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Bright lights, big announcement: At least you don't have to squint to read the type

October 21, 2009 |  3:57 pm

In what may be a first, a funeral home in Des Moines is going high-tech with its announcements, placing them on electronic billboards around the city.

When John Wild, general manager of the Iles Funeral Home, was approached about advertising on the billboards, he saw them as an elevated platform to spread the word about visitation and funeral services, according to the Associated Press.

The digital announcements last about eight seconds and can include the person’s name, picture, service details and the funeral home’s website. They rotate with other ads and have appeared on five billboards over the last several months.

But couldn’t they be distracting to drivers, especially if a familiar but unexpected name flashes?

A billboard executive points out that it’s no different than fielding such news via text message or e-mail while driving. But  wait -- here in California there are laws against that.

-- Valerie J. Nelson