My Turn: Must-Know News on OOH from OAAA

As OAAA welcomes new leadership in the fall, I want to take this opportunity at the halfway point of 2019 to share with you “must-know” news about the OOH industry and OAAA.

OAAA’s new leader

Soon the OAAA Search Committee plans to make an exciting announcement about the new OAAA president & CEO, who will start in September. You can expect to hear about a tech-savvy, well connected, and innovative media professional with a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the OOH industry. This is a leader who will build on the past successes of OAAA as well as align the industry around a common vision and approach toward OOH’s future in the digital world.

OAAA Innovations Summer Camp

The OAAA Innovations Committee will host its annual summer camp in Washington, DC on July 23. This energetic group of digitally fluent professionals is made up of media companies, tech firms, and agencies. They forge best practices to advance OOH.

The OAAA Innovations Committee just completed a popular series of three OOH programmatic workshop webinars with record registration. You can access the webinar archive here.

Pending constitutional challenge to the Highway Beautification Act

The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule soon on the pending constitutional challenge to billboard law in the Thomas v Schroer case. The side that does not prevail is likely to ask the US Supreme Court to take the case. The OOH industry’s core interest in this matter is to preserve statutory protection of just compensation for the removal of billboards.

OAAA represents the industry in Congress and in court. OAAA Board member Vince Miller of DDI Media refers to OAAA as “insurance” to protect assets and value. Thanks to industry unity, OAAA has never lost a major legislative or legal battle. When organized opposition (Scenic America) sued to attack digital billboards, OAAA was on the prevailing side in court, to protect technological innovation.

Q2 2019 OOH revenue reporting and other data

The OOH industry reported strong full-year 2018 and Q1 2019 revenue results. OAAA is the industry source for revenue reporting and a central source for other key industry statistics. Look for Q2 2019 OOH revenue reports in August.

Universally respected revenue figures from OAAA generate news reports like this VOX post that said “billboards are having a heyday in a digital world.”

In the early days of digital billboard conversions, elected officials and other stakeholders were hazy about the exact number in the United States. OAAA began counting digital billboard inventory — twice a year — to eliminate myth and speculation; the next update occurs this month.

OAAA events

Later this month OAAA will begin accepting entries for the OOH Media Plan Awards. Winners will be presented at the OOH: Now 2019 event on December 5 at Pier 60 in New York. OAAA has been a proud supporting sponsor for this important annual event since its inaugural year.

OAAA is hosting and sponsoring multiple high-profile events in New York this fall:

Members will unite to launch a hyper-targeted industry campaign around Advertising Week in New York between September 23-26. OAAA is bringing back the Feel the Real campaign, with a new twist. OOH’s presence at this international gathering of marketing, ad, and tech professionals grabs attention among 100,000+ attendees and the trade press. Look for more about this compelling campaign launch in the coming weeks.

Another preeminent ad gathering is Digital Signage Week, which takes place the week of October 14. This year, the week of activities opens on Monday evening with a welcome event sponsored by OAAA and other trade groups. Join the festivities in the heart of Times Square when OAAA will introduce the new OAAA president & CEO to the industry.

On Wednesday, October 16, OAAA Chair Sean Reilly will join in a discussion with the association’s new leader during the DailyDOOH Investor Conference. On Thursday, October 17, OAAA sponsors the first annual AdTECH: OOH New York in Lower Manhattan. More details about these exciting events will be available in the coming weeks.

This year, more than 550 campaigns were submitted to the annual OBIE Awards competition honoring OOH creativity. In May, 74 OBIE Awards were presented for excellence in OOH design. Winning creative can be seen at Those eager to compete for the 2020 Platinum OBIE and other prestigious awards will have their chance in early October when the OBIE call for entry opens again.

The OOH Road Show

Each year, OAAA promotes research, innovation, and capabilities of OOH media to agencies that buy our products. Check out the pro-OOH presentation.

