Anna Bager Remarks OOH Media Conference 2022

Standing here in front of you, in person, today is a big moment for me. How I have been longing for this.

But today I’m not here to talk about the past, I’m here to talk about the future.

We are back on track and growing, but we can do more, we can do better, and we have a lot of opportunities to realize.

After a two years of saying the word  ‘unprecedented’ far too often, not only has out of home bounced back, but the industry is thriving. While overall ad spending is expected to climb at a healthy rate this year, our digital business is surging, and spending via programmatic channels  should nearly double. For a centuries old medium, we are showing off the kind of growth you expect from a startup. You’ve all seen that in other industries – well, that’s our business right now.

Undoubtedly, out of home is back – and better than ever. The medium is more dynamic, the creative more culturally resonant, and the results more tangible than ever before. This past year saw brands ranging from Apple to Geico to Google to McDonald’s embracing out of home in a major way, we also saw a surge in fashion and challenger brands along with entertainment retaking their foothold in major markets. AND, very important to the health of our industry, a 44% surge in spending from local businesses.

The results speak for themselves. At a time when digital companies boast of click through rates in single digits, a whopping 50% of people exposed to out of home campaigns have told us that they made a purchase shortly after seeing one of our ads.

Simply put, advertising via out of home is as accountable and effective as any option marketers have at their disposal.

While all of that is encouraging and creates optimism, I am still not satisfied, I believe we deserve more.

As we saw yesterday, powerful brands like Montefiore are not just using out of home, but putting out of home campaigns at the center of their media strategy. My argument is – this shouldn’t seem so radical. This should always be the case.

To me, it makes perfect sense, because we keep hearing from brands that they want to do more with our medium, but they aren’t sure how to get started.

That’s both a challenge, and an opportunity.

For too long, out-of-home has been placed to the side. For many marketers, it is not an automatic part of their media mix or media plans.

And I think for too long, we’ve been ok with this. Out of home as a category pulls in roughly 4% of total media spend and that’s not enough!

But things are changing  – faster than brands and media agencies can keep up with. We have in front of us a unique moment  – unprecedented even – to make several leaps up the media food chain, and grab a much bigger share of the pie.

Think about what is happening in the rest of the ad industry. Linear television continues to decline rapidly, and cord-cutting has accelerated thanks to the pandemic-driven boom in streaming.

Reaching customers at scale used to be TV’s bread and butter. Today, this fractured landscape requires advertisers to put together a complicated patchwork of buys to maybe reach an audience approaching what TV historically delivered. And that’s if they can measure it.

Measuring TV advertising, and the very way that it is bought and sold remains in a tremendous state of flux. This has created uncertainty among brands and frustration among consumers who are pounded over the head with the same ads over again and over again. That’s if they watch ad supported TV at all.

Meanwhile, out of home at its core delivers a mass audience like a broadcast medium, with unparalleled reach. And, there is no channel flipping or ad skipping.

Let’s not forget, out of home is also a content channel. In fact, new research from OAAA with  comScore finds that the top ten video out-of-home networks reach 30% more Adults 18-34 than TV.

Not only are we reaching more people than ever with sight, sound and motion – like in television’s heyday, we are delivering ads that people are buzzing about.

Out of home is where people see their favorite ads. Everyone loves a great sign and brands are investing more in creativity because they know OOH is worth it.

The 40% increase in 2022 OBIE entries is proof positive. But what’s telling under those numbers was the type of entries.  Many executions featured custom builds, unique collaborations with tech and other innovations. On top of that, the investment in data enhancements – where data is key to creative impact and results – was abundant.

The truth is people love OOH. They simply crave real-life experiences in tangible, physical public spaces.

This is why we are so sharable. Gen Z and Millennials notoriously repost out of home ads to their social media accounts. A full 85% of consumers said they find out-of-home ads useful, and nearly two-thirds said that out of home ads feature their favorite brand or product. That’s’ because we deliver campaigns that reach the masses, with ads that people notice and love.

The time has come to compete for TV budgets. I want more for us, you all deserve more.

Let’s also examine what is happening in digital media. The very fabric of how digital advertising works – identifying customers online- has been thrown into chaos.

