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Complex three-dimensional billboard tells a holiday tale

Pat Patera

A hapless homeowner hanging Christmas

lights tumbles headlong down a ladder, twined

in a tangle of bulbs. But he won’t fall far

because he’s bolted to the steel infrastructure

of a billboard.

And he’s not a man, but a mannequin.

The three-dimensional sign at Moana and

Highway 395 advertising a

service of Reno Lawn and

Landscaping was devised

by Ding Communications of

Reno and hung by Clear

Channel Outdoor.

“We did a nationwide

search to find the mannequin.

We put out a casting

call from coast to coast,”

says Greg Fine, principal

and creative director at

Ding Communications.

“But when he arrived, he

came in parts; we had to bolt him together

Frankenstein style.”

The next step for Ding was to get their

man on the ladder and to ensure he wouldn’t

blow off in a high wind.

“Clear Channel put their best engineering

group on it,” says Fine.

Pete Mack, operations manager at Clear

Channel says the board, which measures 14

feet by 48 feet with an extended top and a 65-

square-foot roof extension, is the first of its

type in the Reno area.

The Christmas lights, powered by the

board’s illumination source, are just the same

as strings used to decorate homes for the holidays.

While attaching the extensions to the top

of the board is fairly common, says Mack, the

crew had to bolt the sculptural elements to the

steel members of the billboard itself.

A job that normally takes a crew of three

half an hour took a day and a half.

The man-falling-off-a-ladder scenario

nails the reason homeowners hire out the job

of stringing Christmas lights, says Fine.

And despite a downturn in the economy,

Lebo Newman, chief executive officer of

Signature Landscaping, says,”We’ve seen good

returns on renewals. It’s more of a safety

issue.”

Signature Landscapes LLC, a commercial

grounds keeping company that serves the residential

market as Reno Lawn and

Landscaping, bought a Christmas Decor franchise

in 1997.

“We were looking for something for our

guys to do in the winter,” says Newman. Each

year it completes about 450 holiday lighting

jobs. In past years, direct mail and radio spots

advertised the service. But as the direct mail

load increases, he says,”We thought we’d try

something new.”

However, due to the economic downturn,

the company this year lowered its minimum

package price. Jobs start at $400 and range to

$8,000 for the largest client. The average holiday

decorating job costs $1,200, says Newman.

Three years ago Christmas Decor expanded

the service to commercial buildings such as

offices and model homes, and that, says

Newman, has proven to yield the largest

clients.


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