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Ads in transit


Jeff Lamb and Aaron Steen have a plan to pull businesses out of obscurity by putting their names and products on the big blank slate provided by delivery trucks, semitrailers and buses.

They started Midwest Truck Advertising last year after wondering why they didn’t see more advertising while driving down the road, let’s say on Interstate 235. We’re not talking billboards. Instead, they were looking at all of the empty space on the sides of trucks and buses.

The business partners wanted a way to break through electronic ads and compete with the cost of billboards. Billboards can’t be planted in any old spot, and electronic ads can “flood out other products and services,” Lamb said. 

Midwest Truck Advertising fills in some empty space in the ad world.

Lamb, who is president of the year-old company, said most advertising can be tuned out — whether it’s on the radio, TV or a website — with the click of a button. It’s difficult to ignore a 53-foot-long mobile billboard.

“There is no clicking away a big billboard driving down the road,” he said. “Mobile billboard advertising is hard to ignore.”

Lamb said the advantage of mobile ads is that “buyers of all types are driving, all of the time, Usually to go make a purchase.”   

Delivery trucks provide the perfect medium to deliver the ads, he said. 

“Why don’t many of the local delivery companies, and trucking companies, install their logos on their own trucks? Why are they blank?” he said.

The company teams up with three bus companies and several truck companies that deliver ads in central and eastern Iowa.

Midwest Truck Advertising uses a local graphic designer to produce ads that are printed by LRI Graphics in Grimes, which specializes in large-format graphics.

Timothy Schutte, owner of Exit Realty Capital City, was the first customer of Midwest Truck Advertising. Exit Realty, the parent company of the real estate firm, encourages various forms of advertising, many of which are expensive, he said.

To rent space on a billboard can cost up to $10,000, he said. The side of a delivery truck can be leased for around $150 a month.

“This is reasonable, it’s moving, it shows activity,” Schutte said. “It’s a good concept.”

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