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If you are an advertiser, your Holy Grail is to find a captive audience for your message, and few audiences are more captive than those at sporting or music events. Advertisers have been exploiting this kind of opportunity for some time, but the advent of electronic billboards has changed the whole game. These screens grab attention in the way that ordinary advertising never could, and will virtually guarantee maximum exposure for your product or service.

Of course, even without the advertising, LED screens have the potential to revolutionise big events. Many big-league football and rugby clubs have installed giant LED screens inside the grounds, so that highlights of the game can be replayed to the spectators, along with other information when needed. This can be even more important in cricket, where the small size of the ball, plus the large expanse of the cricket ground, can make it difficult for the spectators to see some of the most dramatic moments, without the help of the screens. If the screens can be used to display advertising as well, this is not only a great business option for the sports club, but a uniquely powerful marketing opportunity for the advertisers.

It's not just sporting events that can benefit from giant digital signboards. They can be used with great effect at concerts or music festivals, or in any situation where large crowds of people are gathered. Not every member of the audience at concerts can get a good view, so large screens placed around the venue can help everyone see what's going on. Not only this, but the screens can display continually updated information about programmes, forthcoming events, and special promotions, as well as possibly providing live video feeds of the actual event.

For any type of event, digital signboards cannot compare with any other means of putting information across. You can hand out brochures, flyers and pamphlets, but very few people will bother to read them. Static banners or billboards are usually ignored. A big LED screen cannot avoid being seen, and is virtually impossible to ignore, thanks to the ever-changing and eye-catching messages -- which, of course, can be remotely controlled.

However, the advantages of electronic billboards are not limited to the big events. For retailers mounting special promotions, it's now possible to deliver compelling messages to customers at the very point at which they are most responsive -- that is, in shopping mode and ready to buy. Digital displays can provide product information and recommendations targeted at specific groups: for instance, teen fashions in the teen department, or the latest music releases in the music department. The promotion signboards can also be placed outside the store, to catch the eye, not only of pedestrians walking past, but also of drivers caught in slow-moving traffic, and these boards can be constantly updated.

The use of digital signage is virtually essential in retail these days, because TV and Internet advertising is becoming increasingly ineffective -- consumers can speed through TV commercials with DVRs, and use pop-up blockers on the Internet. Digital signage is a means of reaching them with a sales message which they can't ignore, and reaching them just when they are right at the point of decision. It can offer customers the interactive visual experience which they increasingly want and expect when they come into a store, including the ability to share information on their mobile devices, and link to social media direct from the store. Retailers can use digital signage to offer customers the information they are looking for, exactly when they are looking for it, and provide content which is personalised to their needs.

Restaurants too can optimise their events with the use of electronic billboards. If a restaurant is having a Seventies Night or a Jazz Festival, the digital signage can guarantee that customers and their friends won't miss the event -- and, of course, if it has to be rescheduled, the signage can be changed instantly, saving all the cost and trouble of printing new posters and leaflets. In addition, a new opening for a restaurant is a great opportunity to put up eye-catching signs that will pique people's curiosity and ensure they turn up on the day. Plus of course digital signs can promote special menus, and deliver information and entertainment to customers waiting for a table, or for the next course.

Events may be very big or very small, but they have one thing in common -- they attract people, and where there are people, there are prospects. Electronic billboards and signboards are a dynamic and cost-effective way of capitalising on these unique opportunities. In an age when consumers have grown accustomed to ignoring messages thrown at them from all sides, digital signage is a medium which they virtually cannot ignore. This is an opportunity not to be missed.