Start-up Road Runner Gets Financing To Roll Out DOOH Network On Fleet Vehicles

February 23, 2021 by Dave Haynes

I suppose if a taxi or ride-share service can puts ad screens on top of vehicles, it stands to reason the same media model could be applied to vehicles in commercial fleets, putting screens on the back-access doors of cargo vans.

Road Runner Media, a DOOH startup based in Orange County (LA), has a financing deal to spend as much as $62.5 million on a national network of screens on vehicles used by service and delivery companies in the U.S.

The interesting wrinkle is the “Vehicle Operational Indicator” set-up – with the screens tied into vehicle indicators like braking and turn signals, dynamically switching out of ad mode when a driver does something like hit the brakes.

“Road Runner was founded to improve safety and reduce accidents on the roads while at the same time providing brand marketers with a new opportunity to reach and engage target audiences on the go with high impact graphics and messaging,” says Randall Lanham, Founder and Chairman, Road Runner Media. “With an aligned financing partnership, our technology patented, and several new partnerships in the pipeline, we are eager and excited to continue building our brand and enhancing our presence in major markets across the country.”

Improving safety is a nice spin-off outcome, but this network would have been founded to make money selling ad space to brands. I am guessing there’d be a debate about whether big screens on the back of panel van are effective in safety warnings, or act as a distraction. It is somebody else’s worry.

You see taxi-topper screens in many US cities and cube trucks rolling up and down the main drags of places like Vegas that have LED billboards bolted on them, so there are precedents in terms of getting past local bylaws and people upset about distractions.

The PR says:

When affixed to the back of commercial vehicles, Road Runner’s screens act as a digital brake light, enhancing vehicle and road safety by alerting drivers when the vehicle operator brakes, selects turn signals, reverses, or activates emergency flashers.

When the vehicle is in motion and vehicle operations messages are inactive, the digital screens display brand advertising with messages that can be triggered by point of interest using GPS, day part and relevance to surrounding vehicles and pedestrians.

Road Runner’s network is active, with 150 screens in Atlanta, Boulder, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Washington, D.C. comes online in March.

The company can do hyper-local ad targeting based on location, and also works with Amber Alerts and public safety alert systems.

Putting screens on rolling stock like taxis and rail cars, even elevator cabs, has been done for years, so it IS possible to put an LCD screen on something that’s rolling, fast-braking and hitting potholes and curbs all day long. But it’s a technical SOB.

“With our patented technology, expanding national reach, audience targeting and measurement capabilities, along with sunlight readable ruggedized, high-resolution digital LCD screens, we are offering brands a new opportunity to engage consumers in a relevant way throughout their daily journey while at the same time making America’s roads safer,” says Chris Riley, Road Runner’s CEO.

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