Saturday, August 19, 2006


For months I have wondered about a mobile billboard that shows up around town taking Republicans to task for the coingate scandal. A couple of times I've seen it and chased after, looking for a disclaimer to find out who paid for it. It looked like the same truck used to advertise the Muni Court candidates last year.

Then today Buckeye state posted pics of a similar, anti-Blackwell billboard on a truck spotted around Ohio. And on my way back from Meet.The.Bloggers/Tim Ryan I see it parked at the Dairy Mart at Market and Rhodes.

I had my Digital with me, so I took a couple of fotos and lurked. When the driver came out with a bag full of caffinated drinks, I asked if he knew who was paying for it. He said, "I am."

Meet Bill Wise, President of Ohio Mobile Billboards (I didn't have the presence of mind to snap a portrai.nt, so this is a really abstract meeting.) Bill is a veteran political operative, having run a number of local campaigns, and now is the proprietor of his mobile billboard company.
Bill told me that he indeed sold space to the Muni Judge candidates -- his first political account. He has been running the anti-Republican/anti-Blackwell signs as an in-kind donation, keeping track of the time, charging his going rate against his contribution limit and getting ready to file paperwork. He says this is his last day with Boot Blackwell.

By the way, he told me that he was at a Blackwell event at Summit Lake (notoriously poor area of the city) where the Blackwell crew was giving out T-shirts and someone from J.Ken's campaign took pictures. So 1) Understand that Blackwell gives out T-shirts in inner-city neighborhoods and 2) don't be surprised to see a picture of the truck coming to a Matt Naugle post near you.

Bill does what he does in part to support Strickland and in part to generate buzz for his business. (He in fact was the reader who sent the pics into BuckeyeState.)
Given the good behind his first motivation (not to say I'm completely at peace with his design and message), I'll give him some help on point two.

Right now Bill runs two trucks and can subcontract for more. Rates start at $1000/day and can drop for multi-day contracts.

In addition to the billboard, the truck has a legend on the back telling people to tune to a radio frequency. That's because the truck carries a narrowcasting transmitter playing a message on a loop. The transmitter has a range of a couple hundred feet, but the idea is to take advantage of an audience in slow traffic.

When I saw the adds for the judges last year, I thought they were quite effective -- more so than a conventional billboard which I have pretty much programmed myself to ignore. I've reproduced Bill's pitch card below. I'm not getting anything for all this, I just thought the story was interesting. But we all like to know if advertising is effective. So if any of the campaigns who read here call Bill, tell 'em Pho sent you.


redhorse said...

Bummer, I should have gone home that way too! Nice on the spot reporting.

Village Green said...

I was at the Summit Lake Community Festival today campaigning for Sherrod Brown -- when that truck showed up. It parked behind and inline with the Blackwell tent! Yeah, the Blackwell folks were giving away tee shirts but not many people were wearing them and those who were -- stopped by our booth to pick up Democratic stickers and literature. The crowd was overwhelmingly NOT for Blackwell.

The main event of the Summit Lake festival is feeding everybody in the community. Non-stop food line all afternoon long, so we set up right next to the food line. The crowd was about 95% black and 100% very low income. We distributed a lot of campaign stuff and got voters signed up. Most people did not want the absentee ballots. They expressed a need to actually go to the voting place, almost like it was an essential aspect of the whole ritual.

Pho said...

Thanks for the intell, VG. Since you didn't plug yourself, I will: V has a post on a new blog running down the events at Summit Lake.

Keep up the good work and I'll see you at a SCPD meeting soon.

Jill said...

Great info, Scott. Thanks very much for this post.

54cermak said...

While the message on the billboards is heartening, I can't help but think what a collosal waste of fossil fuels a "moving billboard" is. Couldn't he at least plaster these ads on, say, a bus that transports the elderly or something? Or maybe a school bus that could help defray the cost of sending schoolkids on a field trip?

Village Green said...

Thanks for the welcome, Pho. I've been reading your blog this summer and was getting the urge to try it myself when I read your tips for starting a blog. That did it!

Anonymous said...

Funniest thing, I was at the Summmit lake event as well. Mr Blackwell had no part of the Workers Comp or golf scandle that Noe and Taft was a part of, so why your blaming him for something that he had no part of is beyond me other than a lust for power back that you deserved to lose. Speaking of corruption does any one remember Vern Riffe democrat speaker of the Ohio House? How about good old Danny from Chicago and Mary Rose from Cleveland along with other democrats relating to the check kiting sceam in the US house bank and the abuse of government funds with that? Let me make myself a loan with the peoples money and thats an IOU I won't return. I wonder how many of our troups under billy boy died in Bosnia and other Eastern European nations in that undeclaired war, oh-ever hear of Samolia? The real laughable thing is there were 8 Blacks and one White supporting Blackwell at the event 6 whites and 1 Black supporting strickland and brown in the other and they had to borrow 2 Black girls from one of the other attendies to hold the banner for them. So much for racial unity in the dem camp. Open minded people ask your self this: what has 40+ years of party loyalty given you? Even when they were in power what did you get? You got it NOTHING.

Pho said...

I wonder how many of our troups under billy boy died in Bosnia and other Eastern European nations in that undeclaired war,

None. That would be less.

oh-ever hear of Samolia?

14 Dead in the Black Hawk Down incident. W has been good for, what, 200 Mogodishus so far? Not to mention the mobilization happened under Bush's dad -- 45 dead prior to the Mogodishu operation.

If you honestly think your life will be better if Blackwell is elected, you should vote for him. But you might want to make sure you know the facts, first.