Utilizing interstate logo signs to promote your business can be an effective local media tactic, and one that is often overlooked.
Interstate logo signs are the blue panels located on interstate highways and some freeways to inform motorists of fuel, lodging and dining options available at the upcoming exit. There is usually a maximum of 6 logos included on each panel.
Logo signs can help drive traffic from out-of-towners and serve as a reminder to local consumers. I know I keep my eyes peeled for these signs when we need a good place to stop on a road trip.
The process of purchasing interstate fuel, dining or lodging signs is a little different than most other local media tactics.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Who to Contact
Local outdoor advertising companies do not manage interstate logo signs. They are either handled through the State Department of Transportation or Interstate Logos, a subsidiary of the Lamar Advertising Company.
Interstate Logos handles inventory for 22 states and the Providence of Ontario. Here is a link to their coverage map. If your state is not covered by Interstate Logos, you can use this list from the U.S. Department of Transportation to find the website for your local DOT.
Understanding the Terminology
There are three pieces to an interstate logo campaign: mainlines, ramp signs and trailblazers.
A mainline sign is the large blue panels located before the exit, including up to 6 client logos.
The ramp sign is exactly what it sounds like, a sign located on the ramp, including your logo with a directional arrow and distance from the exit.
A trailblazer is a small sign located at a cross road, to tell a motorist where to turn to reach your location. Depending on the distance of your store location from the interstate, you may or may not need to include a trailblazer.
The requirements will vary by service category and by state, but they will normally include:
- Maximum distance of service
- Minimum period of operation
- Various other requirements, such as public restroom, public telephone and minimum capacity for restaurants and lodging
Here is an example of the eligibility criteria from Georgia Logos.
Similar to traditional outdoor campaigns, the program will include charges for production and installation. Fees for the space are billed on an annual basis for each mainline, ramp and trailblazer sign. The cost will vary depending on the state, and can range from $500 – $2,500 per direction, not including trailblazers.
Interstate logo signs can be a low cost addition to your local media mix, and help generate awareness and traffic to your store location.