#OOH2024 @AnnaBager’s Opening Keynote Speech

Guest Contributor, Anna Bager

Welcome to the 2024 OAAA OOH Media Conference.

This year marks our most diverse and dynamic event yet, with over 1,000 attendees spanning our incredible membership, world-class brand marketers, agency leaders, and technology partners – all here to elevate and celebrate out of home.

This year’s theme is “Our Moment,” which indeed it is.

We kick off this event from a place of strength and opportunity.

From technological advances to creative innovations, we’ve never been more set for success.

This is a moment for us to fully seize.

Let’s channel the drive, innovation, and collaboration that has enabled us to thrive as an industry for decades and use it to push us forward.

Out of home is not just a survivor.

It’s a thriver and a winner, continually adapting and evolving.

We have enduring relevance, and our longevity proves it.

But we’re at a pivotal moment, with unprecedented change around us.

This is when we must fully harness our legacy of resilience, creativity, and ingenuity.

Because we are the medium of the moment. And now is the time to secure our future.

It’s crucial that we not only solidify our role in the larger advertising ecosystem,
but also, fully understand how we can both work with – and stand out from – other platforms, channels, and media.

As I stand here today, I’m proud to recognize that this industry delivers more value than ever.

Out of home drives higher recall, higher engagement, and is more trustworthy than any other medium.

We remain fully ingrained in the fabric of everyday life – where we work, live,
and play.

We’re memorable. We’re unskippable. We’re unstoppable.

Let me share some new Harris Poll results that we are releasing today:

• Over 70% of consumers view digital out of home ads more favorably than those in video, social media, print, audio, and online media channels.

That’s one of the reasons why digital out of home is the fastest growing segment of our industry, seeing double-digit growth in 2023.

Yet while digital is a vital part of our offering, our influence extends well beyond that.

Across the board, out of home has the unmatched ability to connect with every consumer segment, in every location – from the smallest towns to the largest cities.

Marketers’ success hinges not only on extending their reach – but also in expanding their audience. They need to continually expose their brands to new customers.

This is where we shine.

We don’t just reach consumers once a day. We reach them several times a day and in countless ways and formats.

With us, a brand isn’t creatively confined, nor is it interruptive.

Instead, brands can show up in contextually relevant ways that grab consumer attention – whether that’s a towering billboard, eye-catching transit wraps, or a screen in a mall, elevator, or airport.

Speaking of, I am sure many of you saw our OOH welcome messages at the San Diego airport. Thank you to our friends at Clear Channel for bringing that execution to life.

As you likely also noticed during your trip out here, travel is back and consumers are out in the real world.

The memory of the pandemic is fading and life is returning to normal.

Despite this, misconceptions remain about some major cities where we have a big presence and footprint.

These urban areas haven’t just rebounded from the pandemic but have renewed activity and energy.

Take San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and Portland, just to name a few:

The images behind me are not from five years ago, they are from today, they were shared by you and they show a powerful resurgence.

We, as an industry, need to combat misconceptions about “The Great American City.”

As you can see, it’s back and we have been an integral part of making it so.

For instance, transit ad revenue funnels most of its proceeds back into municipalities and cities, bolstering essential services and infrastructure.

From big cities to small towns – and everything in-between – we are right there at the center of it and our brand partners are too.

For instance, Gap is doubling down on their San Francisco investment, putting a spotlight on the city, and committing to its revitalization.

Our medium – the world’s longest-lasting and most established form of advertising -continues to grow. In fact, MAGNA projects our growth rate will more than double that of 2023.

That’s something to be proud of, and it’s because of your efforts.

You’ve positioned us for the next level of success, now let’s capitalize on it.

This is our moment – right here, right now – to showcase our strengths, to tout our advantages, and fully seize the opportunity to set ourselves up for the future.

We all know the world is changing and it’s a world of signal loss.TV viewership is eroding, digital privacy concerns are intensifying, and cookies are deprecating.

