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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

Billboards in a Better Light

Pink’s Hot Dogs did not become a Hollywood legend overnight. In 1939, we opened a single hot dog stand on La Brea Avenue. Our family-owned business has grown over the years – locations now include LAX, Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal City Walk in the Valley – because we have stayed true to providing a quality product and experience to our customers. While at our core, these are not the only reasons we have become famous in the Los Angeles region. Of course, we have always depended on the word of mouth of those who love us to help attract customers, but, like any other small business that hopes to grow and expand, we knew advertising would be important. That is why 10 years ago we began advertising on a billboard on La Brea Avenue. As a small, family-owned business, outdoor advertising near our restaurant has been critical to our growth and success in the Los Angeles community, which is why we recently joined the Sign Up LA coalition to support a reasonable digital sign policy in Los Angeles and ensure that businesses like ours continue to have this valuable tool available to them. For many years, billboards have been an economic driver for small businesses like Pink’s because they provide tremendous exposure to the residents of Los Angeles and the millions of visitors we receive each year at a reasonable cost. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, at least seven out of 10 billboard messages promote local advertisers. The typical business relying on billboard advertising employs 35 workers. Small businesses, like ours, take advantage of outdoor advertising to direct customers to business locations and to drive sales. Many of these businesses do not have affordable, effective alternatives to outdoor advertising. Traditional mass media, such as newspapers and television, are much more expensive than billboards, which puts small businesses at a tremendous disadvantage to large businesses that can afford to use those media. Billboards help even the playing field and support local businesses owned by local citizens – like our business that started as a single stand on a street corner. Of course, big businesses use billboards and digital billboards as part of their marketing as well. Hollywood’s entertainment industry, for example, including the major movie studios and television productions, rely on digital billboards to support new films and programming – directly benefitting a critical segment of our local economy. Digital billboards provide local businesses with a highly effective advertising platform that produces demand for their products and services, which in turn stimulates economic development. This is one reason why forward-looking cities in 43 states and more than 450 localities across the country have developed policies that support the regulated but reasonable use of digital billboards. Billboards generate economic benefits to businesses, both large and small, including job creation and the sales of products and services to consumers, which in turn generate tax revenues for much-needed government services. Pink’s proudly joined Sign Up LA, the coalition of businesses, nonprofits, community groups and sign companies formed to support the reasonable use of digital signs in Los Angeles, because we know firsthand, from a billboard on La Brea Avenue, the benefits billboards and digital billboards provide to small businesses throughout the region. Along with other coalition members like the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, Art Share L.A., the Asian Business Association and the Ad Council, we will support the public dialogue as the city of Los Angeles considers a legislative solution to address the longstanding issues surrounding digital billboards. The Sign Up LA coalition recognizes that outdoor advertising provides a unique opportunity for businesses to display their messages and products effectively, contributing to the continuing economic vitality of the Los Angeles region. The members of the Sign Up LA coalition are committed to work toward a responsible public policy solution that will help keep this valuable resource in the city and provide the media and tools that both businesses and community groups need to succeed and continue to contribute to the region’s success. By working towards a reasonable digital sign policy, the city of Los Angeles will provide the next Pink’s an opportunity to grow and thrive, just as we have with the help of outdoor advertising. Richard Pink is co-owner of Pink’s Hot Dogs and a member of Sign Up LA. The coalition’s members include billboard companies Lamar Advertising Co. and Clear Channel Outdoor.

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