EDPA Beams a Big, “Subtle” Message

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama is using a little digital enhancement to help boost the state’s image. Actually, it is some big digital enhancement.

The EDPA moved its offices earlier this year to a building next to Regions Field and Railroad Park near downtown Birmingham, and the centerpiece of its new location is a 320-square-foot digital video display board that broadcasts a continuous loop of images and messages promoting Alabama.

Though the board is located inside the building, the high-definition display can easily be seen through the glass walls by people walking past in what has become a high-volume pedestrian area in recent years. Fans leaving a Birmingham Barons baseball game at Regions Field or an event at Railroad Park can see striking images of the state, from the rockets of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to the wooded beauty of Cheaha State Park to the bustling ship activity at the Port of Mobile.

“We want to use this to advertise Alabama, ” EDPA President Steve Spencer says of the curved video board, 34 feet long by 9 feet tall. “We’re trying to get a new brand or image going for Alabama that you can win here. This will show the successes of the companies in Alabama.”

In addition, the images on the board can be changed to fit special occasions. For example, if officials from Mercedes-Benz come in for a meeting or reception, Spencer says, the board can show scenes of German cities and landmarks. “It would be very subtle, since there’s no sound. But they’d know we had done our homework.”

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New content will be added to the regular loop whenever the EDPA collects video capable of being broadcast on the high-tech display. The organization recently brought in advertising agencies from throughout the state to show them the board and encourage them to produce videos of their clients that can be included on the display.

The board is part of the EDPA’s effort to have a more visible presence, which is one of the reasons the organization moved from its old location south of downtown in an area dominated by strip malls and fast-food chains. The new office is in the Baker’s Row development, a 30, 000-square-foot space that used to be a Merita bread factory.

“We came here because it’s in the heartbeat of what’s happening in Birmingham, ” Spencer says. “It’s a vibrant area that shows off the diversity of the city and the growth that’s going on here. We’re going to help grow the entire state through this facility.”

Text by Cary Estes

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