It’s a universal industry problem that many struggle to solve, but for us as a one-to-many medium, it can be an opportunity.

Context and location are what we sell. We are not plagued with the challenges facing other media channels, and this could be our moment to show up for brands that are facing these challenges too.

But there is still more work to be done.

As we build our infrastructure for the future, we must learn from the missteps made by digital advertising as it evolved.

We need a clean, simple supply chain without too many intermediaries.

If we succeed in doing this, we will all make more money – media owners and agencies.

As Rishad Tobaccowala, the renowned author and former chief strategist at Publicis Groupe said, “The business of marketing is about pipes and poetry, and growth comes from the best possible combination.”

We are the poets, and now let’s get the pipes right.

Thanks to the technological innovations we’ve embraced, we can better quantify advertiser investments. By leveraging advanced location-based technology, we can place the right message in the right place at the right time.

Industry wide, we’re harnessing new tools such as AI to be more versatile, responsive, and data-driven.

According to a recent OAAA member poll, over 50% of you now use AI in some way, shape or form – enhancing sales tactics, fueling creativity, or tapping into advanced business analytics, to name a few.

By embracing these tools and strategies, we set ourselves up for immediate gains and long-term growth.

But it has to be AI + H.I. – human insights and human intuition. I don’t believe AI will take over the world, but it is a tool for us to use.

We can’t lose sight of our human superpowers or ethics, as AI becomes increasingly prevalent.

This is our moment to not just adapt to new technology, but to take the lead, because we’re not the only media sector that’s growing.

Retail media, CTV and the Creator Economy are flourishing, and we must show that OOH is integral and complementary to those channels and sectors.

Let’s pay attention to how retail media and CTV position and market themselves and then let’s leverage the insights we gain. We cannot be left behind or be late to the game.

OOH can seamlessly fit with those channels and collectively enhance brand awareness and drive sales, and it’s our moment to showcase that.

Our recent Harris Poll study results support this, showing how OOH is a key part of the retail media mix.

• 93% of consumers who noticed directional DOOH ads and visited the business, made a purchase.

OOH is significant at every point of the consumer journey and plays an important role as a connector between other channels. Where we lead to retail media, CTV leads to us.

We know that OOH + CTV, together, are a power couple, and it’s our moment to show brands how we can help amplify their CTV messaging as consumers leave their homes.

The creator economy has become pivotal to modern advertising, again a moment we are a part of and a moment we should seize.

How did superstar Taylor Swift and Spotify choose to engage fans about her recent album launch? With a massive out of home campaign that also garnered massive press attention.

Adding to the buzz, the singer shared a photo of a Times Square ad with her more than 284 million Instagram followers. And it’s not just Times Square messaging that’s getting attention.

Singer Lana Del Rey was also in the headlines when she strategically leveraged just a single, billboard in her ex’s hometown of Tulsa last year to launch her new album, reminding him of her greatness and what he was missing out on. And she released it on his birthday, no less, to worldwide attention via shared social media.

Those are just two examples of the real power of out of home. To quote Mark Tutssel, the legendary advertising creative and OOH champion, “Out of home is the theater of the streets.”

We are at the center of cultural and societal moments like Coachella and the Super Bowl. Stay tuned for a great session about this later today.

Although we’re living in the digital age, online experiences can never –
and will never – replace real-life moments. I know I’m not alone in feeling the excitement that comes with us all being gathered here together today.

We are trusted, tried and true.

We drive action.

We get noticed.

We are real.

And we make a meaningful difference in the world.

Out of home plays a crucial role in keeping the public informed and boosting civic engagement, which is especially important in this particular election year.

A new OAAA and Morning Consult study examined out of home’s power when it comes to political messages.

56% of voters exposed to an out of home political ad in the past year deem the information in those ads to be truthful and accurate.

The majority of consumers exposed to “Get out the vote” campaigns say those efforts made them more likely to vote, with almost a third of them reporting they saw that message via an out of home ad.

That’s the power of our influence.

