Education, Insights at Annual OOH:NOW Conference

The Ad Club of New York’s annual OOH: NOW conference showcased the many ways data and technology are enhancing OOH’s importance in today’s media plans. What follows is a review of the education and insights offered during this sold-out half-day event. The Ad Club of New York’s annual OOH: NOW conference showcased the many ways data and technology are enhancing OOH’s importance in today’s media plans. What follows is a review of the education and insights offered during this sold-out half-day event.

Creative Impact

Clear Channel Outdoor CMO Dan Levi and Tim Gordon, Executive Creative Director at Droga5, reviewed the powerful impact of using OOH to tell stories that resonate with people and create engagement. Gordon stressed the need to connect with people to successfully communicate brand messaging. He shared Droga5’s philosophy about disruption as an end result, not an initial goal. Droga5 tries to develop the most influential message and then analyze channels like OOH for ability to support a strategic delivery. Gordon believes data can enhance the art of storytelling by making it more salient, but urged caution in not allowing data to override the story.

Media Buying

Tommy Teepell, Lamar Advertising CMO, and Kris Magel, President – Media Clients for Dentsu Aegis, discussed OOH opportunities in today’s environment, where agencies are pressed for both time and budget. Magel believes the first filter many agencies use in evaluating media mixes is whether a channel fulfills a “must-have” or a “nice-to-have” role. Typically, TV and digital (search, mobile, social) occupy the must-have space, while historically OOH has been considered nice to have. However, Magel pointed out many of the best campaigns in the world now include OOH – the result of today’s integrated and collaborative approach between marketers and creatives.

OOH’s ability to connect brands with people as they live their lives is one of the medium’s essential capabilities, according to Magel. He stressed the importance of ensuring OOH connections occur during the most relevant consumer moments to drive engagement.

Teepell and Magel noted how the flexibility and immediacy of digital OOH has enhanced the media plan role OOH can play. The wide availability of location-based data is also enhancing OOH as a media choice by delivering measurability and accountability. Magel’s recommendation for incorporating OOH in media plans included:

– Be specific
– Execute intentionally
– Incorporate location & context

Deirdre McGlashan, Global Chief Digital Officer at MediaCom, shared with OUTFRONT Media EVP/Chief Revenue Officer Clive Punter her embrace of OOH because “it works” – providing opportunities to create spectacle and breaks up consumers’ days. She and Punter reviewed the exposure, engagement, and advocacy path OOH provides, noting it provides consumers a return to the real world. McGlashan perceives all OOH locations as digital-capable because consumers are all carrying digital devices. She recommended OOH take a lesson from digital and focus on its ability to converge with other media through same-reference comparisons such as audience measurement. This focus on seamless integration will enhance the flow of budgets to OOH.

Data & Programmatic

Stephanie Gutnik, VP Business Development, moderated a panel discussion on OOH data ad programmatic buying with Karen Chan of Media Math, Katie Ford of Amobee, and Casey Winheim of Omnicom Media Group. The panel agreed data, technology, and programmatic (DTP) are reinvigorating OOH as new precision capabilities enhance OOH opportunities and provide a critical link to the digital space. To fully realize the upside offered by DTP, the OOH industry needs to continue to standardize, provide inventory availability, align on vision, improve measurement and scale, and recognize programmatic to help lift OOH to a national level.

The panel agreed that programmatic is less than 30 percent in the US, but can grow significantly through multi-touch attribution. 2019 is projected to be a break-through year for programmatic OOH. While many clients remain focused on location-based buying, the private marketplace (PMP) is now the largest programmatic component. Open auction will grow in scope but can be used in tandem with PMP, not requiring an either/or approach. Transparency is critical in the programmatic space, but OOH isn’t significantly challenged by the bot fraud and viewability issues that have troubled digital media. OOH’s finite inventory availability actually strengthens marketplace position, but there needs to be a continual focus on understanding how OOH is valued in the auction world to control the industry’s future.

Brand Keynote – The CW Network

“I love OOH!” was the opening statement from Caty Burgess, SVP Marketing & Media Strategies for The CW. While noting the importance of data in today’s ad ecosystem, she cautioned on its use for broad generalizations. Her bottom line on data: use it responsibly and not in a vacuum. Burgess cited The CW’s execution of this maxim through the three critical components of the human system they employ to do OOH – mind, heart, and gut. Her closing message to the audience was to have fun out there in the OOH space.

Content in Context 

Joe Mandese, Editor-in-Chief of MediaPost, moderated panelists Sean McCaffrey of GSTV, Raina Enand of, Melissa Rosenthal of Cheddar, and Ron Bloom of ReachMe TV is a discussion about DOOH content. Bloom believes DOOH is bifurcating by simultaneously promoting something and offering entertainment in a compelling short-form video. utilizes OOH to deliver the right message at the right location to drive conversion rate and brand sentiment with an inviting, rather than invasive approach via native ad focus.

McCaffrey believes legacy issues around targeting and measurability have been addressed by the many offerings in the OOH and DOOH space. The panelists stressed the importance of starting with a strategic communications plan before progressing to discussions about locations, screen size, and creative message. is currently leveraging DOOH for holiday buying.
Creating stopping power with the customer is the end goal, and that requires contextual relevance and compelling content. DOOH is driving retail transaction conversions enhanced by the growing use of data. GSTV shared a recent automotive example where a $1M investment produced $17M in sales.

Creative Spotlight 

Ryan Kutscher, co-Founder and Creative Director of Circus Maximus, said he typically relies on OOH for top-of-funnel impact to drive awareness and generate entertainment. He supplements OOH with digital media for targeted, mid-to-low funnel actions such as conversion. Kutscher stressed the need for brands to address all levels of the funnel and cited the magic that can happen between OOH and digital. Noting the rapid changes of the media world, he said new advertising truths don’t mean old truths no longer apply; he sees a bright future for OOH as it becomes even more trackable.