Wells Fargo Sign Photobombing The Competition

Posted 12 May 2016 – 12:20 AM

Ever have one of your signs photo bombed by a competitor?

Here’s a great story!

Vikings, Wells Fargo File Competing Motions in Signage Dispute

1462234083_08+95036+23TAIL021516.JPG

By Rochelle Olson Star Tribune

The Vikings say the Wells Fargo logos, visible only from above the buildings, “photo bomb” the image of the team’s new downtown Minneapolis stadium in telecasts.

The Minnesota Vikings and Wells Fargo both want a judge to rule on their behalf before a federal trial on whether the bank’s rooftop signs in Minneapolis “photo-bomb” the image of the new U.S. Bank Stadium.

Both sides filed motions Monday that will be heard by U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank on June 3. The documents filed are both motions for summary judgment, meaning each side wants the judge to pick the winner because the other’s claim lacks substance. The motion is typical in civil cases.

The Vikings, legally acting as the “Minnesota Vikings Football Stadium LLC,” filed the lawsuit last year because Wells Fargo put raised signs on the rooftops of two office towers adjacent to the new $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium. The 56-by-56-foot logos are elevated 18 inches, which the Vikings say is a violation of a two-year-old agreement that the signs would be flush with the rooftops.

The issue is millions, not inches. U.S. Bank, a Wells Fargo competitor, paid the Vikings undisclosed millions for the naming rights to the massive new stadium. The bank’s logo is on the stadium’s roof in white — visible from commercial flights in and out of the city.

The yellow and red Wells Fargo logo on each of the 17-story office towers capped the bank’s $300 million investment in a $400 million mixed-use development in Downtown East. Some 5,000 Wells Fargo employees work in the towers.

The Vikings say the Wells Fargo logos, visible only from above the buildings, “photo bomb” the image of the new stadium in telecasts.

Wells Fargo counters that its signs are allowed under the agreement with the team.

If Frank doesn’t pick a side, the case is scheduled for trial in July. The new stadium opens with a soccer match on Aug. 3.

Negotiations for the initial agreement nearly tanked the entire development around Wells Fargo. When the signs started going up, the Vikings complained to Wells Fargo, but the bank forged on.

The sides met last week with U.S. Magistrate Judge Janie Mayeron in a closed-door settlement conference. They left without reaching agreement. The case is on an expedited track.

Under a preliminary ruling by Frank, the signs remain in place for now.

Original Article

Signs Manufacturing & Maintenance Corporation Sign Company

The coolest new sign in the world (or at least in Portland)

05.11.16 | 2:29 PM

The coolest new sign in the world (or at least in Portland)

Panic, which has been making nifty software for Apple devices for a very long time, just dressed up its headquarters with signage. Which would not be worth even a medium-sized whoop except for one fact: The company not only rigged its sign to change colors, but also built a web app that lets anyone choose a color scheme.

More details—lots of them—from Panic’s Cabel Sasser here.  

Original Post

Signs Manufacturing Sign Company in Dallas Texas

5 Types of Signage No Retailer Can Afford to Ignore

5 Types of Signage No Retailer Can Afford to Ignore

This is a guest post by Katelyn Gray from SmartSign.

If you want to operate a successful physical retail business that attracts customers and drives sales, then you need to get noticed – and smart retailers know that starts with signage.

Quality signage is an easy and effective way to drive foot traffic and communicate with your customers when designing your store. However, if done incorrectly it can cause overstimulation and even confusion. Signage in your brick-and-mortar business is just as important as your website design, and retail signage shouldn’t be an afterthought.

Why do signs play such an important role in physical retail? Just as your site’s sales copy should be attention-grabbing and concise, your in-store signs should be clear and useful. Consider signs your silent but highest-selling salespeople. Signage helps your customers navigate your shop without asking sales staff basic questions.

Much like you set standards for an employee’s appearance and expectations for their conduct, the color, visibility, messaging, and quality of signs also require a certain amount of development and consideration. Also like employees, signs can be given on-the-job tasks, ranging from sales information and wayfinding to general product information and usage. With that in mind, here are some general best practices you’ll want to keep in mind when thinking about store layout and signage, followed by five types of signs you won’t be able to do without.

