An Out-of-Home Home Run
Sign Language teams with CBS Outdoor and Walz Tetrick Advertising to create a billboard for the Kansas City Royals.
Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals are back at it, with entertaining billboards to promote the team’s upcoming season and kick-start a push for tickets. Last year, dual billboards on Interstate 35 showed player James Shields on one billboard pitching across the highway to teammate Salvador Perez on another billboard.
For this year’s “Be Royal” campaign, the billboard shows Royals left fielder Alex Gordon sliding head first into a base, and tearing apart the billboard behind him as he does so.
Ad agency Walz Tetrick Advertising is the force behind the creative billboards. Amanda Coleman, the senior art director on the project, created the final art and worked directly with the production staff at CBS Outdoor “to bring the board from computer screen to life along the highway,” says Dana Schickedanz, CBS Outdoor account executive. The photo of Alex Gordon was purchased from Getty Images by the Royals.
Denver-based print shop Sign Language (www.signlanguagexl.com) was then brought in for output. The media chosen for the billboard: Ultraflex Billboard Vinyl with black-back matte finish. “The matte finish keeps the glare down for better visibility of the sign content,” says Beth Hill, OOH division manager at Sign Language.
Two prints were requested for the billboard. The first print was of the entire image. “[Faux] wrinkles were printed in the areas between and under the arms,” says Jon Haworth, CBS Outdoor. “The areas where the sign face was to be removed were printed light blue to show where we needed to trim the excess vinyl.”
The second printed image was of the background only (sans Gordon), and it was this piece that would be used in creating the larger, 3D wrinkles that run from the top of the billboard to the player’s image.
Sign Language printed 756 square feet per billboard via its EFI Vutek GS5000r and EFI UV inks because “it’s large enough to print the billboard in one piece,” she says. Printing for each billboard took 30 minutes.
CBS Outdoor was back in the game in creating the 3D wrinkles: “The major concern was to create the 3D wrinkles to match the original art of the concept design to the satisfaction of the client,” says Haworth. “We did a test piece using pieces of old vinyls in-house, and let them take a look to give their input. Once approved, the rest of the process went smoothly.”
Once the first print had been wrapped over the billboard face, the second print was wrapped over the top of that. Paying close attention to how it matched the background of print number one, print number two was folded back and forth along the top edge to give a starting point for the wrinkles, and stapled into place so it would hold its shape. “We then gathered the media as we did on the top and stapled it into place along the bottom,” says Haworth. “The excess media was trimmed and glued – using R-H Products HH-66 Vinyl Cement – around the edges of the player on the first print to create the wrinkles.”
For the player’s body, the printed image “was glued directly to the face, similar to building an extension, and cut out” says Haworth.
Post-print fabrication work took approximately 50 hours; installation took a team of five from Finch Sign Company five hours.
The 14 x 48-foot billboard entertained baseball fans and other passersby for a month on 1-35, just south of downtown Kansas City, before it was removed in early March.