Tiger Advertising truck no longer cruising downtown

Last October, businessman Collin Bartels launched the Tiger Advertising truck, a big black vehicle that drove around downtown Columbia with rotating advertisements on three panels. According to its Facebook page, the truck offered clients “a multi-media platform of high-profile, highly targeted advertising that helps companies deliver their message effectively and affordably.” Clients included CenturyLink, Ronald McDonald House and Mr. Goodcents.

It wasn’t long, though, before the truck brought complaints from the Columbia City Council. According to the Missourian, former City Manager Bill Watkins said the truck violated the city’s sign ordinance. Former First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz called it a “road spam,” and Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said the truck was “basically a mobile scrolling billboard with no other purpose than to be a mobile scrolling billboard.”

The council considered banning the truck and others of its ilk. Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill urged caution. “It might not be appropriate to tell a private company that it can’t advertise on a rolling vehicle” when the city allows ads on its buses, he noted. The council referred the matter to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Columbia Business Times reported in October 2010 that Mr. Bartels had been advised by legal counsel not to talk to the media about the truck.

But it appears the mobile billboard may be a thing of the past. The truck has been gone for months. The company’s website and phone number no longer work, and its Facebook page hasn’t been updated for more than a year. Bartels could not be reached for comment.

The truck’s disappearance is unlikely related to the council’s misgivings. City Clerk Sheela Amin said the council never took any action on the issue.

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