December 2011 Question of the Month

December 21, 2011

"What were some milestone events, product/service releases, ad campaigns using DOOH, etc., that occurred in 2011 that you think will have the most impact on the digital signage/digital out-of-home industry going forward?"

Answers:

John Miller, Lamar Advertising

Lamar had a few DOOH campaigns that truly were industry changing. 

Lyle Bunn, BUNN Co.

As “SoLoMo” was used to describe the convergence of Social, Local and Mobile to achieve“audience of one” engagement, Digital Signage and Dynamic Pl

Pat Hellberg, The Preset Group

The Digital Place-based Advertising Association Media Summit this fall saw roughly 400 people spend a day talking about the medium in ways that wer

Dan Alpern, Alpern Media

As a resident of Southern California, I've been interested and impressed with the McDonald's Digital OOH Channel.

Jonathan Brawn, Brawn Consulting

There are four elements to digital signage that were introduced in 2011 that I think will have impact in 2012.

Bob Stowe, Wendy's International

It is not so much that any one event or campaign from 2011 stands out.  Rather, it is the proliferation of DOOH-based efforts from all segments – r

Philip M. Cohen

One word - “Interactive.” The growing applications of new technologies that create dynamic immersive experiences are really shaping an exciting fut

Daniel Wilkins, N2

I think the use of facial recognition technology will push the envelope for Digital Place-Based Media in 2012.  An example of how this technology c

Lawrence Chang, Calgary Telus Convention Centre

The most innovative product I’ve seen in the last few months would be translucent interactive digital displays.   Embedded within glass fixtures, o

Vernon West, Lowe's Companies

Wow!  This is a hard one.  The digital signage/digital out-of-home industry has really changed over the last few years.  It’s not where I would hav

Len Dudis, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Perhaps an obvious conclusion, the 2011 campaigns and new uses of digital signage that have targeted very largest and broadest of audiences will li

Loren Goldfarb, Everwell/MediVista Media

For the past few years, we've been hearing about the challenges agencies face planning and buying DOOH inventory; there are too many networks and t

Peter Vrettas, EDR Media, LLC

Here are some of the fascinating developments in 2011 that captured our imagination at EDR Media, and could impact this industry in the long-term:

Matthew Brown, Servus

2011 was an exciting year for digital signage and there are many milestones, releases, and campaigns that we could look back on in terms of their i

David W. Saleme, Columbus Regional Airport Authority

In addition to the opportunity to see the latest technological developments in action, the 2011 Digital Signage Expo provided ideas and consultatio

Randy Dearborn, MGM Resorts International

Integration and a wider acceptance of QR codes on digital signage. The beginning of social network interaction with digital signage.

Adrian Weidmann, StoreStream Metrics, LLC

What struck me during the past several months is the apparent movement of investment dollars with respect to our industry.

Margot Myers, Platt Retail Institute

The push for cross-channel marketing moved the industry forward this year and will drive continuing changes and improvements.  Early thoughts about

John Disher, Cardinal Health

While I can’t speak directly to what other networks have done specifically, I can tell you the couple of areas that have had the most impact on Pha

Dave Matera, OOH Pitch, Inc.

There are so many exciting developments, both within our own experience and the industry in general.  Three highlights are:

John Miller

Vice President & Director of National Sales
Lamar Advertising

Lamar had a few DOOH campaigns that truly were industry changing. 

The first Firehouse's - Stripes Twitter campaign.  The concept of sending live tweets to DOOH is nothing new but the concept of "earned" media where the client could retweet back to the consumer an actual image of there tweet live on a digital is what inspired many conversations and the spread of @stripestacos twitter handle is what is fresh and new for the industry.  We'll continue to evolve in this arena and have in the past 6 months with more and more national brands looking to "continue the conversation" from social to digital, it's the earned media and the viral talk of a brand that is key to a DOOH success. (please see attached for the case study)

The second Empower Media - Meijer "Wisdom of the Crowd" campaign.  The concept was just like the old Sunday circular but online version live to digital.  The more individuals click on the images online that that specific image text and offer would stream live to the digital in real time.  The concept of Wisdom of the Crowd is a group of people determine the offer rather than the brand telling you what is important.