But we need to prove our case and be comparable to other channels, that’s why measurement is so important.

Last Friday, our industry took a big step in that direction with Phase 1 of the MRC OOH Standards being released.

For those of you who don’t know the MRC – it is the advertising industry’s measurement standards setter, created almost 60 years ago at the request of the US Congress and governed by the Department of Justice.

All other media channels have MRC standards and now we have one too.

Why are these standards so important?

Well, in a recent Mediapost survey of advertisers and agencies, 87% said MRC accreditation was important to their measurement data.

ANA + 4A’s are big supporters as well.

This was a moment we seized, and a huge step forward for our industry.

We are on the right track for continued growth and shift of share, but it requires this collective group to put the work in.

Here are four action items I believe will help us get there.

  1. We must go to market with a simple, crisp message. This is a critical point.Even though we represent different platforms and formats, we are ALL united under the out of home banner.We are merely a small part of ad spend, less than 5%, so it’s important that our messaging not make us appear smaller and disjointed.

    As the trade association for out of home, OAAA is committed to helping the industry align and move forward here.

  2. We must all work together and continue to learn from each other. That includes multigenerational learning within our industry, as well as learning from other parts of the advertising and marketing worlds.It includes leaning into diversity, equity, and inclusion.We can’t exist in isolation. To sell more, you need to know more. That’s where growth will come from.

    We must find a way to learn from industry veterans while tapping into new perspectives from the next generation.

    We’re already off to a strong start with our new Future Leaders Program,
    which embraces fresh ideas and invests in the next generation of our industry.

    And, we are honored to have these future leaders in the room today. We are thrilled you’re here with us and we value your ideas and insights.

  3. We need to lean into new technologies and understand the value of data but do it responsibly. We must embrace technology and innovation in all aspects of our business, from planning and selling, to creative messages, and to analyzing their effectiveness.Automation and programmatic out of home platforms now put us on the same playing field as other media channels and we can offer a flexible, targeted buying experience that resonates with consumers and brands.But, it’s also important to remember that just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Everything we do, should be done against a backdrop of consumer desires, privacy regulation and what’s truly right for the brands we serve.

    We don’t want to be creepy, overpowering or unnecessarily provocative and we don’t have to be.

    Our merits make us strong enough.

  4. Finally, and most important, we must believe in ourselves and the value of our medium. Communicate our power clearly, and ways that help brands see us as the solution they need at this moment.We are not a silo, we’re the fabric and connective tissue between media formats and it’s imperative we sell ourselves this way.You are a part of an industry that is at the forefront of creativity and innovation, and we should own that.

    Our canvasses give us advantages that no other medium has.

    Our work is seen by millions of people, several times a day.

    We drive brand awareness on a massive scale and share messages that enhance people’s lives and change their perspectives.

    We’re also taking action to do what’s right for the planet. From digital signs powered by solar energy to investing in carbon offsets, we’re implementing eco-friendly programs that also resonate with consumers and brands.

    Sustainability is a focus, not a fad. It’s about the future. It’s about forever.

OAAA is here to both celebrate you and help you achieve your goals.

We bring an unparalleled level of experience and expertise and are here to protect, promote, and advance our industry. We’re here to grow it and future proof it.

Today’s program is a testament to our commitment to the industry and the entire marketing world.

And I urge you to take full advantage of everything our conference has to offer.

– We’ll hear from industry-leading CMOs

– We’ll talk about critical topics such as sustainability, AI, and we’ll examine global trends

– We’ll hear from challenger and established brands about why they love OOH

– We’ll hear from chief investment officers on how we can increase their investment in our medium

And much more.

“Our moment” isn’t just this conference’s theme.

It’s our reality, and the time is now.

…To move forward

…To drive momentum

…To create a movement

Because we are the medium of the moment.

Thank you.

OAAA 2024 OOH Media Conference, Carlsbad, California
Opening Keynote: Anna Bager, President & CEO, OAAA
Tuesday, April 30, 2024

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