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Digital billboards fight for stake in ad market

Bdee Company was started  by  five entrepreneurs who hope to change the way companies advertise their products.

They hope to achieve this by offering  a mobile digital platform away from the usual static form of advertising.

The company offers digital mobile billboards, also known as variable message signs (VMS’s), which are mounted on cars and driven around town or left running at a standstill.

Clive Akello, the firm’s sales and marketing manager said the advantage with this mode of advertising is the many messages that run concurrently and successively.

Also, changes can be made as often as possible, he added.

Every billboard has a central point where the computer programme software runs the messages displayed on the LED screen.

To keep the screens running, the system is solar powered, making them environment friendly.

“There are no added costs because of batteries or electricity as the solar panels provide the energy needed to run it,”  he said

The billboard is also rust and water proof, making it suitable for all weather.

It costs Sh15,000 to rent the four by three metre billboard in a day. The amount covers the creative messages, designing of logos, display, security and county levies.

Among companies Bdee has  worked with are Muthaiga Golf Tournament and Cowcrap, Nairobi Dog show organisers and  now Trixx Media.

“For Trixx Media, we will run a three-day awareness campaign where we will drive the digital billboard throughout city estates,” said the 26-year-old.

It is a flexible method since  companies can choose days and times to broadcast their products, and besides, it has a wider audience reach.

Thursday to Sunday are their busiest days as services are on high demand. Night time, he noted, offers the most distinct images.

Bdee was started eight months ago by four Kenyan friends living in Australia and Akello. Inspired by the way the natives used VMS’s to communicate and advertise, they decided to start the same in Kenya.

Akello runs the firm since the other founders are still in Australia. He  designs messages, logos and also ensures the smooth running of the business.

The bachelor of marketing graduate from Daystar University has had to learn the art of digital design from scratch.

He said the  reception of the product in the market is encouraging.  At the moment, Bdee rents out VMS’s, however, Akello said those who want to buy a unit will have to part with Sh1.7 million.