People are pushing back hard against digital tracking.

Regulators are dialing up the pressure, and the biggest companies in tech are changing the rules, choking off access to tracking mechanisms that have long fueled billions in spending.

As a result, brands are pouring resources into acquiring first party data, and limiting their activities to the few giants who have direct relationships with consumers. These marketers want better, safer options – but the pressure on them to prove ROI is higher than ever.

Now consider the investments our industry has made toward making our medium more accessible, interactive, and our campaigns more trackable. We can use data to inform the planning process, validate performance and optimize future campaigns.

In short, we create certainty in an uncertain world. Therefore, we deserve more.

So tell me why we shouldn’t compete with the biggest digital ad platforms? One way to show we belong on the same playing field as the tech giants is to show the world how fast we can move. Our embrace of programmatic platforms, automation and digital screens are our best argument for dispelling any lingering, outdated perceptions about the medium.

That’s why I’m here today to call for us to aim higher than ever before. As the only true broad reach medium left, we have every right to be in conversations with brands looking to decide where to place budgets to reach virtually any audience, large or small, national or local, with speed and precision.

As the only true contextual medium -a medium that is part of the fabric of people’s lives – we can help advertisers drive business in the physical and digital worlds like no other. And now we have the data to prove it. So there should be nothing keeping us from competing for digital ad budgets or TV dollars.

I want to see that 4% become 10%. Because- we- deserve- it.  And marketers are ready!

Naturally, this kind of shift in thinking will take some selling on our part, convincing agencies and traditional brands that out-of-home should have a seat at every table. There are logistical hurdles to overcome, and misconceptions to dispel. But we are worth the risk.

Most importantly, to achieve this shift we have to listen to brands and find out how they want to do business with us. 

OAAA is out there making connections and evangelizing our medium going straight to the source.

We have formed a Brand Council and one of the great benefits has been hearing directly from marketers like IBM, Disney, Little Caesars and Dunkin’.

In our conversations so far, they are telling us that they want to do more with out-of-home. They are truly fans of what we do. But they have plenty of questions and requests. For example, they want a better, data-driven understanding of how out of home works as a full funnel marketing solution. They want to know how advertising in out of home complements other media, and how it helps deliver audiences they have trouble reaching. Many are pushing us for more dynamic creative optimization options, and easy ways to buy ad inventory using their preferred programmatic tools.

Mostly, they want ammunition to help prove that out of home drives their businesses, from sending traffic to stores to delivering shoppers to commerce sites. They share our vision of moving our medium up the food chain to become a core part of most brands’ media strategy.

We also need to ensure we as an industry serve as reflection of the world that we live in, and that we keep creativity and innovation moving forward. We should offer opens arms to all of the newcomers to our medium, from all areas of expertise and all  points of view. OAAA is committed to supporting the movement to increase diversity of our industry – this will not only drive performance across our member organizations, but drive innovation and success.

There is a lot of work to do. None of this will be easy but it will be worth it.  Because we are worth it We already have the answers to these questions. We’ve got the goods. The opportunity is there for taking – if we’re ready to grab it. We deserve more!


Because, Every day, we wrap consumers in brand experiences like no other medium. Think of a people out on the streets, in transit, in cars, travelling, going to events, shopping – consuming OOH in walk by, stand by, drive by experiences., We are there every step of the way, every day.

All of us gathered today know we have a unique and special platform, one that delivers ads that people connect with. Unlike most media, a platform and history we can be proud of. 

I would like to congratulate and applaud our industry – all of us.  

I congratulate the brilliant thinking we saw last night at the OBIES, our members on the sell side for standing tall and fighting back through historic challenges, our buyers and agency specialists for continually making the case for our medium, and keeping us in the game. Our emerging Ad Tech and programmatic sector for pushing our edges and making us smarter.

Finally, I applaud the brands investing in our medium. 

Everyone in this room knows the impact we can have when brands put us at the center of their advertising plans. Now is the time for us to bring this message directly to more marketers, and to demand our shot.

For modern brands, it starts with OOH.

The future is ours. We deserve more!

Thank you.

Modified: 2 years