Pop Goes the Billboard

Metro Media Technologies uses its PosterProps offering to help 7Up go 3D.

Big Picture

With the simplicity of the standard billboard canvas, marketers constantly run the risk of becoming stale when it comes to these out-of-home alternatives. To combat the danger of billboard boredom, print provider Metro Media Technologies (MMT, www.mmt.com) continues to try to find ways to make ordinary billboards pop.

Enter PosterProps. MMT’s latest offering is a lightweight prop that’s designed to give posters a three-dimensional impact. To test its latest innovation, MMT enlisted long-time client Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) for a trial run.

“MMT has been DPSG’s primary provider of outdoor production for the past three years. As part of our business relationship, MMT continually proposes new and innovative ideas that help DPSG brands maximize their impact in out-of-home and visual display media,” says Abhi Vyas, MMT’s marketing director. “We also approached CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel Outdoor to enlist their help and input from the operator side of things.”

DPSG’s agency partner, Group 360 Visual Communications, designed the graphics using Adobe Creative Suite. The same digital artwork used to produce the actual production-line 7Up cans was edited and the sell copy removed to create the graphics for the three-dimensional PosterProp can.

“Because this was a product test, the brand client wanted to use an existing creative design, so the use of the PosterProp didn’t really alter the design process,” says Vyas.

After a PDF proof of the graphic and a soft-proof schematic of the 3D prop were approved, the shop was ready for output. MMT turned to its proprietary printer – a drum technology that uses acrylic-based paint to output the 14 x 48-foot graphic onto standard 9.9-ounce flex vinyl. For the PosterProp “skin,” MMT migrated the print work to fabric, using its Mimaki dye-sublimation printer. When completed, the can was about 11-feet tall.

“The outer skin for the prop was produced in several pieces, similar to a sewing pattern,” says Vyas. Once the prop pieces had been sewn together, an inflatable chamber was placed inside the skin, then inflated with a handheld electric pump.

The installation was handled by CBS Outdoor installers and took less that an hour – the billboard was in the Dallas, Texas, market. The weight of the 7UP can was approximately 40 pounds, so no special rigging or cranes were required for hoisting.

“The back side of the PosterProp that faces the billboard had a number of D-rings that were sewn into the reinforced super-structure of the prop skin. Those D-rings then hooked onto clasps that are attached to the structure of the billboard panels. As a safety precaution, there was also an airline cable that secured the can to the billboard structure,” says Vyas.

To ensure that the PosterProp maintained proper inflation, a one-square-foot solar-powered compressor was mounted to the billboard’s catwalk. The compressor was, in turn, connected to a pressure monitor placed within in the 7UP can, triggering the compressor if there were any drops in air pressure.



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