This will continue to grow into 2012 as we've seen specific digital request for these type of capabilities.

Lyle Bunn

Strategy Architect, BUNN Co.

As “SoLoMo” was used to describe the convergence of Social, Local and Mobile to achieve“audience of one” engagement, Digital Signage and Dynamic Place-based grew in its positioning as an enabling media. Its ability to motivate hand-held opt-in, downloads, mobile browsing and commerce have made digital signage an important devise for marketers and communicators. Its ability to also deliver messages to targeted and larger audiences make it a central capability in the communications continuum.

Pat Hellberg

Principal, The Preset Group

The Digital Place-based Advertising Association Media Summit this fall saw roughly 400 people spend a day talking about the medium in ways that were insightful and constructive, and the  big deal was that the crowd was probably 2/3 from the agency world. There have definitely been some events in the past that have pulled in agency people, but not to this scale and level of interest and understanding. The event attracted some very senior people, who control or influence huge media spends from brand customers, and they knew and understood the opportunities and limitations of the medium.

This level of participation by the agencies, if sustained, will change digital signage/digital out-of-home in dramatic fashion.

Dan Alpern

Marketing Director, Alpern Media

As a resident of Southern California, I've been interested and impressed with the McDonald's Digital OOH Channel. In particular the segment that focuses on local athletes has generated engaging discussion in store between customers that's hard to ignore (observed during a few recent visits). Seeing customers get excited and discuss a topic presented by a marketer is always interesting to industry professionals. I believe this will raise the bar in 2012 for Digital OOH in all spaces.

Jonathan Brawn

Principal, Brawn Consulting

There are four elements to digital signage that were introduced in 2011 that I think will have impact in 2012. The first element is the proliferation of mobile devices and interaction in a handheld format on smart phones and tablets with advertising and digital signage. An example of this would be QR codes, or the growth of social media interactivity like Foursquare. The second element is based in technology, and relates to the clear LCDs that we are only beginning to see on the market. This takes digital signage to the next level, and achieves a degree of “attention getting” that is not possible with a traditional flat panel display. Perhaps a third advancement revolves around the concept of what we call a “virtual concierge” where videoconferencing technology is embedded into the display, allowing for high quality remote communication and services. The final milestone I predict that will impact digital signage well into 2012 and beyond is the integration of social media as a whole. Facebook and Twitter have changed how we communicate at a fundamental level, just like the growth of smartphones and mobile internet, and as digital signage embraces this trend and these services, it will change how we look at advertising and business communication.

Bob Stowe

Director, Marketing Services
Wendy's International

It is not so much that any one event or campaign from 2011 stands out.  Rather, it is the proliferation of DOOH-based efforts from all segments – restaurants, retail, automotive, even the home improvement sector – which signifies a quantum shift towards the acceptance of DOOH as a legitimate Marketing Tool and a contender for the valuable Marketing Budget dollars.  Advertisers and Ad Agencies alike are leaping toward Digital efforts to reach their target consumers.  We’re at a watershed moment in Digital history. 

Philip M. Cohen, Care Media Holdings Corp.

President/CEO
Care Media Holdings Corp.

One word - “Interactive.” The growing applications of new technologies that create dynamic immersive experiences are really shaping an exciting future for digital signage. Programs such as Starbuck’s Interactive Storefronts promoting Tazo Tea and Kraft's Interactive Meal-Planning Solution, to demonstrate a couple of examples,  are creating entertaining content  aligned with highly targeted consumer messaging and relevance.   Importantly, these interactive technologies drive quick and meaningful performance-based data and ROI measurement. I believe we can expect to see this trend be a significant force in 2012 as digital signage continues to evolve as a critical platform for interactive trans-media integration and consumer engagement at the point of influence.

