"It was one of our people," said Porath, who works in Waterloo. "We had it done during the middle of the day."
The billboard ties into an alternative reality game "Find815" for the television show "Lost." The ABC-show follows the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, flying from Sydney, Australia, to Los Angeles. The plane crashed on an island in the Pacific Ocean and the Emmy-award winning drama tells the story of 69 survivors as they explore the island. The flight, airline and characters are all fictitious.
Porath said the order for the Oceanic ad was sent from the national corporation and that she knew about it a month or two ago. The order required Lamar to put up the advertisement and have someone spray paint "find815.com", the central Web site for the game, on it Monday.
Porath would not comment on who bought the ad and how long it is scheduled to run, but she did say it was done to be part of the game.
"I know the billboard was purchased because of the show," Porath said. "I can't tell anything more, but that's what was in mind."
The Internet game follows former Oceanic employee Sam Thomas on his quest to find what happened to his girlfriend, Sonya, a stewardess on Oceanic Flight 815. Gamers are lured into the adventure Thomas undertakes to find the plane by visiting multiple Web sites, looking for encrypted messages in e-mails and solving strategy games.
The game began when ABC released an e-mail stating Oceanic would resume flights to nine worldwide cities, including Ames, on Dec. 28. A billboard then showed up in each city.
Fans of the show believe the billboards have been placed in the area where certain "Lost" characters are from. Kate Austen, who fled to Australia after killing her mom's lover is played by Evangeline Lilly and in the show is said to be from Iowa. An American marshal captured Austen in Australia and was transporting her back to America before the plane crashed.
One of the game's Web sites, www.the-maxwell-group.com, is registered to Hoodlum, an Australian company that sets up multi-platform entertainments projects, which is involved with the game and is promoting the upcoming season of "Lost."
Hoodlum CEO and co-founder Tracey Robertson said in an e-mail Tuesday she isn't allowed to talk about the project at this time.
There are five chapters to the game with each chapter lasting a week. New elements are added to the game each day. The game ends on Jan. 31, the same day as the premier of the fourth season of "Lost."