When will billboards be facing the sky?

I mean, with the various combo satellite/road map websites out there, and the frequency with which satellite imagery of popular areas is refreshed, when are businesses with large buildings going to go the extra mile and print their name and logo on the roof?
Seriously! It’s already well established in SecondLife. There are plenty of businesses who’ve already done it, usually on a sloped roof that can be seen from nearby hills or roads; it’s an old tradition going back to Burma-shave days and earlier.
My question is: when will someone setup a billboard or advertising consultancy that specializes in this stuff? Proper fonts, best way to adapt logos to be visible from satellites, astrophysical analysis of common photo satellite orbits and the best way to position the sign, etc. etc.
This isn’t just “first mover” advertising hype, either – although I’m sure that’s worth a sale or two as well. Think about the last time you used Google Maps (or anyone else) to find directions to some new Big Box Store. The directions say to take the highway to “Commerce Way”, sure, that’s informative. But checking out the satellite view, there are no fewer than 3 Big Box Stores, one major mall, and three mini-malls all along Commerce Way. Imagine how cool it would be to recognize the logo to Big Box Store on the roof of the right building, perhaps with an arrow pointing to the side of the building with the main entrance, so you can plan where to park!
Whoever it is, I want in on the business. Given that I’m not doing the footwork to find my own VC, I’m willing to take services-in-kind in exchange of an equity stake. It’d be an interesting market, especially if since you could probably get away with a lot to start with, since most community’s billboard regulations probably wouldn’t trip you up, since it’d only be visible from the sky.
Bonus tip for coatings manufacturers who team up with imagery specialists: if you could figure out the right paints (that reflect well at a distance, but not up close), it’d be wicked cool to paint the logo on the entire parking lot. A bit tricky to get coatings that wouldn’t obscure the parking lines for drivers, but that would pop out in a satellite image of the parking lot. Darn, wish I were in manufacturing, that’d be worth a patent.

4 thoughts on “When will billboards be facing the sky?

  1. I guess I just don’t understand accounting. Paying one time capital costs for a roof billboard you own seems smarter to me than paying monthly fees to a variety of mapping companies to provide the ads. But I’m sure there are accounting rules somewhere that make it ‘cheaper’ to do it the other way.

    In terms of taste, who cares, since communities already have ground-visible billboard regulations (as well as height-of-building), and otherwise you can only see it in a satellite mapping program.

    Now your grass-roots idea has merit. Who can we get to pull together enough technology to get some activist group to try it out?

  2. But are other sky-boards as “tasteful” in Second Life as my own? 🙂 I did the ones for IBM and Lotus. Initially there was a lot of internal reservations about “spamming the sky”. But I put one up “provisionally” to show that it could be done in a reasonably, respectful and enhancing way.
    I’m not sure I trust people in real life to be as diligent.
    For advertising, it’s probably cheaper to pay off the mapping companies to overlay the images with ads rather than build roof structures.
    But, then, think of the protest potential! A grass roots campaign to canvass and encourage voters in a particular area to add roof marquis. Each address could be given out an appropriate color for their pixel to slowly spell out “I’m with stupid” on a big sign pointing at the White House or something. The human eyes is really good at filling in the blanks on patterns. I wonder what saturation level you would need…

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