When Julie De Souza and her husband and business partner Jonnathan Trilleras decided to relocate their LED Truck Media company from Miami, Florida, to San Diego (with a short stint in Los Angeles in between) late last year, the driver — pun intended — was to penetrate a market that didn’t currently have a significant mobile billboards industry.
As a result, LED Truck Media, founded in 2018 and headquartered in Kensington, has grown its business by 37% since October, and De Souza predicts revenue will increase by 45% by end of year.
Funded through personal investment, leases and loans, LED Truck Media was birthed when De Souza and Trilleras, who owned a marketing and business development company in Miami, were introduced to LED Trucks by a family friend.
He was working for a company that manufactured the trucks and allowed De Souza to use one for a test run during one of their contracted marketing campaigns. The response was so great, said De Souza, that the two decided they’d pack their bags and find a city that hadn’t yet been impacted by the modern advertising approach and be one of the first to introduce the mobile billboards there.
This brought the pair and their 1-year-old daughter to Los Angeles, and, after being turned off by traffic and congestion there, to San Diego shortly after.
“While in L.A., we had two campaigns pop up in San Diego,” said 35-year-old De Souza, adding that most people find the company when searching for LED truck media companies due to LED Truck Media’s heavy investment in SEO (search engine optimization). “My husband came to see (about) the campaign and he came back to L.A. and said, ‘we need to move to San Diego. The city is beautiful and we can do business down there.’ Three months later, we were here.”
More Than 50 Trucks
Since setting up shop locally, De Souza said LED Truck Media, one of two major LED truck media companies in the county, has grown its operation vastly.
It now has over 50 trucks in its nationwide network and 30 drivers throughout the country, four of which are in California, she said. LED has also entered four new markets since the move, De Souza said, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego, and has increased its client base by 48%.
For the service, clients pay $175/hour, she said, which includes running images or videos with sounds on the LED screens on each side of the trucks and a stagnant image on the back, all powered by a generator located inside.
The trucks also have an experiential aspect to them, said De Souza, in that they have roulette games that allows anyone that gets close to the truck to send their name and phone number in for a chance to win a prize. That is followed by a text message sent to the winner with information on their wins and where to collect their prize. This is yet another way in which LED Truck Media collects data, she said.
Its clients include anyone from CBD companies to conventions to politicians, she said. In fact, the first few campaigns LED Truck Media ran after moving its offices to San Diego were for congress and for the mayor, said De Souza, with more political runs already on the schedule.
The clients submit their artwork of choice or they can have LED Truck Media create it for them through an in-house service for an additional fee, said De Souza.
The Right Times
As far as routes are concerned, LED Truck Media uses a smart campaign service that allows them to know the best times to hit the streets and the best areas to swing through. This also helps avoid traffic, she said.
“Some clients know exactly what they want,” she said. “Some others are not familiar with marketing and advertising. So, we tell them, the good time is from this time to this time, and the route, we tell them this is the best route you should go… the route is based on experience and also our service, which tells us by statistic where the people are at certain times. So, we can tell the client, at this time in this area you are going to have this kind of demographic, 20 to 35-year-olds that like this and that, so, we should go there.”
The specifications don’t end there.
De Souza said each truck has a smart technology device installed that grabs phone IDs from anyone who is up to 300 feet away from the truck and has an Android, Google or IOS for retargeting on social media, for example. De Souza said this is also an extra service the company offers, and cost depends on the amount of data that is collected. She also said this is something that sets LED Truck Media apart, as its competitors don’t offer that service.
“We are just not a truck company,” she said. “We are an out-of-home agency, and we offer additional services for your campaign. Generally, we say to clients, we want to do a 360-degree campaign. That includes trucks, social media and artwork.”
While San Diego has often been voted the “greenest city” in the United States, De Souza is fully aware the LED trucks aren’t exactly the most sustainable.
She said they run on regular gas and the generator that powers the LED screens runs on diesel. But, in order to help balance things out, she said LED Truck Media is soon going to incorporate a product called ECO Bikes, which is essentially a bike with a screen. LED Truck Media is working with a company in Los Angeles for the bikes and hopes to launch the program in one or two months, De Souza said.
After that service is up and running, De Souza said LED Truck Media will push a glass truck option as well. The trucks are the same size as the LED Trucks, (22’ x 18’ x 8’) but instead of having LED, she said, it is more like an aquarium.
“You can set up anything inside,” she said. “You can set up a salon, and it drives around. Or you stop at an event and set up a pop-up...The truck is totally customizable.”
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