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Think of magink

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Outdoor advertising is about to take one small step for man, one giant leap for billboards, says Don Davidson, director of New York-based magink display technologies.

The company is rolling out billboards that will allow advertisers to change still images as often as they want, through a new digital ink technology. The billboards use reflective technology rather than light-emitting screens so images can be changed remotely.

"If you let your mind go, you can easily see how all significant-size billboards anywhere in the world could be using this electronic-ink product because of its great flexibility," Davidson said.

Six prototypes will be put up in January 2003 in countries that include the U.S., Britain and Israel.

Davidson said he hoped the billboards would be a part of a media buyer's plan by mid-2003. An ideal cli ent, he said, would be a fast-food company that could tout different products at mealtimes.

"This has all sorts of potential to be the big gest thing that's happened in outdoor advertising since the begin ning," Davidson said. "And the beginning was a long time ago."