Daniel Wilkins

President, N2

I think the use of facial recognition technology will push the envelope for Digital Place-Based Media in 2012.  An example of how this technology changes the way the consumer interacts with a brand is Jell-O’s vending machine test which uses facial recognition software to determine who is interacting with the machine and how to respond.  The promotion targets adults and reacts based on the age of the consumer.   “If the machine senses a child, it shuts off, and a panel lights up, with the words, ‘Sorry, kid. You’re too young to experience indulgence like this. Please step away so the adults can get their free treat.’”  In order for an adult to get the sample, they must be recognized by the vending machine and use a bar code or text code via mobile phone in order to limit the number of samples per person.  This type of innovation showcases a breakthrough in our industry and glimpse into the future of how brands will interact with consumers on the go.  While privacy issues come into play, the trend of giving some personal data for a coupon, sample or other value proposition continues to grow. 

Lawrence Chang

IT Manager
Calgary Telus Convention Centre

The most innovative product I’ve seen in the last few months would be translucent interactive digital displays.   Embedded within glass fixtures, or projected onto transparent surfaces, these bring a new level of engaging advertising, promotions, and interaction right where the product would happen to be, such as a freezer/cooler door, display cases, or store windows. 

Vernon West

Project Manager, Transformational Customer Experiences
Lowe's Companies

Wow!  This is a hard one.  The digital signage/digital out-of-home industry has really changed over the last few years.  It’s not where I would have predicted it would be 3 – 4 years ago when I first discovered it.  In 2011 we certainly saw some big advancements.  The spectacular Coca-Cola 125th Anniversary display was one of the most extraordinary executions of digital signage I’ve ever seen.  This leads me to believe that the cost of entry is coming down fast.  Certainly this is something to keep an eye on. 

I’m also inspired by the new technologies that are coming into market in very creative ways.  Just yesterday I saw a cool execution for activating magnetic ink on packaging when the product is place on the shelf.  It will be very interesting to see what lays ahead 2012 and beyond.

Len Dudis

Director of IT, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Perhaps an obvious conclusion, the 2011 campaigns and new uses of digital signage that have targeted very largest and broadest of audiences will likely have the most impact on the more immediate direction of the industry.  Regional implementations of digital information channels in several large fast food chains this year are worth watching to see how or if they impact consumer purchasing decisions and how patrons react to the technology.  Do they see it as helpful or useful to their purpose in being there?  Do they see it as a distraction?  Or are they simply indifferent to it?  Those answers will most definitely drive the decision on any future expansion of this type of medium in a quick service setting.  Large format digital signage implementations, such as recent interactive campaigns in Times Square, are also creating a consumer buzz.  We’re already starting to see other “large audience” venues like arenas and amusement parks experiment with large-scale interactive signage.  The questions on the long-term prospect here are the same as above.  To what end goals are the digital displays providing quantifiable justification?  Or to what return on the investment?  The answers to these questions will determine the true impact on the industry going forward.

Loren Goldfarb

COO, Everwell/MediVista Media

For the past few years, we've been hearing about the challenges agencies face planning and buying DOOH inventory; there are too many networks and too few resources at the agency level to manage the workload.   So, entrepreneurs eager to build businesses by filling a need developed aggregators to make buying and selling ads on DOOH networks easier.   But this year we've seen developments in the aggregator universe that suggest the concept isn't working; one aggregator appears to have ceased operations and another is planning significant changes to its business model.    What should we make of these developments?     No network I'm familiar with has ever relied on an aggregator for a significant chunk of revenue; most view any dollars as icing on the cake.   Yet, with the development this year, we have to ask: is the fractured buying process as much of an impediment as we've come to believe?   And, if it is, what else can we do to make buying easier?

Peter Vrettas

CEO, EDR Media, LLC

Here are some of the fascinating developments in 2011 that captured our imagination at EDR Media, and could impact this industry in the long-term: (a) continued integration of multiple consumer-friendly screens, including tablets; (b) technology that enhances the interactive experience, including multi-finger touch and 3D wayfinding; (c) innovative ad metric solutions, including via mobile phone movement; (d) geo-centric messaging, including hyper-local dynamic content; and (e) the proliferation of networks with extremely robust content resources, found everywhere from fast-food giants to the local gas pump. We are looking forward to another great year for DOOH networks.

