Ad blocks windows but not the view

BUS BILLBOARD PAINTS CLEAR PICTURE

June 24, 1992|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Staff Writer

A Baltimore bus has been turned into a billboard on wheels. Thanks to an innovative plastic material, the ad covers the side of the bus, but allows passengers to see out the windows.

The 36-by-8-foot ad for Rudo Sports is the first transportation ad in the state and one of only a handful in the country to use the material, called Contravision.

The creators of the Rudo's ad would not say what it cost, but Ken Hashamoto, vice president of Gateway Resource Group, a Columbia firm that holds the license to market Contravision in North America, said Contravision bus ads usually cost $5,000 to $10,000 to produce.

While the cost of running the ad is considerably more than the $164 a month a conventional bus ad costs, Al Grosso, Rudo's advertising director said it was worth it. "We need to show our market that we're the trendsetters," he said, but declined to reveal the cost.

He said it is hard to measure the ad's impact on sales, but that the sporting goods store has received many comments about it.

Rob Schilling, market manager for Combined Media Baltimore, which sells all of the advertising space on Mass Transit Administration buses and the subway, said he has received several inquiries from clients about buying Contravision ads, but cost has deterred many of them.

The Contravision material was invented in the mid-1980s by Roland Hill, an Englishman who first used the material to cover the walls of racquetball and squash courts.

One side of the thin plastic covering consists of tiny black dots; the other side is covered by tiny white dots. The eyes are able to see the light in the spaces between the black dots, and thus look through the screen on one side. But from the other side, the eyes focus on the white dots and do not see through the material.

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