OAAA’s 100-stops-a-year Road Show continues through the remainder of 2019. Steve Nicklin plans a return visit to Amazon and will present in Atlanta, Boise, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Detroit, Fresno, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco. He was in Cincinnati last month visiting Procter & Gamble, ad agencies, and local OAAA member offices.

Independent research to help explain, sell, and advocate OOH media

A new OAAA-commissioned study from Nielsen said OOH ads prompted two out of three viewers to take some form of action on their smartphones. This research and four other studies were released at the annual OOH conference in May in Las Vegas.

The industry pioneered research on digital billboards and traffic safety, and then forged partnerships to deliver information on behalf of public safety.

The industry’s foundation supports cutting-edge research, and will also award 12 college scholarships worth more than $40,000 in 2019. The Foundation for Outdoor Advertising Research & Education (FOARE) is led by Paul Cook of Wolverine Sign Works.

OOH Creative Library

OAAA Creative Library

Recently an account executive at a major ad agency asked me: “Does OAAA have a creative library?”

“Of course we do,” I told her before explaining that it’s searchable by many different categories and keywords, houses more than 12,500 OOH images and counting, and is one of the most accessed public tools on the OAAA website.

OAAA’s Creative Library is housed in the online Creative Showcase, which includes guidelines, videos, and presentations on the importance and strength of OOH creative.

You and your customers can test creative in 11 OOH formats using the OOH Mock Up Generator on OAAA’s website. This easy-to-use tool has been accessed nearly 60,000 times and is available to anyone.

Online and in-person networking opportunities

The 2019 OOH Media Conference + Expo attracted a record 1,200+ professionals in May, the world’s biggest gathering of OOH leaders ever. When not networking face-to-face, OOH customers and media companies can locate each other online through OAAA’s website.

The OOH Tech Locator features 170 companies focused on programmatic buying, media planning, measurement, Internet of Things (IoT), and more. OAAA’s OOH Media Locator – accessed more than 47,000 times – is a quick, easy way to find OOH providers in every corner of the country.

Runaway Train 25

OOH industry public service

OAAA has forged a public service partnership with the National 4-H Council to encourage youth to live healthy lifestyles. Preliminary DOOH PSAs are available now, and a comprehensive printed and digital campaign will follow this fall.

The OOH industry currently is participating in the Runaway Train 25 campaign, launched by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). In an effort to help locate missing kids where they are believed to be, hundreds of digital OOH screens across the US are displaying geo-targeted photos of missing kids via a dynamic online feed from NCMEC.

Personal, friendly, knowledgeable support

Each day, from across the country, your colleagues in OOH media turn to OAAA for help to sell, explain the medium, and do their jobs better. A member company from western Pennsylvania just called OAAA seeking to understand and comply with new cannabis-advertising rules. A small billboard company in Oklahoma recently called to ask for advice on designing inventory spec sheets.

OAAA experts can help you advocate. Ken Klein, who came to OAAA from Capitol Hill, testified in tax litigation, validating OOH as a medium of speech in Cincinnati. Our resident attorney Kerry Yoakum is often on the phone prepping members for testimony, and he recently helped draft a local ordinance to allow mobile billboards.

OAAA can also help you position OOH in the marketplace. A member recently requested help in making the case for shifting dollars from TV to OOH. OAAA provided research proving OOH extends the reach of TV, is more favorably viewed by consumers than TV and digital, is the most efficient channel at driving online activation, drives retail foot traffic better than mobile or mobile/desktop combined, and directional OOH drives consumers to stores where they make purchases.

We are glad to help and welcome your inquiry, and the next request after that.

The evolution of OAAA

OAAA will continue to evolve in the changing marketplace. Join me in welcoming and supporting new leadership to embrace our opportunities and to continue growth.

As always, should you have any questions or comments, please contact me at [email protected] or call OAAA at (202) 833-5566. We’re here for you.

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