As both Director of Innovation and Digital Strategy for Lamar Advertising Company, and a father of triplet three year olds, and an additional two year old, I’d say I’m partially an expert in the subject matter of this post. By day, I spend my time focusing on how the billboard industry will survive and thrive with the coming of flying cars (it’s going to happen!), and at night, I come home to my amazingly brilliant and crazy crew known as the #dallimore4. Everyday I continuously watch them grow not just in size and knowledge, but also in a new age of technology.
My kids no longer have the patience for commercials of any kind — I can literally hear Jacob screaming, “fast forward Dad!” as I type this. For my crew, like many others, it’s just the normal way of life. We have become accustomed to the use of tablets, smartphones, Smart TVs and the ability to get what we want, when we want it: everything is at our fingertips. So why would you ever watch a TV commercial? Today we stream everything and that’s how it’s always been from the eyes of a three year old. Navigating through an iPad is now just as much of a milestone as a child taking his or her first steps. Amelie was able to turn on, open her favorite app, and play games — at the age of one and a half. When we drive to dance class, Ellie (like clockwork) screams into the car voice command “Bluetooth Audio…play Taylor Swift Blank Space.” Wes, before going to bed every night, opens my phone and pulls up his favorite app, Nighty Night Circus. This app allows him to interact with circus animals and put them to bed, and if the experience of putting an animal to bed is too slow, he gets frustrated.
So what does this all mean? In my opinion, it means the evolution of advertising; not only in the type of ads and creative, but also in the way we interact with advertisements. Ads with little to no interaction or without relevant content will be useless. A screen will have to be touch responsive or offer something more. A sort of “transaction” will need to be made in all future successful advertising; consumers will give information for something that is favorable and useful to them. Another observation I’ve noticed in the #dallimore4 is how they multitask with ease and perfection. Voice commanded actions are only the beginning. The connected home, wearables, and driverless cars will soon become commonplace.
Knowing and working for a company and industry that has been around for over 115 years, I have come to understand what evolution means for the advertising business. Billboards have moved from hand paint, to vinyl, to digital; now, to remain successful, the industry needs to move toward connecting mobile devices and wearables with OOH. Everyday I come to work and think about how each hour of my day could be made easier at any given moment based on my specific needs and likes.
Making my observations from the #dallimore4, I realize that what is new to them today, will only be normal for them tomorrow. Understanding that, it is up to the industry to create those innovations, those ideas and concepts, that might be new to consumers today, but by tomorrow will leave them wondering: how did I ever live without it?