Retail Signage Best Practices

No matter what kinds of signs you decide to include in your brick-and-mortar store, consider these best practices:

  • Be specific:  A customized sign can give you just the right message in just the right place, known as narrowcasting. When designing a sign, include specific details, such as location-specific instructions and relevant product information.
  • Keep it simple: Your sign’s message needs to be clear, yet one with too much information is often ignored. Use the five-second rule which states that if you can convey the main themes of the sign in less than five seconds, you pass. If it takes longer, shorten your message or use a series of signs.
  • Write in headline text: This should help you be concise and simple all at once. Understand the first principle of print journalism: the punch line matters. Can you simplify your text? Can you take out prepositions and extra words? Effective custom signs use a message hierarchy: headline, explanatory text, and finally, a call to action.
  • Make a call to action: Signs are advertisements, and as any good advertiser knows, you need to get the customer to do something; that’s the call to action. An effective sign needs to have a simple goal.

This brings us to the five most crucial types of retail signage you should consider when opening your brick-and-mortar store:

Outdoor Signage

Outdoor signage is arguably the most important kind in physical retail because it’s what gets customers in the door, the largest hurdle to beginning a relationship. Exterior signage is the first impression customers have of your business.

These signs need to do more than simply announce who you are, they need to draw in customers and make them want something from you. Effective signage may encourage people who have passed your store many times before to finally give it a chance.

Outdoor signage can take the form of sidewalk signs, entrance signs, awnings, or window signs. Place signage where it is visible to as much walk-by and drive-by traffic as possible. Outdoor signage in particular should be branded effectively to draw the customer in and help to convey the experience that they can expect inside the establishment.

(Image Credits: Corona Del Mar Today, The Store Starters, Webstagram)


About the Author

Katelyn Gray is the Social Media Associate at SmartSign. Connect with SmartSign on Twitter.

Original Article

Sign Company Dallas Fort Worth Texas

How Can a New Sign Help an Existing Business?

How Can a New Sign Help an Existing Business?

What can a 33 year old business that sells stoves do to increase its sales and profitability?

Notice the question is about “profitability” and not “sales”?  Anybody can increase sales $100,000 by spending $200,000, but that doesn’t help the business any. The goal is to be more profitable!

Revitalize your sign, possibly even add an LED display to it. That’s precisely what a 33 year old company that sells stoves did in Bernville, Pennsylvania. They removed their old freestanding sign (wood poles, static message in between them) and replaced it with a modern pylon sign (columns, static lighted message in between and a programmable LED sign beneath that).

The immediate effects to their bottom line were staggering.

One year after the new sign was installed they had their best sales year ever!

By shifting advertising expenses from billboards and newspaper ads, which are a money pit of advertising, and putting that towards the sign right in front of their business they quickly recovered the expense of the new sign and more!

Immediately they were receiving comments from their customers like, “I had no idea you were here!” and “How long have you been at this location?”

At their open house, which they have every year, they asked the attendees how they knew about the store.  75% said it was the sign that brought them in.

By upgrading their sign they not only created a more impressive, modern appeal to their customers but also told people they’re “alive and thriving” and implied they have new modern products to go with their new modern image.

The LED display allows them to broadcast messages to their potential customers at the right times in their sales cycle. For instance, they can now immediately change their message from new outdoor stoves in the Spring to wood chips in the Fall and Winter.

If you want your business to experience revitalized sales, take a look at what your customers see … the front of your business. Buy a new, modern sign!

 

Signs Manufacturing | Sign Company

Side Codes and Regulations by Community Planners

Sign Code and Regulatory Efforts with Planners Boost Business

Industry NewsMarch 17

Community planners play a key role in determining whether a sign is built, and not all have the training to fully understand the potential impact of their efforts on local businesses. But that is changing.

According to a recent survey conducted by McKinley Advisors, nearly one third of planners surveyed said they have begun to use the International Sign Association as a resource when dealing with sign codes within the last three years. ISA has significantly increased its work with planners in recent years, providing them with important resources to guide them through sign regulatory issues and sign code updates.

