Hardware Spotlight

The Return of the Backlit Billboard

By: Jerry McClellan

Late 20th century companies allotted monstrous budgets to high impact OOH advertising and the format of choice was the backlit billboard. Fast forward to 2020, and now the Backlit is commanding a resurgence in today’s digitally dominated OOH world. While digital and standard static billboards have their own place in OOH, the Backlit is returning to its days of glory when creative attention was directed at high profile locations with stunning images that stood out from the “ordinary billboard.”

Backlight billboards became very popular when computer printed vinyl became available in the 1980s. Until the Marlboro Man hung his hat up in 1999, cigarette companies made use of backlight billboards in premier locations, especially on 19’6×48 locations across the country. Later in the 80’s and early 90’s Budweiser and other beer brands became a heavy user of the format, especially once the premier tobacco locations became up for grabs.

Today, advertisers tell us that they have become accustomed to the brilliant digital billboard images at night. When digital permits are not possible, these advertisers love to have brilliant looking ads and perm up the location for a longer-term.

Formetco has installed backlits in locations like the landmark Sunset Strip all the way down to smaller rural metro markets. All the big operators in OOH are singing the praises of our backlit product line.

“Working with Formetco on backlit box designs and materials has been easy. They helped design, install the unit and the material fits the box extremely well. Installing Backlit technology can really help build rate and value to any structure especially if you design it in such a manner that makes it unique to our inventory in the area. Helps doubled revenue on a unit in our market”.

Tony Cioffi, General Manager, Adams Outdoor

Some might ask how the technology has evolved over the years. When Formetco started manufacturing backlights over 30 years ago, the cabinet was 3 feet deep and had nearly 100 high maintenance Florescent tubes that internally illuminated a typical 19’6×48 backlight billboard. The 3 big problems were that they weighed a ton, used a phonemical amount of power, and operators were constantly out replacing the fluorescent tubes.

Today they are less than 12″ thick and weigh a fraction of the old style. They are internally illuminated with efficient pure white LED’s that save 90% on power from the original fluorescent style backlights. In the past, the fluorescent tubes needed constant maintenance, flash forward to today and you will find that Formetco’s backlight technology is practically maintenance-free.

The Backlit provides the brightness of a digital and key benefit is its one message not shared by 7 other advertisers. The advertiser owns the space 100% of the time.

Formetco’s internally illuminated LED BackLite Billboards are a great alternative over traditional externally illuminated billboard faces in premium locations. Because of Formetco’s unprecedented LED lighting solution with superior light output and color rendering, your client’s advertisements will standout dramatically as it creates an eye-catching visual for evening viewers. Formetco’s simple backlit frame design and mounting clip system makes upgrading existing billboard structures at any site easy and efficient. Each Formetco backlit product comes equipped with our leading materials and service warranty coverage.
Key Features and Benefits

  • Works excellent with dual day/nite backlit vinyl’s
  • Formetco manufacturers its Backlit Billboards using the most reliable and superior LED illumination available, which outperforms any other type of lighting used today
  • Low voltage LED drivers replace high failure HID and florescent ballasts with instant on-off illumination at any outside temperature
  • Designed to achieve incredible power savings for a fast R.O.I.
  • The lowest maintenance of any lighting solution
  • Perfectly even, edge to edge illumination
  • Formetco’s LED illumination provides true color accuracy through the purest white light & highest lumen output possible
  • Backlit frames are built from quality galvanized steel to provide the most durable display in the industry
  • Our slim 8” modular cabinet design and mounting clips makes installation quick and easy
  • Standard sizes range from 5’x11’ to 20’x60’ with custom sizes available
  • Available in standard wrap or front insert models for the quickest & simplest installation of backlit flex-faces
  • Formetco’s LED lighting is backed by a 5-year warranty, including the LED power supplies
  • Our LED illumination has a 50,000-hour life guarantee, equal to 17 years of service
  • LED identical bin code process used for one color guarantee
  • LED Modules have a luminous efficacy of 114 lm/watt – 91 lm/mod – 316 lm/square foot
  • LED Module Watt .8w/mod (1.39w/ft.)
  • IP65 Water Proof LED Modules & IP68 Water Proof LED Power Supply/Driver
  • Pure White Color Temp of 7000K
  • 170 degree LED Module Viewing Angle
  • Vinyl hardware is available

To get more info about Formetco Backlit Systems contact Jerry McClellan at (770) 329-4317 and jerrym@formetco.com