How Effective is STELCO’s Giant Power-Hungry Billboard?

Have you ever passed through Boduthakurufaanu Magu in Male` City and happened to notice the huge screen put up by STELCO? The digital billboard has been there for years and according to MD of one of the leading marketing agencies in Maldives, it will cost about MVR 2 million. While millions are spent on this, is this effective marketing?

“People do not look at billboards, at least not in the Capital Male`. It’s too clustered here and space is too less. Also, everyone is too busy that they don’t even get the time to look up at the board,” says Bombe, Managing Director of Blak. He says the exposure does not work anymore in Male` and it is an extremely ineffective form of advertising.

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Not only is the billboard not effective in marketing the business, but it also has several adverse impacts on the environment.

According to Gregory Young, an architectural designer and urban planner in Philadelphia and author of Driven to Distraction, which explores the risk of digital billboards, a digital billboard may consume up to 30 times of energy than an average American home uses. “Higher electricity consumption, increased light pollution and recyclability issues should make us pause and question the growing popularity of digital signage. This means one should think twice about the way energy is being stolen to create out-of-home advertising.”

A study conducted by researchers at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute and funded by the Swedish Transport Administration, found that drivers looked at digital billboards significantly longer than they did at other signs on the same stretch of road, with the digital signs often taking a driver’s eyes off the road for more than two seconds. Research shows that having the driver’s eyes off the road for more than two seconds greatly increases the risk of a crash.

So we are forced to wonder what exactly is the use of putting a costly billboard in Male` City? Isn’t it just a waste of money and energy?

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