Billboard trucks | What’s up with that?
What company is behind those eyesore advertising rigs?
I saw a HUGE eyesore in the streets: a car with a GIANT flat-screen TV on the back. First of all, this seems like an accident waiting to happen. Secondly, this is not Vegas! It looks trashy. Is there a certain company dispatching these things?—Amanda Petersen
A truck cruising the Viagra Triangle with an Admiral Theatre ad featuring a stripper holding up two cinnamon rolls to her chest next to the slogan hot buns served daily could, indeed, prove distracting to drivers. But Rod Harris, CEO of Virginia-based Truck Ads, says the right to operate mobile billboards is a free-speech issue. He adds that advertising vehicles, including rigs with LED screens—he estimates there are about 2,000 on the road in the U.S.—are usually linked to small, mom-and-pop businesses. One such company, Tinley Park–based Younker Media, dispatches trucks hauling static, backlit vinyl banner ads. Owner Brian Younker admits the LED signs are “dangerous”: “It’s like watching TV while you’re driving.” He says he occasionally gets complaints that his ads are in bad taste, like the one for local divorce attorney Corri Fetman, featuring sexy close-ups of a partially clothed man and woman and some words of advice: life’s short. get a divorce. In 2008, 2nd Ward Ald. Robert Fioretti’s proposed ban on mobile billboards fizzled in City Council. “The ad industry had some high-pressure lobbyists who convinced all the aldermen not to move it forward,” Fioretti says. “But lately I’ve heard from other aldermen who feel visual blight is a problem in their wards, so we may pursue this.”