A billboard along the Parkway West shows the first tweet by Brianne McLaughlin, a Robert Morris University student and a goalie for the U.S. women's hockey team at the Winter Olymics in Vancouver. Lamar Advertising sold the billboard space to the university.
By Bill Schackner Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
To any confused, neck-craning drivers on Pittsburgh highways who swear that Olympic goalie Brianne McLaughlin actually tweeted them from a billboard -- relax.
While it's true you probably have spent too much time thinking about the Winter Olympics, you were not hallucinating.
Robert Morris University, hoping to turn a shot at Olympic gold into a marketing moment, is using high visibility ads fit for the social networking age to honor Ms. McLaughlin, a campus undergraduate and the No. 3 goaltender on the USA women's hockey team, which plays Canada tonight for the gold medal.
Robert Morris recently bought rotating billboard space from Lamar Advertising at four locations: Parkway West between the Carnegie and Green Tree exits; Parkway East near the Squirrel Hill Tunnel; Grant Street, Downtown; and Reedsdale Street near the Rivers Casino.
On Wednesday, it added a link to Ms. McLaughlin's twitter account, http://twitter.com/briannemcl. Her first words to the motoring public: "Last practice before the big game ... making it a good one."
Her Vancouver trip is letting the school highlight its Division I hockey program.
How often the senior nursing major from suburban Cleveland tweets "is up to her -- whenever she decides to and has time," said school spokesman Jonathan Potts.
And yes, she's aware that any spur-of-the-moment thought posted to the Web site will become part of Pittsburgh's commute. "She'll exercise whatever judgment she feels is necessary," Mr. Potts said. "She's an excellent student and a responsible adult."