Update: Seattle joins state in sinking floating billboards

May 23, 2012

The state Transportation Department has torpedoed a proposal for floating billboards on Lake Washington in Seattle.

The company's owner said he'll pursue other Seattle waters. However, the Seattle Times reports the city of Seattle says no deal.

The state says trying to grab the attention of floating bridge drivers would violate the law that governs billboards along freeways — the 1971 Scenic Vistas Act. And, Bryan Stevens, customer-service director for the Seattle Department of Planning and Development told the Times that the city's ban extends halfway across the lake.

Dave McCormick, WSDOT’s Assistant Regional Administrator told KING 5 that “we’ve never really had anyone who wanted to advertise from a boat before.”  But he said, after reviewing a KING5 story on a plan to do just that, he believes the advertiser “can be cited for violating the law that governs billboards along freeways.”  State Law reads a violation could be punishable as a misdemeanor crime.

Advertising executive Darren Bruce said on his company’s blog that the floating signs can be placed “on oceans, lakes, golf course water hazards, and other various waterways.”

“We are excited to be the first to be bringing this new form of outdoor advertising to the Pacific Northwest” Bruce, owner of the company iAM, said in the blog post.

Bruce told the Seattle television station that he may try to float his billboards on Lake Union in Seattle or along a Puget Sound beach.

Nothing new here ...

Floating billboards are not new to cities on the water. Here's an ad for the idea in Maimi

In Ocean City, Md., one company makes this promise:

"Using a brand new, large-format floating billboard, Coastal Ad’s pulls your message up and down the packed, Ocean City beach-line. Imagine your message slowly passing back and forth on a beautiful summer day, in front of thousands and thousands of impressionable beach goers with money to spend…"

Here’s a digital floating billboard in Shanghai that might just give you a seizure … if you were floating by on a peaceful day:

KING 5's story: