Bucking the trends: Media that Moves has a Big Impact

Sharon Kelley 8 October 2020
MJ Qual standing in front of digital billboard.

MJ Qail, co-founder of Big Impact Media. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

When MJ Qail and Tam Bakr sat down for a coffee 12 years ago, they came up with a grand business idea. They launched Big Impact Media just before the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, against the advice of everyone they knew.

The innovation and startup sector knows well that if your product is good enough, demand will be there for your business, and that’s exactly how Big Impact Media took off in the middle of one of the steepest recessions in decades. The business flourished in Canberra, a city with strict limits on billboard advertising, and demand has been strong ever since.

“We’re still here, almost 12 years later,” says MJ. “We’ve got a great customer base and pretty much anyone in Canberra knows about Big Impact Media.

“Every major city in the world has brilliant nightlights and digital billboards, but we’re not allowed to do that here. We have to respect the majority, and we respect the right of Canberrans to keep advertising off the streets. But we’d also like to transform the city with light.”

Tam Bakr standing in front of digital billboard.

Big Impact Media co-founder Tam Bakr. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

MJ and Tam have ambitions to create a New York Times Square-style light show in Garema Place to give the city a vibe they feel it needs, but as yet they have had no positive response from the ACT Government regarding their plans.

“We would love the city to be more vibrant,” says MJ. “Garema Place feels almost dangerous at night.

“We’ve approached the ACT Government on a number of occasions to put a billboard and some life and lights into it, but they are against it.”

With such tight restrictions around billboard advertising, the company uses innovative signage around Canberra to get the advertising message across. Their range of mobile billboards, digital LED screens, bike boards, walking boards, mobile LED screens, static displays in underground carparks, and digital ad trailers provide a range of advertising options that enhance sales displays, get messages across and promote Canberra events and businesses.

“Canberra is known as the bush capital and we don’t want to put our advertising in the suburbs,” says MJ.

The company also limits what it will advertise, having made a conscious decision not to use its signage for the adult industry or alcohol advertising.

“We have seen what alcohol can do to people in our community so we’ve made the decision not to advertise it with our products,” says MJ. “We also don’t advertise adult services – we don’t want to be known as the adult services capital.”

What Big Impact Media does do, he says, is provide Canberra business with the most cost-effective and successful advertising solutions, which are popular with Canberra’s marketers. The company is also part of the Media That Moves Network and can deliver national campaigns.


READ ALSO: Bucking the trends: Finding Effective People will boost your business


“We offer mobile billboards, we have drivers who drive them around, park them legally and they’re one of the best marketing tools there is,” says MJ. “One of our strengths is the ability to tailor-make campaigns for different budgets and different industries with remarkable results.

“At Big Impact, we believe in giving something back to the community. We have been a gold sponsor for Ronald McDonald House in Canberra for the past few years, and we also support the Cancer Council of Australia and Barnardos.”

If you are interested in branding your business with digital signage in Canberra, contact Big Impact Media on 1300 244 467.


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