tell me about billboards!
February 10, 2012 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Part of my commute goes along Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. There are a ton of billboards. Now I'm curious about billboards. Could you answer some questions about billboards for me?

In particular, there's this one giant HBO billboard, which is actually the side of a building that they redo every week or so. It seems to take about 24 hours to redo it, because I frequently see it half-finished, but I never see anyone working on it.

Does anyone know the process used to redo the side-of-a-building billboard? Can anyone estimate how much it costs to redo/ repaint it? Do you know if HBO owns the building, or rents the billboard?

What about the regular billboards? Most of them seem to get redone every week or so as well, but I never see them half-done, so I assume they get redone at night. What's the process for redoing them? How much does that cost? Any idea how much it costs to rent a billboard on Sunset?

If you have other information on billboard advertising, please share. I am particularly interested in how they get giant photography quality images up on the billboards.

(I have google searched & read the wikipedia page on billboards, and it was very interesting, but didn't answer all my questions)

posted by insectosaurus to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This pdf is from the clear channel site. If you scroll down to eco posters, it talks about how it is done.
posted by AugustWest at 9:33 AM on February 10, 2012

Giant billboards (aka supergraphics) are generally not painted, but printed with very large printers onto thick plastic sheeting. The last one I remember being actually painted was a Terminator 3 ad in Universal City a few years back.

I used to work near a building that had supergraphics on both sides (one side Apple, one side Paramount/Dreamworks) and occasionally they would remove old ones and post new ones during the day. I want to say Once a violent windstorm ripped the plastic free from its bottom moorings, and the movie ad flapped over the Hollywood sky like a flag. It was pretty cool.

Los Angeles has been cracking down on supergraphics. The building with both sides covered has been bare for a few years now. Static billboards themselves are on their way out, replaced by LED screens owned by CBS or Clear Channel. The famous billboard for "The Room" on Highland Avenue is gone. And Angelyne hasn't advertised in almost ten years.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:37 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

infinitewindow is right about the production of said graphics but I have to wonder if "The Room" is down because they've finally exhausted all of the willing victims, er I mean audience.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:10 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not to derail, but for all us non-Angelenos, WTF is "The Room"? Dying to know.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:35 AM on February 10, 2012

They're printed on thick vinyl. When the billboard is taken down, the vinyl is often resold as tarps.
posted by zombiedance at 10:37 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Room. (and the billboard)
posted by mykescipark at 10:40 AM on February 10, 2012

The ads on the side of buildings you are referring to are known as "tall walls" (aka "supergraphics") in the biz.
posted by jca at 2:21 PM on February 10, 2012

The Business Insider site had a story on this a few days ago, with pictures of it in progress to finish. The building is across the street from them and the writer took pictures and researched a (very little) bit:

How A 10-Story-High Ad Gets Painted On The Side Of A Skyscraper
posted by caclwmr4 at 2:46 PM on February 10, 2012

caclwmr4 - that story is really interesting, I had no idea that billboards were painted by hand like that! The giant HBO billboard I referred to in my post is definitely painted with a different technique, however - it is painted over 24-48 hours, not one week, and the new design is painted directly over the old design (it's frequently half & half old/new, and never half-white).
posted by insectosaurus at 5:21 PM on February 10, 2012

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