COSTA RICA LIVING – In many Spanish speaking countries including Costa Rica you find the widespread practice of mobile advertising called perifoneo. The concept of perifoneo is derived from the Greek language and roughly means “voices around you.” The law in Costa Rica defines perifoneo as an activity that uses devices like speakers which are mounted on vehicles to advertise products or broadcast music.
Tourists seem to be amused when they see all types of vehicles with speakers on the roof blaring loud messages in Spanish at full volume. This practice seems strange and annoying to many because of the noise level of the advertisements. In the States and many other countries perifoneo would probably be considered a form of disturbing the peace and not permitted.
This type of unique advertising is employed not so much in the downtown areas of cities here but in the suburbs and outlaying areas. During the 1980s cassettes were used but with improvements in the field of technology companies now use mp3 players to broadcast their loud and raucous messages.
Despite this local companies like Sensaonic and Publicidad Sandoval Herrera do a booming business. They are hired to broadcast upcoming events, important announcements by municipalities, news of marches or protests and even to find lost pets.Those who work in this profession take pride in having all of their permits up to date, the knowledge and training to operate the sound equipment correctly and the skills to be able to design catchy ads.
Believe it or not this industry is regulated by the Ministry of Salud (Health Ministry), Consejo de Transporte Público (Transportation Department) and local city governments. Companies are not allowed to advertise near hospitals, schools, churches, courthouses or other restricted areas. Police occasionally stop vehicles to see if they have their permits and other papers up to date.