Several billboards damaged by hurricane's fury
Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter
Damaged billboards across Jamaica bear witness to the fury with which Hurricane Sandy passed over the island but the outdoor advertising companies and major corporations are still trying to determine how much it will cost to replace them.
One billboard can cost a company well over half of a million dollars to produce and hang for a year.
Raul Duany, assistant managing director of Signtex Limited, told The Sunday Gleaner that the billboard stock owned by his company suffered "significant damage".
"We tried to pull down as much as we could in Kingston, St Andrew and Portmore but because of the number of truck crews on hand it was impossible to get all of them down," he said.
Although the signs advertise products offered by various companies, when they are destroyed the outdoor advertising company usually has to stand the liability, Duany explained.
No loss for Pepsi
Carlo Redwood, head of marketing at Pepsi-Cola Jamaica, said his company did not suffer any loss due to damage to signs showcasing the company's products because of the arrangement the drink company has with its outdoor advertisers.
"The outdoor advertising companies are responsible for putting up and taking down the signs," said Redwood.
"We don't have any losses as it relates to boards, because we don't own the boards, we just rent the boards; they are owned by the outdoor companies," he added.
Redwood told The Sunday Gleaner the renting one of the largest signs available on the market could cost between $300,000 and $500,000 per annum.
Kalando Wilmoth, regional head of corporate communications at LIME, told our news team that his company usually removes the more vulnerable billboards before a storm makes landfall.
Wilmoth said the final report was pending but up to last Friday, LIME did not receive a report from its field officers that any of its billboards had been damaged.
He pointed out that the signs are usually insured to cover damage incurred during what was described as "an act of God".
Mark Haddad, outdoor media sales manager at National Outdoor Advertising, said that his company was counting its blessings even as it assesses the damage done to its signs.
"It does not seem as extensive as it could have been in 80-mph winds. There has been minimal damage to coastal-area boards and those on building tops," he said.
Haddad said his company's efforts to pull down as many billboards as possible was hampered by how close to Jamaica Sandy was formed.