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Campus Dynamic Signage Networks: Communications Value and New Revenues, Part IV

In this final part of a four-part series, Lyle Bunn takes us through some of the various aspects of advertising content including messages, sponsored messages, respecting "exceptions," and the standards of content.

By Lyle Bunn

Seek to gain the most from this very powerful medium. See and ye shall find.

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  • Advertising Content
    Revenues are derived from fees charged for the display of messages including advertising messages by brands, goods and services providers and Sponsorship of information (i.e. "this message brought to you by…").

    Advertising messages are typically 5 to 30 seconds in duration and are often created specifically to take advantage of dynamic display network capabilities and the viewer environment. Many do not include audio but depend successfully on the visual messaging, composition and animations to attract and hold attention, and ultimately to influence attitudes and behaviors.

    Sponsored Messages
    Sponsored messages are often informational, providing instruction or advice on subjects such as health awareness, nutrition, financial management, etc. A recent campaign for example, aimed to increase awareness of the negative environmental impact of the use of single-use plastic water bottles and urged the use of re-fillable containers.

    Sponsored messages could provide instruction and counsel on financial management, nutrition, health, enabling technologies and other areas that can contribute to the success of students during and after the post-secondary experience.

    Respecting "Exceptions"
    Campuses have the inherent right to decline to carry any messages on their dynamic media network. While advertising that promotes the use of tobacco, alcohol and firearms are often unwelcome, exclusive relationships with providers of services to students such as telecommunications or banking, as well as campus suppliers (i.e. a soft drink bottler), may result in some advertising not being acceptable to any given campus.

    These exceptions can be easily managed in the ad sales and review process to assure compliance of ads with campus policies. The following Standards of content suggest a further framework related to acceptable advertising.

    Standards of Content
    Content and Advertising Standards offer a framework to help assure that the dynamic spot is not perceived in a negative light or tests legality. The American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) has published advertising standards of practice ( which direct that no advertising should contain:

    • False or misleading statements or exaggerations, visual or verbal.
    • Testimonials, which do not reflect the real choice of a competent witness.
    • Price claims which are misleading.
    • Comparisons that unfairly disparage a competitive product or service.
    • Claims insufficiently supported, or which distort the true meaning of practicable application of statements made by professional or scientific authority.
    • Statements, suggestions or pictures offensive to public decency.

    Standards of practice on digital signage content in the style guide for a network operator, content producer, communicator or advertiser should reflect that content presented on Digital Signage should not;

    • Infringe the legal rights (including copyrights, rights of privacy and publicity) of other.
    • Cause any damage or disadvantage to others.
    • Disturb public order.
    • Reflect a criminal act.
    • Present or distribute any third parties' private information without obtaining approval from such third parties.
    • Disgrace others
    • Defame or libel others.
    • Offer digital files for access or download that contain viruses, corrupted files that may damage the operation of others' computers.
    • Present unlawful or prohibited information.
    • Reflect any other activities that the location provider of the digital display deems inappropriate.

    A Code of Advertising Standards published in Canada offers a comprehensive framework for marketing and other communications. See

    A good way to improve dynamic signage content design and composition skills is to look at content spots and gauge the ways that you are affected. Be the judge by asking yourself the following while considering the viewing environment;

      a) What would make the intended message clearer or easier to ingest or "take in"?
      b) What was good about it?
      c) Was the value proposition clear?
      d) Was the requested action clearly presented and compelling?
      e) What was a distraction or not essential to the message?
      f) What would you change to simplify or empower the message?

    Sign Elements Vehicle Templates

    Outlook and Conclusion
    "The future isn't what it used to be" could aptly apply to the area of dynamic media network operations. Advances in technologies, standards of practice, best practice and innovations are advancing as communicators and marketers seek to gain best advantage from this very powerful medium.

    Advances in the use of the medium by communicators willing to pay for message display and the infrastructure available to support this commerce efficiently can bring significant new value to campuses.

    New Value - New Revenues
    Operating efficiencies are gained through a structured approach in which communications objectives are defined, followed by a definition of the "content" that will achieve these objectives, followed by the design and deployment of the technology system required to manage and present the content.

    The primary role of the technology infrastructure of a dynamic media display or network is to present the required media needed to achieve communications goals at minimal cost.

    The way in which this ecosystem of integrated technologies content management, distribution, play out, presentation and analytics handle "content" is key to the return on investment (ROI), high functionality, ease of use and lowest costs of ownership and ongoing operations that the network operator and users can enjoy. It is common that through the use of the system, the demands of content management and presentation on the technology are increased. The problems of inadequate functionality are negated by carefully planning content approaches toward suitable hardware and software selection and deployment. A similar process is used related to the upgrade of the technology infrastructure to optimize content opportunities and operations.

    The 4 to 9 year term of use that is expected from most dynamic media installations includes initial capital costs (which can often be financed and amortization), followed by ongoing operating costs.

    While technology prices have been declining and performance increasing (i.e. the declining price/performance equation), operating costs, which are human resource intensive have been increasing for design, network installation, hot line support, repair, training and content and playlist administration. These trends are expected to continue.

    Operating costs can be minimized and the effectiveness of the media maximized toward the achievement of business goals through the use of functionally rich, robust technology infrastructure.

    Infrastructure that impedes the use of content, requires reformatting or significant efforts to plan and manage play out deters from system success.

    Minimal operating costs and greater content effectiveness are realized when the technology infrastructure, including the critically important Content Management System, includes as the following key features.

    Other Useful Materials
    A Guide from Digital Signage Today.
    Published by NetWorld Alliance © 2008
    Written and edited by James Bickers, editor, Digital Signage Today

    Benefits, Concerns, approaches and questions to be asked. See:

    by Richard Slawsky Contributing editor, 2010. Sponsored by Capital Networks.

    Rise Vision offers several education sector case studies and many photographs at the following websites.

    As published in the "Digital Signage Best Practices" Guide, this articles outlines how to address how to proceed in planning dynamic media networks. - Resources for download of this and other dynamic media papers.

    This comprehensive, 44-page whitepaper provides direction on how to maximize the value of Dynamic Media. Free download at

    Dr. Lyle Bunn (Hon.), Principal and Strategy Architect, BUNN Co. - Lyle Bunn has been recognized with an Honorary Doctorate for his significant contributions to education and the development of the Dynamic Place-based Media industry. He is one of North America’s most highly regarded independent consultant, advisor, commentator and educator to investors, operators, suppliers and users of Digital Signage and Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) Media. For more information visit

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