In 2000, we installed a 7 x 64 matrix, approx. 4’ tall x 36.5’ wide, 48” tall character, one line message center at our Flying J location in Williams, Iowa. It was a big bulb unit, and was essentially a large one-line monochrome message center. (See ‘Before’ photo above). The main disadvantage of this was that it was difficult to communicate a message to drivers. The message had to move very quickly across the sign. You were by the exit before even half of the message would move across it. This was largely ineffective.
In 2009, we replaced this sign with a more rectangular (11’1” x 18’) full-color message center from YESCO Electronics. (See ‘After’ photo above.) We were looking for increased visibility given our proximity to the roadway. One of the things we wanted was for someone to recognize a logo or an image, instead of just reading the words.
The new sign showed images, allowing us to communicate more information in a shorter period of time. Plus, the changing images helped attract eyeballs to the sign.
We found it was important to be able to display a complete static message. Even if a driver couldn’t fully read everything on screen, at least they’d have their eyes drawn to the sign.
Our old sign was quite bright both day and night. This was a problem, because at night it was harder to read. The new sign was more than bright enough in the daytime, but dimmed so it was readable at night.
The new YESCO full-color message center brought the ‘WOW’ factor to our store. The images really did pop. Now we could put logos of Doritos or Lays on the sign, and people would recognize this. Now people could actually see a ‘2 for 1’ item.
We found that messages were more palatable with color. We would experiment around with different colored backgrounds, and different items did sell better depending on the color we put up. Color drove buying behavior.
We found we really needed additional inventory of items that we displayed as ‘on sale’. If we put a message up that Monster Dogs were ½ off between 2 PM and 5 PM, we’d see sales double or triple. And once we got them in our store, they’d spend money on other food, snack or beverage items that weren’t on sale. Our average sales of ‘inside’ items to each in-store visitor were impacted significantly once the color sign went up. If we just put a message up that was relevant to the interstate traveller we were able to generate results.
The results of the new color high-rise sign were strong enough that we were able save money on other advertising. We not only stopped our nearby billboard advertising, but also found we could drop use of billboards 5-10 miles down the road. This saved us thousands of dollars a month.
YESCO’s color message center was so valuable, we relocated it to another location when we recently sold this truck stop
Chief Executive Officer