of square feet in area, there's no guarantee a particular bag will have anything recognizable on it, but it does offer some eye-catching abstractions.
Plus, there is a certain cachet (at least in L.A.) to owning a bag made from, say, a giant super-graphic for "Avatar." The green selling point helps: Billboards2Swag is able to reuse over 95% of each LA Graphico super-graphic, leaving virtually no waste for the landfill.
Although it forged the partnership with Billboard2Swag on its own initiative, LA Graphico hopes the green solution will help attract more environmentally conscious advertisers that may have shied away from the giant out-of-home ads.
According to Brandon Gabriel, a principal at Midnight Oil and LA Graphico, the two companies' growth strategy includes cross-selling more of their online ad clients to outdoor and vice versa. The bags can only help persuade digital adherents to venture out-of-home, while allowing existing super-graphic advertisers to polish their green credentials.
One interesting PR advantage: as conversation pieces, the bags continue generating buzz and publicity for a movie long after the super-graphic comes down.