Matthew Brown

Manager, Digital Experience - Marketing, Transit
Servus

2011 was an exciting year for digital signage and there are many milestones, releases, and campaigns that we could look back on in terms of their impact to the industry, but there are two things that stick out for me from the last year that really helped to define the future of digital signage and especially the expectations around what 2012 will bring.

The first item for me has to be the introduction and advancement of analytics and metrics for digital signage.  It was a hot topic at the beginning of the year as many companies started providing solutions for anonymous video analytics, and I think it continues to be a hot topic as we end the year as there are more case studies we can reference as to the impact and opportunity presented using this exciting new technology.  While video analytics itself is not something that was just introduced in the last year, it has been a hot topic this year in part because of the wider adoption and availability.  For me, the greatest impact to the industry is that this will likely revolutionize the way that DOOH and digital signage networks present and report their impact and reach.  In some cases it will ensure that we are reporting accurate information in terms of audience size and reach, and in other cases it will provide greater insight into the impact and the return on the investment.  The inclusion and implementation of this technology into our digital signage networks will help to push the innovation forward, and will ensure that we are all working towards a greater standard as an industry, especially in terms of how we report on the trends relating to content and audience, which in the end is going to be very beneficial for all of us.

The second item is a bit more general, but it pertains to the advancement of the definition of digital signage, that it is becoming ubiquitous, and that integration with other mediums and as an alternative to traditional face-to-face is a major accomplishment and the beginning of a revolution in the way we think about digital signage.  Our definition of digital signage has come a long way, but one great thing we recognize as an industry is that digital signage is a lot more than just screens running content.  We are not limited in the way we think about digital signage, and the way we measure growth in the industry should continue to evolve as our definition evolves.  Integration with other technology and mediums plays a large part in that.  Mobile integration is a great example.  We are turning people’s personal devices into digital signage displays that they will view and share, extending the audience and providing greater opportunity for out-of-home networks and advertisers.  The blurring of the line between different channels is also really helping to better define digital signage, and increase the opportunity for brands.  TV’s running apps and connected to the internet, TV and print campaigns that include QR codes and web addresses to get more information, near field communications are all great examples of how the innovation in the last year has really helped to boost the presence of the industry, but also legitimizes and strengthens its opportunity for brands and advertisers who are willing to push the boundaries of traditional marketing, and take advantage of the prospects.

David W. Saleme

Concessions Manager, Columbus Regional Airport Authority

In addition to the opportunity to see the latest technological developments in action, the 2011 Digital Signage Expo provided ideas and consultation on two key areas of digital signage development for our industry.  First, it was demonstrated that the measure of the success of a digital signage network should extend beyond the financial justifications associated with calculating the return on investment.  True value to the owner includes the return on the opportunity as well as the revenue stream created.  Through flexibility and delivery options a digital signage network opens new and creative ways to timely convey relevant information into an already dynamic customer environment.  Second, the quality of the content is critical to engaging the public in a meaningful and relevant way. Numerous sessions were hosted that focused on the importance of communicating the right message by developing content beyond simple visual slideshows.  It was immediately clear that the care and attention professional content developers provided would result in imagery and communications that grabbed the attention of the intended audience. The 2011 Digital Signage Expo provided access to members of the industry who helped educate on ways to maximize the benefits associated with a digital signage network and how to fully realize the value of the asset.

Randy Dearborn

VP Multimedia @Guest Technology
MGM Resorts International

Integration and a wider acceptance of QR codes on digital signage. The beginning of social network interaction with digital signage. Inception of tracking analytics in direct interface with digital signage.

