Alum finds innovative ad space on lunch trucks

Shawn Geller sells a unique form of new advertising for the sides of lunch trucks.

Shawn Geller sells a unique form of new advertising for the sides of lunch trucks.

Lunch trucks on Main Campus may be the latest frontier in the relentless search by advertisers for innovative spaces to sell their products. Shawn Geller, a recent Temple alumnus, has started selling ads to local businesses that are placed on the street-facing sides of lunch trucks.

“People always say they want to advertise to students on a daily basis,” Geller said. “I was trying to think of something on campus to utilize.”

That something became lunch trucks, the owners of which receive payments based on the ads’ square footage.

“They seem to have no problem with it,” Geller said. “This is a way of increasing their income.”

Truck owners sign a one-year contract with Geller to have the ads put up, and Geller solicits them from businesses on and around campus. He said he is planning on soliciting businesses further off campus in the future to attract a wider advertising base.

Not all lunch truck owners have accepted his offer yet.

Part of the attraction of the lunch trucks is that they are privately owned, Geller said. This means it’s easier to get them to allow him to advertise.

“Temple itself isn’t inclined to let businesses put up their own advertisements,” he said. Utilizing lunch trucks was a way to get around the relatively few advertising opportunities on Main Campus, one that didn’t require going through the university.

But it wasn’t always easy to persuade the owners to let Geller put up signs on their trucks.
“It was a struggle at first, to be honest,” Geller said, adding that the signs were put up in a way that makes them easy to remove.

The usually empty street-side of the trucks is a largely unused space, ideal for advertising to college students.

Geller said it was also much easier than the more traditional ways of advertising on campus.
“I always see people on campus putting up flyers,” he said. “It’s a lot of work to go up weekly and put up flyers.”

Several on-campus businesses have bought lunch truck advertisements through Geller. He is also using the spaces to advertise his own business,

“This is one of the things I did to lead up the Web site,” Geller said.

Geller may be one of the first people to try advertising through lunch trucks. He said he hadn’t heard of anyone else utilizing them for ad space.

For now, he can enjoy the advantage of being on the frontier of Main Campus advertising, having come up with a novel way to advertise, benefiting himself and truck owners.

Stephen Zook can be reached at

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