Businesses looking to make an impression in the City of Montebello and its surrounding area will now have the opportunity to advertise on the city’s buses. The Montebello Bus Lines will now carry advertisements on their 50 buses, which run from Montebello to Downtown Los Angeles.
Montebello’s City Manager Francesca Tucker-Schuyler is running the in-house pilot program, which is said to last at least six months.
“We’re just beginning this so we’ll see how it goes,” Tucker said. “It’s going to take some time to get the logistics.”
The city got advice and guidance from the City of Santa Monica, which runs their own in-house advertising with their city buses. Montebello did not previously have advertising on their buses because of the time and workload the program would require, said Tucker.
“Many cities have ads on their buses, Montebello just got delayed in getting it going because of other pressing issues,” said Tucker.
Montebello has also been struggling with multi-year budget deficits and was the subject of several audits into its handling of federal housing funds, both by the state and the federal housing agency. The city was also unable for a time to fill some key city administrative positions on a permanent basis, including the job of city manger. Like other cities throughout California, it has been looking for ways to increase revenue resources, and to attract new businesses and customers to the city.
The Shops at Montebello, a retail mall, was the first to advertise on the Montebello bus lines, and currently has seven ads running on the city’s buses. Sam Carpenter, the Director of Marketing and Business for the shopping center, says they plan to continue advertising on the buses and he personally feels the program will be a success.
“We are happy to be a part of it,” Carpenter said. “When you market a shopping center, transit advertising is a important component of that.”
The city eventually hopes to attract national brands and while they are not precluding non-profits from advertising, the program is geared more towards business, said Tucker.
“If you look at the other buses they are advertising movies, you see Coca Cola,” Tucker said. “Eventually we will be reaching out to all these entities.”
Getting started will not cost the city much since it is using its own personnel to run the program, Tucker said, although the city did not calculate how much revenue the ad service could bring in. The cost of advertising on the buses will vary and will be based on the size of the ad.
“Frankly, we didn’t survey,” Tucker says. “It’s like anything new, you don’t know until you try.”
If the pilot is a success, the city may choose to hire an outside agency to continue to run the advertising program.