November 2011 Question of the Month

November 30, 2011

"DOOH networks offer a lot of creative flexibility for advertisers:  Traditional full-screen commercials; L-box; localized promotion; content sponsorship; mobile integration, etc.  To what extent are advertisers taking advantage of these opportunities?  Which are the most prevalent?"

Answers:

Dave Matera, OOH Pitch, Inc.

In our experience, the most utilized of DOOH’s flexible options have been localized targeting—practically mandatory for any DOOH campaign that we h

Lawrence Chang, Calgary Telus Convention Centre

DOOH networks here are still not as prevalent as in the US, and I believe that most here are still learning its capabilities.  Due to the emerging

Mark Zwicker, DW+P | St. Joseph Content

For the most part, I believe that advertisers are primarily being influenced by the organizations that either own or sell network space.

Brian Hasenbauer, indoorDIRECT

To some degree the amount of flexibility and capability that each network uniquely represents might be seen by the networks as an advantage or poin

Jeremy Gavin, ScreenFeed

We're seeing a lot more of the sponsoring of content happening this year.

Lyle Bunn, BUNN Co.

The combination of “art” and “science” that defines the “Content” of dynamic place-based media is advancing as advertisers are taking better advant

Jack Sullivan, Starcom Worldwide

From my position clients seem to be sticking with the traditional full-screen commercials.  It's a decision that leans on simplicity, speed and cos

Vernon West, Lowe's Companies

From my chair, context it key.  In a retail environment, product vendors are always looking for opportunities to message to customers.  Recently, w

David Saleme, Columbus Regional Airport Authority

The LCD network at Port Columbus International Airport includes screens in the ticket lobby, concourses, baggage claim, and an outdoor digital bill

Adrian Weidmann, StoreStream Metrics

Recent announcements such as McTV as an in-store television channel and the continued focus on ‘reach and frequency’ as the primary goal of media b

Bob Stowe, Wendy's International

When we consider the Marketing efforts of advertisers, we’re actually thinking about two distinct groups: the advertising Brand with its internal M

Daniel Wilkins, N2

To make a generalization, I don’t think advertisers are utilizing the opportunities available to them enough or to the fullest extent.  We have see

Peter Vrettas, EDR Media, LLC

It appears that many advertisers (and their agencies) do not yet understand the power of digital signage, nor its unique audio and visual requireme

Dan Levi, Zoom Media & Marketing

Creative opportunities vary by Digital Place-based Network based on a range of factors, including screen layout, consumer viewing experience, locat

David Bruce, RMG Networks

We still see full-screen, full sight, sound and motion video as the most engaging and requested ad format.

Nevada Colwell, Thomas & Mack, Sam Boyd Stadium, Cox Pavilion UNLV

They are able to mix branding and engagement with the properly executed promotion via the tools that their audience carries on their person mobile

Loren Goldfarb, MediVista Media/Everwell

Many networks offer a variety of creative options, but our experience and anecdotal evidence suggest that most clients focus on traditional creativ

Matthew Brown, Servus

One of the greatest things about DOOH networks and the opportunity for advertisers is the innovation and creative flexibility available.  Innovatio

Dave Matera

President, OOH Pitch, Inc.

In our experience, the most utilized of DOOH’s flexible options have been localized targeting—practically mandatory for any DOOH campaign that we have run.  Next most prevalent has been day-parting and strategic rotation of creative within short time frames.  Finally, mobile activations are integrating more seamlessly and effectively with DOOH.

Overall, though, advertisers are still approaching DOOH tentatively and are only beginning to explore the myriad of options of flexibility the medium has to offer.  That said, the advertisers who have leveraged DOOH’s flexibility have been thrilled with the results.

Lucas Peltonen, Digital Out-of-Home Director, OOH Pitch, Inc., contributed to this response.

