Outdoor advertising can include benches, backs of buses, trains, and billboards, but bridge banners can be the most cost-effective method.

These types of banners hang on pedestrian and roadway bridges than span busy roadways, fastened to railings with wire, and are widely used by event planners to advertise special events, fundraisers, community gatherings, sports registrations, school events, and more.

Bridge banners are generally printed on plastic, so that they’re weatherproof, using graphic files sent to the printer by the client or designed by an in-house graphics specialist. The size of the banner should be determined by the size of the roadway that it will span. Generally, a 14 foot-long banner should be adequate so that drivers proceeding under the bridge deck can read the message easily and quickly.

Promoting with banners

The size of the message, or lettering on the banner, can often be dictated by the municipal body that approves permits to hang bridge banners, if applicable in the client’s area of the country. For example, in Calgary, Alberta, bridge banner approval is handled by the city roads department. Characters along the top row of the message must be at least eight inches tall. A minimum size for graphics on the banner is also dictated by the by-law concerning bridge banners. This ensures that all banners hung over roadways can be read easily so that drivers are not distracted and do not have their eyes off the road for long. The fewer words on the banner, the better. The name of the event, the date, a website address, and a logo are recommended. Phone numbers are often too hard for people to read and memorize.

Banners are generally approved over a short period and permits must be applied for within a certain number of months of when the client wants to hang them. Often, the permit number must be printed or written on the back of the banners, and clients are allowed up to a certain number of banners in locations throughout the city. So, for a charity walk or run, for example, which may be held on June 1st, banners are generally hung to advertise the event for a period prior to that.

Securing banners

Banners are designed by the print company with grommets, and the banners must be strung up on bridge decks with wire, with both ends secured using nuts and a u-bolt. Banners can be secured with plastic zip-ties while the wire is woven through the grommets.
Those wishing to consider using banners on bridge decks to advertise events, registrations, or awareness weeks should check to see if permits are required in their area. It’s also important to note that, when applying for a permit, a sample of the artwork for the banner is generally required.

The cost of banner printing, in colour with grommets, can vary from printer to printer. No matter the price quoted, it’s a safe bet that bridge banners are more affordable than outdoor billboards or bus benches, particularly when used to promote a particular event or cause when a deadline or specific date is being promoted. They should be a part of a good mix of event marketing strategies.