Parallel Worlds: Industry Wake Up Call

Manolo Almagro, Q Division Managing Partner

In November 2009, I posted an article about the potential threat of Mobile to the DOOH industry.

Imagine my chagrin when I took a look at the latest issue of Ad Age, in which Kunur Patel just posted an article titled “Forget Foursquare, location based marketing is the new point of purchase”

I bet I got your attention now didn’t I? I recommend you read this Ad Age article- then when you have done that; read all the comments as well!

Aside from a tiny mention of Placecast, you’ll see that there is hardly any acknowledgment of DOOH in the article at all.

Why is that? What’s happening here? Is it because we continue to promote our industry as THE in-store digital solution rather than embrace what’s happening with mobile advertising and figure out a better way to integrate the experiences? – Maybe.

photo credit:

This is surely yet another wake up call to our industry, and once again we are sleeping right through it. I’ve said it many times – our industry is self-centered, we live inside a giant comfort-zone, patting each other on the back on how great we are or tell each other how big our industry is going to be.

While we fight amongst ourselves over things like DSA or the DSF, the real battle to wage is out there in the agency universe; educating, pioneering, creating standards.

Sure, a few of the big agencies are starting to notice DOOH, perhaps experimenting here and there- but at the rate things are going the mobile ad campaign spend will continue be a threat to the hard earned budget that DOOH garners.

We must as an industry take notice now and realize that unless we find new ways to push the creative envelope to create more meaningful experiences that support the mobile devices as part of a total integrated campaign, rather than just use the digital sign to repackage and publish on-line and mobile experiences – the digital signs we worked so hard to get into every retail venue might as well be overgrown, overpriced desktop CRTs running a screen saver that plays out random RSS, Twitter and Facebook statuses.

7 Responses to “Parallel Worlds: Industry Wake Up Call”

  1. ian Dobson Says:

    You are absolutely dead on my friend!!! Finally a guy who gets it!! You rock Manolo!!

  2. Neal Kielar Says:

    I wrote about this topic right after DSE 2010 (, citing five ways the digital signage industry is its own barrier to success. The only exception I have to Manolo’s premise is this: I believe that digital signage is a support to mobile rather than the other ways around. But maybe that’s splitting hairs. Mobile is not a threat. It is a partner platform. And we are all digital communicators.

    Neal Kielar

  3. Pat Hellberg Says:

    You nailed it.
    It is at once a fascinating and frustrating time for the industry. Fascinating to see whether the industry continues to “sleep right through it”, frustrating knowing what the opportunity for DS/DOOH could be if the industry wakes up. I made some similar observations right after DSE,
    Wouldn’t it be great if we had a crystal ball?
    Pat Hellberg

  4. Christie Liu Says:

    The agency and brand world has been stressing integration and holistic approaches, however, it’s tough given the silos that exist all around. From some of the conversations I’ve been having, the digital and in-store agency players are starting to look at the bigger picture. John McHale and his team at SapientNitro (aka coke vending folks) want to make everything touchable, to be everywhere the customer is and offering them the same brand experience. Peter Viento who is the ECD at Saatchi X (shopper marketing agency) sees the future as “all the screens tied together.” In the past few years, the agencies, including MediaVest were moving towards the concept of “video” rather than TV or digital or OOH… Am curious on how that concept is being fleshed out at the agency planning and buying level.

  5. Steve Gurley Says:

    I’ve been writing about this on my personal blog and on my DSA blog since the launch of the DSA’s new web site I’ve also published one white paper and nine articles on the topic (the links to which can be found on my blog.). This is serious stuff. You should read my last two articles to get a perspective on how this threatens DOOH. I am proud to say that Symon is already doing the things referenced in the Ad Age article with our InView Mobile app plus integrating the experience with DOOH. perhaps you saw it in use at DSE.

  6. Lawrence Dvorchik Says:


    A message we could not agree with more, which is why KioskCom and The Digital Signage Show will converge to become Customer Engagement Technology World (

    Beginning November 10-11, 2010 in New York, the event will focus on the expanding role of customer engagement in business success and improved ROI, addressing topics that are more reflective of what the industry has become and where it is going.

    We look forward to embracing the many technologies that enable venues, brands and agencies to engage with their customers through technology in a more meaningful fashion, and deliver higher ROI to them.

  7. J Woolsey Says:

    A varied mix of OOH ingredients will feed the success of point-of-sale as has been the case for advertising and marketing from its inception.

    DOOH must react in a proactive manner supporting and driving intelligent interaction to this emerging space.


    J. Woolsey

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