Among the latest efforts:

  • A new video shows planners and local officials the value that working with sign and graphics industry experts can have in building safe and vibrant communities.
  • ISA staff experts will meet face-to-face with planners and local officials at the 2016 American Planning Association’s National Conference in April to answer questions about sign codes and provide complimentary research and information. ISA’s James Carpentier will moderate a panel session, “Regulating Signs after Reed v. Town of Gilbert.”
  • Plus, a web portal houses numerous resources for communities considering sign code changes.

For additional information, please contact ISA’s Vice President of Government Relations, David Hickey (David.Hickey@signs.org).

Original Article

Signs Manufacturing | Sign Company

Taking Good Photos of LED Electronic Digital Signs

Taking Good Photos of LED Electronic Digital Signs

The Oaks Church LED Electronic Sign

What do LED signs, UFOs and the Loch Ness monster all have in common? All three are notoriously difficult—some say impossible—to photograph. And while LED signs aren’t literally impossible to photograph, there are certainly enough bad sign photos to know it can be a challenge.

Sign shops that build LED signs need to take quality images of them in order to impress potential clients with their great work. But bad sign photos just don’t do justice to the beautiful images LED signs can display. In the worst cases, these photographs show blurry, distorted and washed out images, even when the LED sign looks great in person. By understanding a few concepts and making adjustments to your camera’s settings, your LED sign photographs can improve significantly. Here are some tips for getting better image results.

  • Use Shutter Priority Mode—This camera mode is commonly denoted as “Tv” or “S” on the camera’s dial. This will automatically compensate the ISO and aperture to get a good exposure. If this doesn’t work, try full Manual Mode and adjust the shutter speeds and ISA settings as outlined below.
  • Use a Slower Shutter Speed—The most critical step is to lower your shutter speed to 1/15s, 1/30s, 1/60s or possibly 1/125s. These speeds help mimic the sign’s refresh rate and will better ensure that you don’t see “tiling” or grid lines across your photos as the modules refresh. Keep in mind that the lower the shutter speed, the steadier the camera will need to be to prevent blurry images.
  • Lower the ISO Setting—Once you’ve changed the shutter speed, you may also need to change the ISO setting, which controls your camera’s sensitivity to light. Using a slower shutter speed lets more light into the camera an may result in blown-out photos. One way to prevent this is to set your camera’s ISO setting as low as it will go, typically 100.
  • Increase the F-Stop—Similar to shutter speed, your camera’s aperture setting, or F-stop, controls how much light can reach the image sensor inside the camera. When using a lower shutter speed, you’ll likely need to increase the F-stop to prevent washed out, overexposed photos. We recommend using the highest F-stop number available on your camera (typically f/16 to f/22).

While using the appropriate settings will make a big difference, you’ll still want to pay attention to the ambient light and the environment. Here are a few adjustment tips to consider:

  • Try to avoid taking photos of LED signs in bright sunlight. On most consumer cameras it’s difficult to get the settings dialed in correctly with that amount of ambient light.
  • Take photos of the shaded side of the sign to get a better exposure.
  • Compose your photos so that you can see the whole sign structure, not just the LED sign.
  • Take a few photos from slightly different angles to show the cabinet depth and construction.
  • Take photos of the various artwork displayed on the sign. Try to capture the most colorful or impactful images.
  • Pay attention to clutter in the background like cars, power lines and other buildings. Take a moment to walk around the structure and look for angles that eliminate, or at least diminish, these background distractions.

Original Article

Signs Manufacturing & Maintenance Corporation

Are Brick and Mortar Stores Good Business? Amazon Thinks So!

Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar store

by Sam Machkovech – Nov 3, 2015 5:10pm CST

Original Article

2015-11-04 08_46_06-Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar store_ One big ad for the Amazon app _ Ars Techn

There she is: Amazon Books’ first location at Seattle’s University Village shopping center. Certainly puts the “brick” into “brick and mortar.”

