IBAA Meeting In Grand Rapids

September 5, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Indoor Billboard Advertising Association is bringing its annual conference to town this week.

The gathering will bring owners of about 30 media companies to Grand Rapids from throughout the United States and Canada from Thursday through Sunday.

The host company is the IBAA’s local member, JOHNNYAdvertising, located at 820 Monroe Ave. NW.

IBAA’s president, David Turner — the founder of Grand Rapids-based JOHNNYAdvertising — said he was pleased to bring the convention to the community.

“For many,” he said, “this will be their first visit to our city, and I’m certain that they’ll be impressed with the entertainment options and first-rate venues here making this a viable market to include in regional and national client advertising schedules. ”

Steve Wilson of the Grand Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau notes that with the completion of DeVos Place this winter he expects to see more organizations such as the IBAA with international membership choosing Grand Rapids for their conference sites.

Kevin Halle, IBAA’s past president said, “I think our members will be impressed with Grand Rapids. 

“The city has stadiums, arenas and restaurants equal to those found in much larger cities, and the proximity to Lake Michigan adds a lifestyle element not found everywhere.”

The IBAA is composed of 34 independent firms that sell, design, post and maintain indoor advertising in restrooms throughout the nation.

One of the topics certain to be under discussion among the media owners if not actually on the conference agenda is a surprising recent finding in an e-survey conducted among women in North America.

Basically, the survey revealed that 54 percent of women — stressed by the scarcity of facilities in women’s restrooms — have resorted to using men’s restrooms.

The survey also indicated that 80 percent of women have considered doing so.

IBAA employed RK Public Relations LLP in Chicago to conduct the survey, an annual poll to help member firms make informed promotional decisions.

Whether the finding will have any immediate influence in IBAA members’ display advertising business decisions is an open question.

The association’s firms certainly have a broad market. According to Turner, thefirms present more than 185,000 indoor billboards in venues throughout the United States and Canada.

Formed in 1998, the association serves as a vehicle to unify and standardize the industry.

Major clients using IBAA media are Proctor & Gamble, General Motors, ABC TV, Warner Brothers, USA Network, FOX Sports, Motorola, Wisk, Skyy Spirits, Bacardi, Heineken, Molson and Amstel Light.

JOHNNYAdvertising, founded in Grand Rapids in 1996, operates more than 10,000 indoor billboards strategically placed in restrooms of high traffic venues such as movie theaters, arenas, stadiums, shopping centers, popular pubs, restaurants and entertainment facilities. 

Turner said the firm also reaches Ft. Wayne, Lafayette, Bloomington, Evansville and Indianapolis, in Indiana, plus Peoria, Ill., and Greater St. Louis, astride the Illinois-Missouri line.

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