Government As “Speaker” (Paid Advertising)

To fight hate crimes, the FBI plans to spend $1 million+ on out of home ads (transit, place-based, and billboards).

This FBI campaign illustrates important broader points:

  • Government relies on out of home media to communicate information
  • Government is a customer (as well as a pro bono public service partner)
  • As a communications medium, out of home delivers non-commercial and commercial messages

Government ad spending is part of the Kantar media tracking category “Government, Politics, and Organizations,” which consistently ranks in the top ten categories for out of home media. In fact, this category posted significant pre-pandemic gains growing 23 percent between 2014 and 2019. Even more impressive, examining only the governmental segment of the “Government, Politics, and Organizations” category, OOH spend jumped 78% during the same five-year time span.

Here are other examples of paid government advertising:

Homeland Security

Department of Homeland Security, San Francisco Airport


The Armed Forces are longtime customers of OOH media (Photo: Hartman Center @ Duke Libraries)


Localized vaccination ad in Milwaukee, WI (Photo: Clear Channel Outdoor)


Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recuitment ad, Washington, DC, transit system


Modified: 8 months