To show support for Ukraine, the Bethlehem-based company Adams Outdoor Advertising is placing sunflower billboards around the Lehigh Valley.
According to Tony Cioffi, general manager of Adams Outdoor Advertising, the idea for these billboards partly originated from his son.
“My son told me that women in Ukraine were handing out sunflower seeds to the Russian soldiers on the ground and telling them ‘you are invading my country and when you fall you will plant beautiful sunflowers,’ which is the national flower of Ukraine,” Cioffi said.
Cioffi said after hearing this story, he began to think more about sunflowers and how they could help show support for the people of Ukraine during this time. He talked to Kevin Gleason, the CEO of Adams Outdoor Advertising, about using sunflower billboards to support Ukraine in a unique and powerful way.
Cioffi said he, along with the rest of Adams Outdoor Advertising, hopes these billboards remind people to think about Ukraine.
“In the billboard business we believe in the power of (the) impression that media can create,” Cioffi said. “You can change the channel on the TV, you can choose not to read the newspaper, you turn off your phone, but when you are driving a car you can’t turn off a billboard.”
Cioffi said these sunflowers have resonated with residents of the Lehigh Valley who have a personal connection to Ukraine.
There are currently 60 of these sunflower billboards in the Lehigh Valley. Cioffi said each of these billboards is unique. Some have left leaning flowers, some right leaning flowers and others have a flower in the center.
Cioffi said although these sunflowers may appear simplistic, Adams Outdoor Advertising believes that sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
In addition to the billboards, local organizations and members of the Bethlehem community have been showing their support for Ukraine with blue and yellow displays.
Ukrainian professors in Lehigh’s College of Business Olena Nikolsko-Rzhevska and Alex Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy are organizing the collection of financial aid for Ukraine. They put up a blue and yellow sign in Rauch Business center that details ways the Lehigh community can help Ukraine.
Additionally, a Bethlehem resident dressed up the statues of three young girls outside of the Bethlehem Area Public Library in blue and yellow clothing.