Monday, April 27, 2009

Bales Are the New Billboards

I read somewhere recently that "cellphones are the new billboards." This may be true in some parts of the world, but in rural Alberta the bale of hay is giving cellphone ads a run for their money.

That's right. Bales of hay. Apparently, in the regions surrounding Calgary, it's actually bales that are the new billboards.

Shelagh McNally, chief of marketing at Big Rock Brewery, is the brain behind this growing phenomenon. The idea is simple: make the hay look like a giant can of Big Rock's Traditional Ale. The first "adver-bales" went up about a year ago, and now there are more than 90 beer bales dotting the province.

McNally smartly put a U.S. patent on the idea (which uses lace-up plastic sheeting to surround the bale and give the beer can effect) and is now reaping the benefits. The adver-bales cost about $600 each, far cheaper than the traditional billboard. And they last forever.

Except in one instance. “Well, we had a cow eat one once,” Ms. McNally says. Hah!