Words of Wisdom From OOH Event

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

“Out-of-Home advertising absolutely must increase its market share” and “companies that don’t see an up-tick in 2010 may well be lost” – these are two of the comments heard from various panel members at the Second Annual Out-of-Home Advertising Event, which I attended in New York last week.

A record attendance of 230 executives from the OOH world heard comments from members of three different panels, along with a keynote speech from the much-decorated creative Jose Molla, co-founder and executive creative director, la communidad; some opening remarks about the new research by sponsor EYE Corp. in association with Arbitron; and the presentation of the 2009 OutdoorAdvertising Association of America Media Plan Awards.

Keynote speaker Moller showed off various successful campaigns and left the audience with a list of rules for its outdoor campaigns: –

  • What you say had better be true
  • Use simplicity
  • Talk about something interesting to the audience
  • Give them back something
  • Don’t be boring

Among the other facts we learned from the various panelists were:-

  • The OOH industry has been forecast to see a 2% growth to $29.6 million in the next year, based on the fact that outdoor advertising is flexible and resilient; the new digital technology; and more measurement becoming available.
  • Automotive advertising, largely missing recently, is expected to come back on a limited basis, but stepping up to the plate to take its place are the pharmaceutical, financial and entertainment industries.
  • The new Eyes On measurement system is expected to mean a big learning curve with the training and education for both agencies and vendors. Eyes On gets rid of two problems: that OOH wasn’t consistent with other media; and OOH had to be able to supply more information on who it was actually reaching.
  • “Now we need to get OOH to the next level,” said Wally Kelly, president and CEO, Americas, CBS Outdoor. “We’ve done everything asked of us. All outdoor companies have invested in this. Now we need to see more buying in every outdoor company.”
  • CPMs that are credible and can deliver ROI will go a long way to helping increase OOH media buys.
  • Digital is taking over big time, but is seen as a costly investment. However, regulatory issues are the only real hurdle. However, it’s here to stay and will have a major footprint.
    “OOH will eventually become all digital,” said Steve Ridley, COO, Global, Kinetic. “Technology can do so much, but we’re not seeing it used yet in a meaningful way. And the scale is not there for national advertisers yet.”
  • “We won’t see a fast conversion to digital, but it’s a matter of ‘when’,” said Paul Meyer, president and CEO, Clear Channel Outdoor, forecasting that regulatory issues will become less important.
  • When people realize that they can change copy so frequently, it will speed the transition to digital.
  • Jane Reiss, CMO, NYC and Co., said that New York City is now embedding QR codes in OOH advertising so that offers on screens are interactive and integrated. They help people navigate.
  • Michael Delellis, vice-president advertising, the Americas, CRK Advertising/Calvin Klein Inc., showed how Calvin Klein is now back advertising on Time Square digital screens for a month and is also using taxis as a media source.
  • And Johanna Bremen Tzuvn, senior vice-president, head of brand advertising for North America, HSBC, is using OOH to build awareness to become better known in the U.S., not to drive sales. The company is currently evaluating what percentage of OOH should be in its media mix, and is looking for unique opportunities in smaller cities and on highways.
  • “Clutter isn’t clutter when people care about it,” said Reiss.
  • Suzanne La Forgia, president, OVAB, said that digital advertising is forecast to go to $3.9 billion in the next five years. “Digital is becoming part of the fabric of how brands are reaching consumers,” she said.
  • With mobile screens becoming more and more part of the mix, James Cooper, interactive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi, showed how a three-day media buy on Times Square screens by Toyota Prius to get people to download an iPod app resulted in a 400% increase.
  • Patrick Moorhead, director of emerging media, Razorfish, illustrated how members of the public ‘wrote’ the copy that appeared on DOOH screens at McDonald’s.
  • And Daina Middleton, senior vice-president, Suano, Moxie Interactive, said that there’s a need to build programs to keep participants continually engaged.

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