AIM Outdoor was recently featured on Crain’s Cleveland Business website. Click here to read the full article at CrainsCleveland.com.
MOBILE AD FIRM MOVING AT RAPID RATE
By CHUCK SODER
A few weeks ago, Ads in Motion bought a box truck covered with three giant video screens.
Within a matter of days, president Mike Matonis was driving it into the parking lot of the I-X Center, where a Donald Trump rally was taking place.
But the company’s very first customer wanted to support another GOP candidate: All three screens displayed ads suggesting that Gov. John Kasich has a better chance of winning the general election.
Naturally, Matonis was told he had to leave the I-X Center parking lot. So he moved his truck onto a nearby street.
That’s AIM advantages of billboard advertising on wheels.
Ads in Motion thinks plenty of other advertisers — businesses, nonprofits and politicians alike — would pay to use its new mobile messaging machine.
Thus, the Westlake-based company has already ordered another one. And it plans to buy many more, according to Lee Zapis, who invested an undisclosed amount in Ads in Motion and is helping Matonis run the company. Ads in Motion also received an investment from one of his colleagues at Zapis Capital Group, Rich Bongiorno.
Zapis thinks that the company could have 15 to 20 trucks in three-to-five cities within 18 months.
Why so optimistic?
Sure, there are trucks that double as electronic billboards in other cities. You might’ve seen one if you’ve been to Las Vegas recently. But the number of trucks out there is still pretty low, Zapis said.
Plus, Ads in Motion has experience in the outdoor advertising industry: Matonis has spent a few decades selling ads on billboards and buildings — digital and analog. Zapis was one of his frequent customers back when he was president of Zapis Communications, which owned and operated several radio stations that were sold in 1999 to a company that got bought by Clear Channel Communications.
Many of the other truck owners don’t appear to have that much experience in the outdoor advertising industry, based on information that Zapis and Matonis gathered from the company that built their truck. Via email, the manufacturer passed along a few lessons its customers had learned. The last thing he wrote? “Advertising sales is hard.”
“That’s the one part of our business that we understand,” Zapis said.
Matonis chimed in: “That was the least of our worries.”
Of course, they’ll have to prove that they can indeed find advertisers. They said that most customers will probably want Ads in Motion to park the truck at events instead of driving it around. Businesses could use the truck for events like grand openings, and nonprofits might rent it out to deliver messages during a fundraiser. Ads in Motion also hopes to win business from politicians and political groups visiting town for the Republican National Convention in July.
Customers wouldn’t even have to use it for ads. The truck’s LED screens could be used to show movies or play video games.
Matonis said he was scheduled to install a modem in the truck over the weekend, which would allow him to change the ads on display from afar. This week he plans to install a sound system.
The truck certainly caught Steve deMoulpied’s eye. Thus, he thinks it might help his online grocery delivery service catch the eyes of customers. PrestoFresh is the second advertiser to use the Ads in Motion truck. Now the company is collecting data to see if the ads are helping boost traffic to its website.
“We have to do something to grab people’s attention,” he said.
Even if Ads in Motion succeeds in attracting customers, it could run into other problems. For one, local governments could crack down on mobile billboard advertising vehicles. So far, however, local communities seem more interested in using the truck for their own events, Matonis said, adding that the company doesn’t run video ads while the truck is moving.
If anything, he’s wondering how long it might take for Ads in Motion to acquire new trucks.
It took longer than expected to receive its existing truck, which is highly customized.
“Our biggest concern right now is the manufacturers — can they keep up with us?” Matonis said.