SEATTLE—On Tuesday, after years of rumors and speculation, Amazon launched a brick-and-mortar store—the kind of place that it has frequently been accused of putting out of business for over 20 years. We had to see what it was all about.
So we got in the car and drove to Seattle’s famed University Village, the city’s leading upscale outdoor mall, and we did something we never thought we’d do: we walked into an Amazon-branded store, handed money to a human, and left with a book. The future is now.

If this is the future of neighborhood bookstores, however, we’re not entirely excited. We took a few of Amazon Books’ opening day hiccups and kinks in stride, and we saw some ways that the store could provide a unique and pleasing shopping experience, but for the most part, we found the shop—and its reliance on the Amazon smartphone app—something that we had no desire to ever return to again.

You came here to buy Mrs. Bezos’ book, right?

Amazon Books’ first location—which the company says it “hopes” will be followed by others—has been designed with a sort of open-yet-intimate design, meaning aisles and pathways feel both maneuverable and cramped. You’ll find a big magazine stand and some daily calendars, but otherwise, the printed content is all about books.

In terms of aesthetics, hardwood floors and wooden shelves offered a hint of a quaint old bookstore, but copious LED-equipped light bars all over the place—not to mention a lot of electronics demos, but more on those later—made us feel almost like we were in a Best Buy at times.

Some of the store’s bookshelves have been organized by genre or niche, including usual fare like science fiction, travel, biographies, graphic novels, poetry, and children’s age ranges, but most of the shop isn’t organized with the alphabet or other standard sorting. Other than a “top pre-orders” selection of five books behind the main checkout counter, there’s nothing in the way of a rotating best-seller section, either.

Instead, the shop’s selection hinges on Amazon’s curation—books selected due to high ratings, newness, or Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ wife being an author (no, seriously, her novel Traps currently gets a spotlight in the “staff favorites” section). Whatever the reason it’s there, a title at Amazon Books will always face forward—not be wedged among others spine-side-out—and come with a little card to convince you why Amazon chose the book. (We didn’t peruse the entire selection to see if Amazon’s curation process had, for example, an anti-Hachette bias.)

In most cases, that’s a mix of data—the percentage of Amazon customers who posted a favorable or five-star review—and selected customer review quotes. Amazon has clearly tried to select smart-sounding reviews, but the result still ultimately comes off like those awful movie advertisements where major media outlets’ quotes are slammed next to, say, @kimmie73242’s Twitter exclamation that the latest scary movie was “SO WILD.”

We could see this as an ideal shopping experience for some clueless book shoppers. Amazon knows how to target book categories to a wide audience, and it can stock each of its category-specific kiosks with enough well-reviewed and highly anticipated fare to sneak in a few cult favorites or new, unproven titles—and that kind of presentation on its website probably convinces enough shoppers to purchase something, so anybody who enters a bookstore with that sort of “god, so many books” feeling will probably take comfort in this approach.
2015-11-04 08_47_09-Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar store_ One big ad for the Amazon app _ Ars Techn

Nice magazine stand, but what’s this to the left?
Yet Amazon isn’t just interested in offering a comfortable, curated book-buying experience. It also wants to whack everybody over the head with its rapidly expanding empire of devices and content-delivery ecosystems. Everywhere you turn, you’ll find a Fire TV demo, or a table dedicated to Fire tablets, or the bonkers “read the book, listen to the book, watch the book” display—you know, in case you didn’t know that Amazon is ready to supply you with the audiobook and film versions of any hit franchise you can think of.

A few tables were dedicated to Amazon Echo, which we found hilarious, given that the white noise in the store was so loud, you couldn’t hear robo-Alexa’s spoken responses. Whenever Amazon Books turns on its speakers—they will exclusively play music from Amazon Prime Music—those demos will prove harder to hear.

Ultimately, the current version of Amazon Books is too busy, loud, and gadget-loaded to foster any traditional “let’s hang out at the bookstore to read and chat” experience. If you would rather think of the shop as a showroom for the Amazon products that have never been sold at big-box retailers like Best Buy or Wal-Mart, then that’s a whole ‘nother story—but, then, why call the place “Amazon Books?”

