As schools grappled with how to hold virtual graduation ceremonies amid COVID-19, many administrators and local businesses teamed up to give graduates a send-off using digital billboards and signs, according to Watchfire Signs, a provider of exterior and interior LED signs and digital billboards.
In Jesup, Georgia, a city with just over 10,000 residents, Wayne County High School celebrated its 300-plus graduates on the county’s digital billboards. Signatronics, which owns the double-sided billboards, matched the ad buy, according to Watchfire.
“The students loved seeing their name and photo on the billboard, and we also were able to post the graduate’s plans after high school,” says Susan DeLeGal, the owner of Signatronics.
Each graduate’s photo and information ran three to four times a day for 10 days. The school plans to repeat the ads in July when it hopes to host traditional graduation.
Dayton, Ohio-based Key Ads was also approached by local high schools to run ads congratulating graduates. Beavercreek High School ran the names of more than 600 graduates, while a digital billboard in another location ran ads for each of Springboro High School’s 500 seniors, including their portraits.
“Running that many different ads really wasn’t difficult,” comments Camryn Newsom, graphic designer at Key Ads. “We set up an XML sheet that had the student data and images, and then scheduled the feed to rotate through the data.”
Students appeared on the Key Ads billboards four times a day for two weeks, which gave family and friends time to drive by and view the names and portraits.
An enterprising auto dealer near Syracuse, New York, used his three Watchfire electronic message centers to display senior photos of graduates from nearby Cicero-North Syracuse High School. The dealership ran pictures of nearly 600 seniors, along with their names.
Families pulled up in the parking lots surrounding the auto mall to see their graduates’ names in lights, honking, and cheering for each student.
Digital billboards and message centers are so flexible that last-minute ideas such as these can quickly become a reality. Once the display owners have the names and photos of students, programming is simple. The software rotates through the messages, so they can set it and forget it.