Billboards With A Web Link

A new form of advertising is invading America’s airports: Attached to billboards, a seven-by-four-inch box from adAlive allows users of personal digital assistants to synch with the Net and access e-mail, city guides and advertiser-supplied information.

The free service launches Monday at New York’s JFK Airport.

“PDA owners can walk up to adAlive billboards, point their device’s infrared port at the device and synch with the Net,” said D.P. Singh, executive vp of the Waltham, Mass.-based company. The service will expand to other airports later this year, he said.

When users link up, a specially adapted ad from the billboard advertiser appears on the user’s PDA screen with an adAlive menu, Singh said. The ad appears only when the adAlive menu is in use.

Users can download supplemental content from the advertiser. For example, Ernst & Young is offering “a sampling of our ideas,” according to Robert Brand, director of advertising for the New York-based accounting firm. “We’re hoping people will get excited about it and go to our site to get the full text.”

Ernst & Young’s PDA ads were designed by New York-based D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.

AdAlive charges advertisers for the billboards plus a fee for every lead generated, Singh said.