Listing image by Sam Machkovech

Don’t put your phone away just yet

We did manage to find a book we wanted pretty painlessly, but the shopping process was a different story. The first sign you see upon entering Amazon Books tells customers that all book prices in the store are the same as at Amazon.com, but you’ll have to dig a bit to find the more informative sign: that the prices on the books themselves are not the real price. You’ll need to scan any book in the store to see how much it costs.

Most of the signs encourage customers to download Amazon’s official app—without directing them specifically to either Google Play or the iOS App Store—and then tap that app’s camera icon to scan a barcode, either on the book itself or on an Amazon Books description tag. We brought a friend along for this Amazon Books visit, and we both all ran into repeated scanning errors, which we chalked up to first-day technical distress.

The store’s few dedicated scanning kiosks worked without a hitch, but most of the store’s signs didn’t mention these kiosks, and we didn’t notice them until after about 10 minutes of organically sniffing around the store. Amazon clearly wants its shoppers to get the app, scan with the app, and perhaps even notice that the app does a good job of recognizing the covers of books. Most brick-and-mortar stores have suffered greatly with savvier shoppers using their phones to price-compare, and instead of shying away, Amazon Books trains customers to do that very thing within its own ecosystem.

Which is exactly what we didn’t want to do at a bookstore. We wanted to put our phones away—to get away from glowing screens for a bit—and bury our noses in books. And in some ways, Amazon Books lets customers do that by giving us a screen-free shortcut to seeing some of the Internet’s most recommended, most highly reviewed books, only to yank that feeling away as soon as we want to suss out our buying budget. (This is doubly annoying when trying to get a few books, since that requires juggling a shopping bag, the current book you’re interested in, and a smartphone.)

2015-11-04 08_47_57-Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar store_ One big ad for the Amazon app _ Ars Techn
Fine, Amazon, I’ll buy one of your recommended graphic novels. I do love me some Paul Pope.

There was also the odd matter of how much we interacted with humans. Amazon Books, in some ways, is designed to be a book-loving introvert’s dream: every book has a quote and a sales pitch, and every category shelf has been curated as if to say, “This is just like book stores of old! Look, some recommendations that are tailored for specific kinds of readers! You people used to love this stuff.” Yet when we wanted to see about a specific book being in stock at the store, we couldn’t find any kiosk or app function to search locally, and that’s when we were told we needed to ask a human. (We asked this because we found a book that was a biography but not stocked in Amazon Books’ biography section—which we consider another issue with the shop’s whole “let us curate for you” philosophy.) When Amazon Books didn’t have something in stock, an employee informed us—with no sense of irony—that you don’t have to “special order” it like at other book stores. Just order it through Amazon! You have the app open already, right?
We’re not against talking to humans at all, but it hinted to a split-personality issue that will always arise when places like bookstores push total automation onto their customers. We’d rather have all of the information in front of us when we want to buy a book, and for some people, that means a gazillion unedited reviews, instant price quotes, instant computer-powered searches, and easy access to page samples. For others, that means a gazillion books to pick through, price tags, flippable books, and a single, obvious entity (usually a helpful staffer) to help us find what we want. Amazon Books fails by trying to split the difference—and by hiding the store’s real name, “Amazon Books, Apps, and Beyond.”

Signs Manufacturing Corporation | Storefront Signs, LED Signs and More

Outdoor Business Signs are a Must Have

Must Have Outdoor Business Signs And Banners For Any New Business

 

It’s 4:45 on a Friday afternoon and I’m in my office closing up. Most of my employees have left for the day and I can’t wait to start my weekend too. As I flip the OPEN sign to CLOSED and lock the front door suddenly it happens – the phone rings.

On the other end of the receiver is a panicked voice wanting to know if we are still open.

“Well…” I said.

They are having a Grand Opening tomorrow and they need signs. They just finished the store fit out, and they have a store marquee sign, but they need personalized outdoor signs.

I have been in the sign business over twenty-five years and I can’t tell you how many times someone has called wanting to order new business signs as an afterthought. Signs are not an afterthought – they are an integral part of your branding and marketing message. Outdoor business signs and banners are your public personae.

