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“PRAY FOR WUHAN”—was the digital display on EDSA which earned mixed emotions among Filipinos. In bold glaring red letters, bearing the Chinese symbol representing the nation’s flag, the display took place in December during the height of the outbreak at Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the Covid-19 virus.
Many Filipinos speculated that it must be government-sponsored, with the current administration’s affinity with the Chinese government. Some said a high-ranking official or a big-time Chinese business owner must have initiated or paid for it. Many Pinoys were disappointed that Wuhan or the Chinese in general had earned sympathy among our kababayans, whereas no one has dared to put up a signage for the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption in Batangas. Not even the devastating super typhoon Yolanda has earned a message of cheers for the people of Eastern Visayas, they argued.
For ALVIN CARRANZA, PRESIDENT & CEO of Digital Out-of-Home Philippines (DOOH PH), staging the digital message was a-spur-of-the-moment thing.“We thought of mounting it during the free hours of our digital signage service simply because China was in distress and was the center of news that time. So I said let’s do it,” he said.
“It was not sponsored at all and we did it during free airtime,” he added. If there is one lesson he learned from this incident, is the fact that, digital signages are proven effective. Because of this, Alvin and his partners decided to donate more free airtime for government announcements, charity and other messages of great importance for the Filipino people specially in challenging times like this amid the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic. Nowadays, if you see updates on the enhanced community quarantine or Luzon’s state of calamity such as announcements, important phone numbers, contact persons and the like, it must be the free airtime from DOOH PH, which currently has 3,700 platform sites in the metro.
A start-up traditional business
Carranza ventured into billboard advertising at the young age of 18, back when ads were hand-painted. With P5,000 start-up capital, his first billboard site was along the North Luzon Expressway. Yet on his second year in business, he got swindled with his second billboard site in Manila, making him resign from business and focus on his studies instead.
But perhaps destined for the big time, he got a call from Dunkin’ Donuts offering a billboard project in Manila. From then on, he was hooked on the business of billboards at a time when everything had to be painted manually.
Come the age of neon billboards, Carranza incorporated MacGraphics Carranz, with Unilever’s Close-Up Toothpaste as its big client at the time, with billboards posted along the Guadalupe Bridge in Makati City. Consequently, Carranza ventured into the restaurant business by putting up Café Lupe, a restaurant under big billboards so you can ‘wine and diner under the signs’, which was their tagline at the time.
World-class photographic posters and spectacular neon displays
For almost three decades now, Digital Out-of-Home Philippines continues to serve advertisers and clients with the same passion it was founded in the ’80’s.
From its humble beginnings, DOOH PH has emerged as one of the leading billboard companies in the Philippines, supplying the billboard requirements to several major advertisers. From the traditional painted billboard, DOOH PH now boasts of world-class and larger-than-life photographic posters, and spectacular neon displays.
“Today, we have evolved into a homegrown LED billboard provider through my latest enterprise, Digital Out-of-Home Philippines, which has grown to become one of the foremost billboard companies in the country,” he said.
The company further boasts of having the largest billboard display area, once tagged by a local broad sheet as “The Mother of All Billboards”, strategically located at the heart of EDSA Guadalupe. This 34,200 square-foot billboard display area was considered the biggest in the country, and possibly all of Southeast Asia at the time. The site has been proven to be the most sought-after billboards spaces among major advertisers.
As outdoor advertising increasingly become a vital part of mainstream advertising in the Philippines, DOOH PH offers a distinct market presences in an environment uninterrupted by editorial and programming content.
With its recent contract signing with San Miguel Corp.’s infrastructure arm, DOOH PH has become the exclusive billboard operator of ad spaces along South Luzon Expressway, Metro Manila Skyway, STAR Tollway and NAIA Expressway as well as augmenting its existing portfolio of static and digital billboard spots along NLEX, EDSA, C-5, Ortigas Avenue and Shaw Boulevard.
Did Alvin imagine his business to be this big?
“Of course, like other businesses I wanted to go big time. That’s why when I was given the opportunity with the Dunkin’ Donut project, I made sure to do it right. There was no turning back since then,” he said.
“Looking back at setting up the business, LED billboard providers was difficult. But with any kind of work that you’re passionate about, you won’t focus on the difficult areas and it won’t feel like work,” he added.
More than just billboards
For Alvin, out-of-home media is more than just billboards. “Our products and services are derived from the needs of advertisers and consumers themselves. Products include billboard site locations, street furniture, large format printing, various signages and LED displays. Services include installation, fabrication, conceptualization, lay-outing and media-planning. In a nutshell, Out-of-Home advertising is thinking outside the box,” he said.
This alone is the reason why MacGraphics Carranz is one of the leaders in the industry. DOOH PH ensures that marketing media continues to become progressing and effective through their various platforms.
“We are confident that in becoming our clients’ Out-of-Home Media partner, their branding presence will be further solidified,” Alvin said.
What is his secret in this line of business?
“Be honest with your partners, clients and especially to yourself. If you’ve committed a mistake, the quickest way to rectify the damage is to admit this to yourself and try to find a solution from there. Covering it up won’t work,” Alvin concluded.