Adrian Weidmann

Founder & Principal, StoreStream Metrics, LLC

What struck me during the past several months is the apparent movement of investment dollars with respect to our industry. Despite a harsh economic environment there seems to be a new wave of commitment to the digital out-of-home sector in the form of funding for various projects. Several other points worth noting with respect to digital signage is that digital projects in general are consolidating around e-commerce platforms and there is also an understanding and commitment in the executive suite to cross-channel integration. In many respects, digital signage as we know it is no longer an independent function but rather a worthwhile digital media application perceived by marketing executives as a subset of ‘mobile’.

Margot Myers

Director, Education & Training
Platt Retail Institute

The push for cross-channel marketing moved the industry forward this year and will drive continuing changes and improvements.  Early thoughts about mobile integration aren’t far-reaching enough as smartphones change the way people act in retail environments.  According to Dave Haynes’ Sixteen:Nine blog, a Performics study done in September found that three in five shoppers used their phones for competitive price searches or to look for deals and coupons.  And now that Google Maps has started adding turn-by-turn navigation inside selected shopping centers, airports, etc., the proponents of digital signage for way-finding can’t rest on their laurels. 

Digital signage content management software made the leap this year from premise-based to SaaS to Cloud-based.  The Cloud also becomes the hub connecting digital signage, kiosks, POS terminals, handheld devices, etc.  Expanded options are great for the industry, even if they make things a little more confusing for those just now putting a toe in the water.

The release of DSA’s ROI Calculator was a step toward addressing the industry’s need for quality metrics.  The spreadsheet-based beta model of the tool was released in July.  Matt Schmitt, president of Reflect Systems, chaired the task force that developed the calculator and says, “Understanding the costs and benefits in a comprehensive way lends tremendous clarity to the process.”

Oddly enough, I consider the publication of “Digital Signs and Displays for Dummies” an industry milestone for this year.  Though many industry analysts have not received the book warmly, its existence speaks to the movement of digital signage into the mainstream.

John Disher

Senior Manager, Pharmacy Health Network
Cardinal Health

While I can’t speak directly to what other networks have done specifically, I can tell you the couple of areas that have had the most impact on Pharmacy Health Network (PHN) in 2011.  Rather than continue to blanket the nation with as many screens possible (a strategy that has backfired for numerous networks), we decided to pause on the installs, and really focus on the quality of PHN. In September 2011, Nielsen was commissioned to perform an audience research study in PHN stores.  The goal of the study was to validate the audience that has access to PHN screens, and to provide in-depth information regarding the thoughts, opinions, habits, and make-up of consumers in PHN pharmacies. We are also currently looking at what partnerships make sense moving forward that will help to improve the reach of our network outside of the screen location. This includes integrating mobile and web technologies that make sense for our end-users, as well as looking at other venues that mesh well with pharmacies.  While 2011 was a good year, we feel we have yet to scratch the surface in this ever-changing industry.

Dave Matera

President, OOH Pitch, Inc.

There are so many exciting developments, both within our own experience and the industry in general.  Three highlights are:

  1. Executing buys with portions of TV-earmarked budgets, as complements to larger TV advertising buys.  More such opportunities seem to be on the table moving forward.  Somehow, agencies, planners and brands seem to be starting to understand the synergies between this medium and traditional media.
  2. The early and successful adoption and integration of NFC technology into Digital Place-Based advertising executions.  Using NFC in storefront, street furniture and coffee house venues to continue the conversation with the consumer was a major step forward, at the vanguard of adoption of this new technology that will soon be pervasive.
  3. The general movement of the DPAA and network sales forces toward employing TV sales personnel and working to align the medium with TV.  This movement needs to tread carefully in trying to help the medium by getting access to larger TV budgets and TV plans by not neglecting DOOH’s out-of-home roots.  Failure to separate the medium as its own paradigm and line item by aligning it too closely with any one traditional medium would be a major setback.

We are very exciting to answer this very same question a year from now, and see how far along we have come.

*Lucas Peltonen, Digital OOH Director, OOH Pitch, Inc., also contributed to this response.

Add new comment