College Freshman Starts Ad Biz, Needs Advice

Evan Savar, a college freshman in Vegas, is looking for advice about his out-of-home ad biz:  what should he do to get noticed by media buyers? If you've got a tip for him, leave it in the comments or get in touch with Evan directly on LinkedIn. Evan's letter follows.

I have created a company in Vegas called TransVertise. I got the idea when i went inside a Vegas shuttle bus and saw a TV that was not being used. I did some research and came to the conclusion that none of the Vegas vehicles utilize their TVs. So I created a horrible slide show video presentation, which has since became very well done, and began to make agreements with limos and shuttle bus companies to allow me to own the rights to their TV's and play the videos. I get advertisers and give them 25 percent of the revenue the ads generate

I currently own the rights 300 vehicles that go from the Las Vegas airport to down town and will reach over 175,000 captivated Las Vegas tourists a month. I am finalizing all the contracts /production of the videos/ as well as our advertisers packet. Our goal launch is in 2 months. Only problem is getting advertisers. I am having a hard time due to very little experience and knowledge. Over the past 6 months I have worked very hard to build my business, from relationships with all the limo/ shuttle bus companies to building all the systems ( equipment for the buses to track so we can make sure ads are being played, deal with number one production company in Vegas, and figuring out pay scale) I have received interest from a lot of people but can't seem to find advertisers.... Any ideas? Do you think what I have is an asset?

I believe out of home digital marketing is a growing trend. My goals is to eventually install TV's in the Vegas vehicles that don't have them and expand to other tourist locations all over the country. I would also like to have our custom branded advertising in Rental Car buses such as Budget etc... Small steps first.


  1. I would tell Evan to create a deck on demographic on the people using the limo service. This would be a media kit that advertising can quickly see if his demo are the people they are interested in targeting.

    Call up a company that is similar to his and contact them about what they sent to ad buyers/planners. He should do something similar for his company. Then start contacting local ads shops and letting them know he exists.

    Also contact companies directly and some won't have an agency of record and those that do, will give you the contact of their agency of record. Either way, you are getting your name out there and letting clients know you are out there.

    Evan, I've done media buying/planning for the last couple years. Contact me if you've any questions or want to brainstorm.

  2. I believe you do have a valuable asset, you just need to learn how to monetize it. Here are some suggestions:

    1. You need to find some broadly similar businesses so you can estimate ad rates and learn how to sell your service. I would start with PRN ( and C-Store TV (

    2. The best way to find advertisers in an ongoing way will be through the videos themselves ("advertise on this screen! - call 555-9999 or visit")

    3. In the beginning I think you'll have to recruit advertisers one by one. Make friends with some concierges or bellhops at the better hotels. . .they'll know who is willing to pay for customers.

    4. See if any of the limo companies you have partnered with have detailed call logs (places where they have gone). This will give you a pretty good idea where the action is. On an ongoing basis ask your limo partners to keep such logs if they'll have better ammunition to show potential advertisers.

    5. If I were doing the initial direct selling, I'd probably be hitting up strip clubs. (might be difficult as a college freshman...I'm sure you know some elder classmates that would be happy to do this for you). They have a lot of money, it's an impulse buy/trip, and each customer brings a lot of money. Find businesses with characteristics similar to this and they will be good targets for your advertising.

    Good luck...

  3. I've been in the digital signage/digital out-of-home advertising business since 2000, and I can tell you that the Vegas in-vehicle digital advertising scene is well over a decade old and littered with the corpses of more companies that I can count.

    Many companies have encountered what Evan has found: there are already so many options for advertisers that it's extremely difficult to convince them that your medium is better (provided you can find them at all).

    My advice would be to PROVE it to them - have all ads feature a QR code, SMS shortcode, or other device viewers can access with their mobile phones to get a coupon, special promotion code, etc. Most Las Vegas advertisers are already well versed with counting discount redemptions, and are typically comfortable using it as a component in their out of home ads. If the redemption rates for coupons coming from Evan's ads are high, he'll have no trouble filling up his inventory.

  4. I'd advise Evan to stop trying to "innovate" with an advertising model that does little but annoy the "captivated" travelers and instead create a marketing platform that actually adds value to both the consumer and the marketer.

    It actually warms my heart to hear that advertisers are not jumping at the chance to jump for the chance to become the 5,0001st commercial message that a Vegas traveler sees every day.

  5. Jack Sparrow5/5/09 6:58 PM

    Nah. Ignore the advice above. Won't do you any good.

    Just show them random Twitter feeds. So much more exciting.

  6. Thank you all for your constructive comments. I think I need to clarify a few things. I agree with you completely that there is a lot of digital ads all over Vegas that do nothing for the consumer except drown them in pointless ads and give everyone a headache … However I actually am trying to add value to the consumer. I wanted to create a video that would show people how Las Vegas works. In-between the 15 second advertisements the video is loaded with information about a bunch of useful tips about Vegas. Tips that include; when and where the free shows are, how much a person should tip in vegas tips on how to get around the strip, how to get free drinks and food, ways to not get ripped off by taxis , fun games where riders can win prizes, ( free airline tickets , hotel stay etc..) and there is no sound so if they don’t want to look at the screen they don’t have to. Plus we will have a text code that people can voluntarily sign up with that will allow them to text us if they need specific directions as to where they need to go or questions about Vegas, ( almost like a concierge,) they will also get coupons. Advertisers can place small ads at the bottom of the text message if they like. I haven’t approached any advertisers yet but do have meetings planned with ad agencies in the next few weeks. The intent of my letter was to learn what media buyers are looking for as I am only 19 and don’t know much about that industry.. Mr Brown I’d like to thank you for your advice, I’d love to do some brainstorming when you have a chance. Please let me know when good time for you would be. Bob G, if you come to Vegas and get ripped off by a taxi, get a dirty look from a valet and have to wait an extra half hour for your car because you didn’t tip him the right amount, or go the worst strip club in Vegas because the driver gets a kick back, or can’t find a casino and miss your overpriced show, please realize none of these things would have happened if you watched TransVertise’s “annoying” video.

  7. It's sounding better, Evan, but I wish you had started describing the consumer benefit before comments about the "captivated" audience.

    If your content is truly helpful, maybe you can start with a modest web-based video series with these kinds of insider tips. You might attract enough consumers who choose to view your content that you can go to advertisers with a higher-quality audience. You might also drive revenue through affiliate programs. Then your in-vehicle content can also point to this useful website for more information. This link between the web and in-vehicle ads could really differentiate your service from all the other on/in-taxi ad services on the Strip.

    Good luck!

  8. Brendon Basile6/5/09 3:39 PM

    Much like advertisers trying to reach your audience you should choose who you want to target.

    1) Are you trying to get the local area businesses? Then start small with local clubs. Give them low rates and use the data and results to woo larger chains and hotels.

    2) If you are looking for larger companies, find out about upcoming tradeshows in Vegas. Then research the companies attending. Contact these companies and offer them opportunities to reach attendees.

    Focus on who you want to advertise and devise a presentation that would meet the advertisers goals. Put it in terms of showing how they can make money off of investing in your Video Service.

  9. I used to live in Vegas, and I've noticed that the vast majority of ads are for hotels/casinos. Find out how they place their ads and get hold of the right people.

    I think this could be a good medium for communicating more about the shows to see. Video has more power to tell you about a show you might see and how to get cheap tickets than print does. Definitely like the info on Vegas stuff.

    Would also be useful to offer places people can go for cheaper drinks, etc. which will easily be smaller businesses that you can contact directly to buy placements.

  10. what a great idea! i also noticed that the majority of ads are for casinos and hotels. i lived there 14 years.


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