Taking hi-tech advertising to the regions

VAST Billboards is a dynamic new player on New Zealand’s outdoor digital billboard landscape, with a commitment to making this medium accessible to businesses of all sizes – without compromising location or technology.

A commitment to both industry-leading technology and accessibility is what makes Christchurch’s VAST Billboards a unique and interesting new player in the outdoor digital billboard advertising market.

As Managing Director Grant Moreton says: “VAST can provide the same service as a bigger player, while staying true to our core values of being able to look after small to medium-sized businesses.

“Our goal is to make digital billboard marketing accessible to a wider audience without compromising on service or technology.”

To help create opportunities for smaller businesses to try billboard advertising, VAST Billboards is building a network of digital billboards in high-profile locations around regional New Zealand, in places like Ashburton and Invercargill.

“We see a good opportunity to develop a niche in the regions, building a good network with quality structures in good locations, and we have been able to work with a lot of small to medium businesses that thought outdoor billboard advertising was out of their budgets,” Moreton says.

The secret to their success has been surprising new customers with their commitment to their company’s goals and optimal customer service.

“With smaller operators, offering lower cost you might expect to find the technology isn’t up-to-date or the locations aren’t great,” Moreton says. “But we have been very mindful of that. We’re using all the latest technology.  Our locations are relevant and we hear time and time again from customers who appreciate how fast we respond and the great results they’ve had from their campaigns.”

Though the company’s billboards in places like Ashburton have been snapped up by large agency advertising clients there are great success stories from local businesses like local cafes, real estate agents and contractors who have also taken up the opportunity to connect with their local community in a new way.

Grant Moreton.

“The local real estate agents are getting really good feedback. And some of the local contracting companies have been using the billboards to find staff, and they’re getting great results.

“It’s a totally new way for some of those businesses to communicate with the community. Traditionally in some of those regions, they’ve had to rely on the newspaper or radio.”

“They’re really enjoying the opportunity to grow and promote their businesses.”

Looking ahead

Though business is humming at its existing locations, growth is a big part of VAST Billboard’s immediate plans, the company is on target to have an estimated 35 installations around the country within the next 12 months.

That includes growth into Auckland, where the company has just appointed an account manager. Moreton says the approach in Auckland will be similar to the approach in the rest of the country – maximising opportunities at the billboard’s locale.

“As a result of Covid there have been fewer people in the centre of Auckland, with people spending more time in areas where they live, like Manukau or West Auckland. I think that post-covid there will be a lot of opportunity in some of those areas,” he says.

“I think our values around pricing and customer relationships mean we’ll be able to develop quite a niche market for ourselves in the North Island, going forward.”

The company is also embedding itself into New Zealand’s out of home advertising sector with memberships to the Out of Home Media Association of Aotearoa (OOHMAA) and IAB. VAST has also partnered with Seedooh verification and is thrilled to be working in partnership with SHOUT Media. 

These partnerships help the company build trust and faith with customers, Moreton says. “We are fresh faces in this industry which gives us an advantage, but we also understand we have to take time to build trust and relationships.”

Though it is a relative newcomer to the digital billboard market, the company does have a strong history working on digital advertising solutions for New Zealand’s tourism sector. When Covid impacted that sector, Moreton saw an opportunity to springboard into developing a broader digital billboard business that is also able to supply LED advertising products.

The team also has a sister business Media Metro, installing digital advertising equipment in Fiji with advertising availability. The combination makes VAST Billboards an appealing option for larger scale businesses wanting broader Pacific coverage, Moreton says.

The VAST Billboards team has also grown to seven, but remains a kiwi-owned and operated business, with family at its core. Grant’s wife Louise Moreton is the finance director, and daughter Ivana Moreton is involved with operations and is a company account manager.

“We are a tier-two operator. We’re not going to be the size of a JCD or Mediaworks, but we’re one of the larger second tier operators and that gives us some advantages.

“We’re able to work closely with our customers. We’re able to check in with them regularly and can work with them to fit their budget to make sure they get what they want from a campaign.

“We are hiring great people who are able to engage with customers and make decisions on the spot, which also helps customers feel valued.

“Our philosophy is to keep things simple for our customers and get them results.”

For media enquiries, contact Ivana Moreton via email [email protected] or 027 92 10792

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