An open for business sign is your first impression.

first-impression

On my way home, as I approached her store’s location I noticed I had no clue as to what she sold inside. I was uncertain neither where to enter nor where to park. There were no signs! Once inside it was a different story. Her boutique store was amazing. It was clean, well-lit, with all new fixtures and there were all sorts of merchandise to browse.

“I can’t wait to tell my wife about this store”, I told her. “And without any outdoor signage, you may have to rely solely on word-of-mouth advertising.”

“Maybe I should just move my merchandise to the front lawn” she joked.

“I would love to help you, but on short notice I just don’t have the time to work on the proper branding that I am a firm believer of. But if you stop by my store first thing tomorrow morning I can have ready five must have outdoor business signs and banners for any new company”, I said.

sign-this-is-it

We were already behind schedule, so we had little time to waste. Outdoor signs should be planned out. Having the signs displayed several days before the event allows potential customers to make time to stop in and also generates word-of-mouth advertising. Taking the time to plan a grand opening event allows a sign designer the time to incorporate any logos or graphics that are included in your media or in-store signage. This also gives you time to inquire about any necessary permits for temporary signs.

I then shared with her the five types of business signs that are inexpensive and readily available for any grand opening event.

grand-openingGrand Opening Banners

Grand opening banners usually use big, bold eye-catching letters and bright attention-getting colors. I like the 36” x 96” size. Anything smaller doesn’t make a BIG impact and anything larger usually acts like a windsock and blows away. The banners are usually made out of a temporary vinyl canvas material, which makes them inexpensive, but the material doesn’t last very long outdoors.

The temporary banners are often attached with ropes and grommets, which are kind of difficult to make nice and neat. So make sure you get a grand opening banner that has the ropes hemmed through its top and bottom so it lifts the whole banner taunt when you tie it down and not rip at the corners. I don’t like the double-sided banners because you can see the ghost image from the other side. I try to get two single sided banners and place them out by the road and angle them towards the passing motorists. It works every time.

coroplastCoroplast Yard Signs

Coroplast yard signs are a great way to get short temporary messages strategically placed in view of passing motorists. I use the 18”H x 24”W size and use big letters with contrasting colors. I don’t like the larger size because they fold over or fall apart.

I keep these personalized outdoor signs very short and sometimes use them as ‘Burma Shave’ style. If you put too much on the coroplast sign then no one will read it. Don’t try to write a book and include a phone number and all that. Just a big, bold easy to read (and remember) message, like a discount, a free give away, or a new product line.

 

sidewalk-signSidewalk Signs

Sidewalk signs can be a very effective form of outdoor advertising for small businesses, particularly in high-traffic areas. Sidewalk signs are portable signs that can display posters, chalkboard messages or changeable letters. They are easy to move so you can strategically reposition them.

Most sidewalk signs are double sided and come with seven lines of four-inch changeable letters. Change your sidewalk sign message every 3-4 days. People are creatures of habit and drive or walk the same route each day so use this opportunity to build readership. You will increase readership by displaying your sidewalk sign consistently and rotating its message.

vinylpremBright Vinyl Window Lettering

Bright vinyl window lettering is used to make people aware of your business name and what you sell. Vinyl window lettering is the most cost effective form of advertising because customers who actually walk into your store and make a purchase can see it.

Retail storefront rent is expensive because it’s valuable. Maximize that value by using the vinyl window letters to promote your business. I use white or yellow vinyl letters because it’s the easiest color to read on glass. If you want to use a dark color like black, blue, or red then outline the vinyl with white to make it readable. I’ve tested different messages and learned that there isn’t one best message. The best thing to do is run different sales and messages to attract a wider clientele. You can also use small vinyl window lettering for store hours, address and phone numbers.

pennetsOpen Flags, Pennants and Balloons

Open flags, pennants and balloons are a great way to use motion to attract attention. Any event needs motion and energy to create an active atmosphere. Our eyes are attracted to motion and our brains manage by exception. Pennants are the triangular shaped flags that are sewn along a string. They are available in a wide range of colors and sizes and bring excitement to your location or event. I like the 12″ x 18″ Jumbo Poly Pennants because they are larger but still lightweight to jump around.

