Louisiana Health System’s Digital Billboard Strategy Gives New Meaning to “Owned Media”

December 16, 2020

// By Althea Fung //

Switching from renting to owning digital billboards gave Willis-Knighton Health System ultimate control over messaging.

Do you read billboards when you’re driving? If you do, you’re not alone. According to the 2019 Nielsen out-of-home advertising study, eight out of 10 Americans consciously look at billboard messages. As technology evolves, more and more advertisers turn to digital billboards — a computer-controlled display that shows advertisements on a rotating basis — to draw the attention of drivers and pedestrians alike.

For health care organizations like Willis-Knighton Health System (WK), digital billboards serve as a unique opportunity to communicate to consumers at the point of service.

James K. Elrod, president and CEO of Willis-Knighton Health System

James K. Elrod, president and CEO, Willis-Knighton Health System

“WK has maintained a significant out-of-home media presence since the 1970s when we became the first hospital in the state of Louisiana to use billboards,” says James K. Elrod, president and CEO of Willis-Knighton, a Shreveport, Louisiana health system consisting of five hospitals, a comprehensive retirement community, and numerous general and specialty medical clinics.

In 2008, Willis-Knighton began using digital billboards to advertise. Nine years later, Elrod and his executive team decided to take the leap from billboard renters to owners.

“Reflecting on the excellent roadway visibility of our campuses, we believed that opportunities existed for us to place digital billboards on our properties. This would permit us to present advertising messages in immediate proximity to points of service and, courtesy of ownership, place control of given message platforms directly in our hands,” he says.

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