Grand Bahama News

GBPA moving to digital billboards in Freeport

A new digital billboard has been installed at one of the busiest roundabouts in Freeport as part of an initiative to reduce the use of plywood printed advertisements.

The TV-style billboard at the Ranfurly Circus is managed by Exteri-ad, a new marketing agency determined to advance outdoor marketing in the city.

The billboard installation is the result of an initiative by the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) which wanted to fulfill a growing interest in digital billboards, according to GBPA Business Development Officer Trevor Simmons.

“It brings the city of Freeport into the present,” Simmons said. “We explored it and we decided to take a phased approach with it. We wanted to start small to get an idea how it impacts motorists and how the city adapts to it.”

This phased approach began with the Port Authority selecting and licensing four candidates, including Exteri-ad, Nexus Advantage Connect, and Advertére Marketing.

The firms are permitted to install and manage digital billboards in four areas: the downtown bus terminal, the Ranfurly Circus roundabout and the intersections of Queens Highway and Fishing Hole Road and the East Mall Drive and Settler’s Way.

Exteri-ad was the first to act, installing its digital billboard at the Ranfurly Circus roundabout in July of this year.

There will still be wooden billboards installed in Freeport for locations with no digital billboard planned, according to GBPA Deputy Director and City Manager Troy McIntosh.  

“For instance, there is no planned [digital] billboard for Midshipman [Road] so most likely that will still be active,” McIntosh said.

The proprietor of Exteri-ad, Teia Canter-Davis, is grateful for the opportunity as she had advocated for a digital billboard in 2017 and 2019, but was refused.

She said that did not discourage her.

“After hearing the first two nos and the comments about it, it also became about proving to whoever said no that it can actually work,” Canter-Davis said.

“There are a lot of firms that offer the standard graphic artist work. So, thinking outside of the box, I realized there was definitely a market for the digital billboard.”

Brandon Hall, the founder of Advertere, said there are numerous benefits to digitized outdoor marketing.

“The illuminated screen and the actual act of the ads changing causes us to look,” Hall said.

“Once you look, you only need two to three seconds to grasp everything and to spark that level of curiosity.”

Advertere’s digitial billboard will be installed at East Mall Drive and Settler’s Way and Hall said location was a key decision.

“For instance, our location is definitely a prime site,” he said.

“We are located in-between the two biggest commerce areas on the island. We have a super large reach onto many consumers who are making buying decisions throughout the day.”

Ads displayed on the illuminated screens are visible day and night.

In comparison to physical ads, marketing through a digital billboard is a cheaper and quicker process.  

The information and photos are simply projected on the screen while physical ads require printing, positioning, and maintenance. This makes it affordable for promoting smaller events or personal celebrations like birthdays or anniversaries.

“Clients have the freedom to display virtually anything they like,” Hall said.

“Businesses within the consumer-based industries —retail, consumer products, food/beverage, service sectors, and so on — will see a huge advantage.”

The GBPA has control over the content shown on the billboards to ensure the ads are appropriate for public viewing and that the business and event promoters possess the required licenses.

Michael Wilson, owner of First Class Limousine and an Exteri-ad client, said his business has greatly increased since his digital ad was displayed.

“One of the things about being in Grand Bahama, it’s a visual kind of thing,” Wilson said.

“When people start to see new stuff is when they try to buy. I started getting calls the day of. At the end of the second week, I had already done six jobs because of people seeing our business [ad].”

While preparing to launch Advertere’s billboard, Hall expects the installation of these billboards will spark creativity and encourage the creation of new enterprises in Grand Bahama.

“Because of my extreme passion for non-traditional business ventures, it is my hope that other upcoming entrepreneurs think more outside the box but also conceptualize ventures that are able to help and grow commerce on the island,” he said.

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