Message flags are those 36” x 60” red, white and blue panels with OPEN or GRAND OPENING spelled across them. I try to get the heavy all-weather 200-denier nylon material with durable lock stitch construction along the fly ends. The fly ends are where the flag takes the most wear. So have the fly ends reinforced with four rows of stitching to ensure your flag will be flying high for months to come.

Outdoor Business Signs to the Rescue

That next morning I arrived to my sign shop and fortunately had all of the items in-stock. I was able to create everything we had discussed. She arrived early to pickup her new outdoor business signs, then was off to grab some balloons and prepare for the grand opening.

On my way home later that afternoon I drove by and was happy to see the flags, balloons and signs out front of her store. The parking lot was full, and I noticed customers checking out the different signs. Thanks to the outdoor business signs and banners, you could easily tell that there was a grand opening event happening. This new business was off to a great start, and I took pride in the fact that I helped make that happen.

Original Article

Dallas Sign Company

Hackers in Atlanta Put Naked Man on LED Sign

Road signs are usually the target of hackers looking to get a little creative. They’ll hack into the road signs and put up messages about everything from zombie invasions to politically charged warnings. This time it was a private company that got hacked.

Naked Man on LED Sign

 

In May a hacker got into the billboard programming software of a company called Monumedia. They posted up an obscene image of a naked man (it gets worse than that, but for the purposes of this article let’s just say he was naked) on a billboard in Buckhead, Atlanta.

Shocking? Well, that’s what they’re going for.

As you may expect, some viewers were so upset by the image that they called the police. The police couldn’t really do anything about it other than try and find the owners and let them know they had to change the image.

The FBI was sent in to investigate and also determined that some other electronic LED signs owned by Yesco across the United States were also hacked.

As it turns out, security expert Dan Tentler has been trying to work with Yesco to secure their system as he has identified a clear loophole in their sign programming network that would allow this very incident. Yesco has turned him away.

Tentler has pointed out that Yesco, as well as many sign companies, use “cloud” software which keeps everything online, allowing their system to easily be hacked. Plus, they use very simplistic passwords that are easily bypassed.

Sunburst LED Signs has always steered clear of cloud software for several reasons.  One biggie is how easy they are to be hacked. The last thing a business needs is a vulgar display from an immature hacker on the front of its building!

Of course, the other reason to not use cloud software is that you are tied to that company. If you bought your sign from Yesco, and they go out of business, your sign is now worthless. Or what if they get on board with the Microsoft way of doing business and decide to start charging you $500/month to use their cloud? Now that sign that you bought and paid for is worthless, unless you pay them an additional $500/month.

Do your research, protect your systems, and make sure you go with a sign that isn’t going to one day have a naked man on it disgusting your potential customers and getting you in legal trouble.

Signs Manufacturing Corporation

Digital Sign Manufacturer Reviews

How Do The LED Billboard Companies Stack Up?

 

By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

The question is, “What do outdoor companies really think about each of the digital sign manufacturers?” A national billboard trade magazine surveyed experienced outdoor advertising company owners.  Here’s what they found:

Daktronics is generally regarded as a good LED product with very poor customer service. Because Daktronics deals with so many very large national accounts, if you are a small company you will not be treated well.  They also require ongoing upgrades to keep their signs functioning. Not a recommended vendor.

Watchfire is also regarded as having a good LED product but an awful sales force (we’ve had problems with them in the past as well). They have decent hardware and software. Technical support is responsive although not stellar by any means.

Formetco is considered a strong brand. Similar to Watchfire.

Yesco and Samsung focus on scoreboards and have poor sales and support of anything else. The hardware is sub-par and the software is poor quality as well.

Chinese manufacturers are terrible. Their claims are incorrect, they ship product that is different from what they sold, technical support doesn’t exist, signs ultimately end up much more expensive than what was bid, BUYER BEWARE!

Signs Manufacturing’s Sunburst Displays aren’t a big entry into the market … yet. But in the Dallas / Fort Worth / Denton metroplex of Texas they are one of the only manufacturers and can provide a turnkey solution with reliability, excellent customer service and accountability.

Dallas LED Digital Billboard Manufacturer