Brazil, a country of contrasts… and advanced technologies in outdoor advertising

Chief editor - Vladimir Krylov

In late October 2000, Brazilian company Tonini invited us to San Paolo to attend a number of seminars and presentations organized by their specialists and devoted to the main topic of our magazine: new information technology for outdoor usage. We were tremendously impressed by how seriously Brazil pursues and develops new information technologies and how much has already been done and achieved. Doubtlessly, Brazil is a country full of contrasts which are especially evident in San Paolo.

It is a city with many highly trained and well educated specialists and engineers, on the one hand, and with the large percentage of illiterate people, on the other. Its citizens, as well as all Brazilians, know how to enjoy themselves and entertain, but know how to work much and effectively. San Paolo is a city of slums and the most modern high rises. It’s a city of gangs and the most refined public. The contrasts are everywhere. Even outdoor advertising screens are different: from the latest most expensive models to outdated and poorly working systems.

Map of Eletromidia outdoor advertising screens installations in San Paolo Map of Eletromidia outdoor advertising screens installations in Rio de Janeiro
Map of Eletromidia outdoor advertising screens installations in San Paolo Map of Eletromidia outdoor advertising screens installations in Rio de Janeiro

However, Brazil is a country that not only strives to implement all the latest and newest technologies but does it in a rational way, at least as far as the outdoor advertising screens are concerned. Much of what our magazine has been writing about (basic principles of positioning and maintaining screens), has been implemented in San Paolo by companies that own them:

  • The outdoor advertising screens are most effective if placed on converging routes of traffic and pedestrian flows. Screens erected by Eletromidia, MCTpublicidade, AlphaVision companies are especially well positioned. Many of the screens are joined by fiber optic networks. Eletromidia seems to have achieved the best results in this area. See the map of Eletromidia installations in Rio de Janeiro and in San Paolo.
  • The majority of leading operators procure outdoor screens not only as their personal signs, or signs for their clients, but as advertising and informational systems of “Outdoor Video and TV”. That is why the primary consideration in buying advertising screens remains optimal ratio between price, functions and maintenance expenses. The obvious leaders and most experienced operators in San Paolo are Eletromidia and Tonini.
  • The situation in the outdoor advertising market in San Paolo is very complex. We can easily call it chaotic since a large number of billboards and brandmauers are installed illegally. Unlike billboards, electronic (digital) advertising systems are always legally installed, and all taxes and expenses have to be covered from the actual returns on their operation.
  • However, in spite of this imbalance between static “dead” and dynamic electronic “live” systems (as they are called in Brazil) the effectiveness of the latter is obvious. The electronic advertising screens have already proved their usefulness for the city authorities and are the first preference among advertisers.
  • For us as independent observers, it is important to analyze the situation and identify good and bad in the current trends, so that our readers would not have to repeat obvious mistakes in other places. First of all it is essential to take into consideration advertising environment.
Outdoor advertising screen in Brazil Outdoor advertising screen in Brazil
Outdoor advertising screens in Brazil

For the outdoor advertising screen not to be lost among the chaotic multitude of billboards, it is necessary to find new approaches that would single screen out and position them prominently in the direct view of citizens. The very nature of electronic advertising screens with dynamic bright and interesting commercials helps in this matter not a little. However, the experience of advertising screen operators in San Paolo proves that this is not sufficient and has to be supported by additional factors.

Currently, “dead” billboards started growing in size in the attempt to make them more noticeable. This should be countered by growing linear dimensions of electronic screens. The efficiency of advertising is proportional to the linear sizes of the outdoor screen. Naturally, a compromise has to be reached between size and price. For example, since 1997 to 2000, Eletromidia and AlphaVision established networks of at least 10 outdoor advertising screens each and sizes of 5.6x8 meters.

By the end of 1999, these sizes corresponded to the effective placement of outdoor advertising systems. But from mid-2000, the situation in the city drastically changed. More and more large-size billboards appeared in the streets, frequently blocking the view on other advertising systems. In spite of the well-developed infrastructure and presence of several competing outdoor advertising screen networks in San Paolo, there is a marked lack of large sized screens, because smaller screens become “lost” among the huge static billboards.

Even if Brazil improves the situation with illegal outdoor advertising, the tendency will prevail: large-area boards will occupy the most attractive areas throughout major cities in the world. The above tendency is observed not only in Brazil, but in other countries that dictate fashions in the field, including Japan, USA and Korea etc.

Therefore, a proper selection of sizes of outdoor advertising screens becomes prime factor of their commercial success. Large size brings out the best in a outdoor screen, makes it more effective in displaying important information and bright commercials. In general, our trip to Brazil proved that this new advertising technology based on outdoor TV and video systems is not limited to the USA or Japan, or Korea. This technology went beyond borders and became truly international.

At the end, we would like to express gratitude to the Brazilian company Tonini for organizing a series of extremely informative seminars on the topic. Tonini specializes in outdoor advertising, especially “Outdoor Video and TV” systems, and possesses unique experience in working with this new technology and implementing the latest developments in the field.