Laura Davis-Taylor

SVP Managing Director, BBDO Shop Work

Great question. Advertisers are very interested in these new 'alternative out-of-home' media opportunities for the obvious reason that it's now harder than ever to reach people with an advertising message. But they are also more aware than ever that the closer you get to the point of sale, the more potential for the message to drive consumer action. Thus, they are starting to look at media across the channels of home, life and store.

The challenge is that it's a lot of complexity to add to the traditional media buying process. When someone plans and buys established media such as TV, print, radio, billboards and Internet, there are tools that make it easy for them. Lots of buying networks exist that mitigate time and effort. These new alternative media vehicles are often still within their own ecosystems and it takes a lot of time to find them, negotiate, buy and try to verify compliance with each and every one of them. Then you add complexity to try to measure results from them all. As marketing teams and media buying firms are being pushed to do more with less, this is not good for the industry. This is why offerings that have consolidated planning and buying and cover lots of media footprint get the buys...and why those that do not are struggling. It's also why mobile is getting a lot of these dollars--they made it easy for brands and firms to plan, buy and measure it.

Groups like Adcentricity, Seesaw and others are on the right track with their efforts. Here's hoping that they can start repping lots of genres of DOOH to make it easy for everyone and see some real investment traction in 2012!

Lawrence Chang

IT Manager, Calgary Telus Convention Centre

DOOH networks here are still not as prevalent as in the US, and I believe that most here are still learning its capabilities.  Due to the emerging nature of this technology, advertising is still mostly limited to traditional full screen commercials and localized promotion.   Mobile integration is starting to creep into the public mindset, but is by no means used as widely as in the US.   With maturation of the technology and new installations, we will see advertisers evolve to use DOOH to its fullest capabilities.

Mark Zwicker

V.P. and General Manager

For the most part, I believe that advertisers are primarily being influenced by the organizations that either own or sell network space.

On the least effective side of the equation, we have networks that will pretty much publish any content they receive, as long as they’re paid to do so. One of the worst examples being broadcast commercials simply being re-used without audio. The result is often what I call “talking heads”; actors with lips moving but no sound, which is disastrous. Another poor example is low quality, static content, which does not leverage the HD capabilities and dynamic nature of the medium.

Thankfully there are also networks that have much higher standards. In these examples we see great effort being made to provide advertisers with clear guidelines on the type of content that will be most effective on the network. We also see much more information being provided on the screen locations, dwell times and day-parts. This richer information, allows advertisers to truly get the most for their media spend.

Ideally, I would like to see advertisers and their agencies have a deeper understanding of DOOH and the great potential of dynamically communicating with the customer, in many cases, at the point of purchase. In this preferred state, we would see content that was specifically created for this medium, taking full advantage of the technology. Additionally, content would be appropriately for the various screen locations (dwell time), properly day-parted and where applicable, geo-targeted. I would also like to see more campaigns that have mobile integration, providing the customer with a truly personalized experience. Lastly, all stakeholders should strive to truly integrate DOOH into the overall marketing mix.

Until we reach the point of greater understanding and acceptance of DOOH has a mainstream medium, we will continue to see a great divide between the really good and the really bad applications. With the advantage clearly going to those that choose to embrace.

Brian Hasenbauer

Vice President of Marketing, indoorDIRECT

To some degree the amount of flexibility and capability that each network uniquely represents might be seen by the networks as an advantage or point of differentiation from competitors but it's my opinion that is has created more confusion as agencies try to plan campaigns with too many options to choose from.

Be it full screen, day parting, sponsored content, mobile messaging or long form content we can do it all but if the campaign calls for simply a :15 or :30 second spot all of these other options just confuse the planner and decrease the chances of being included in the buy.

In an industry that's struggling with wide spread adoption by agencies and that want's to be thought of as a mature industry it's probably best for networks and the industry to focus on selling standard :15 and :30 second ad units in standard shapes and sizes and let the clients ask for additional capabilities and features.  Leading a sales pitch with all the bells and whistles is sure to create more confusion and decrease the chances of being included in a plan unless the client / agency is looking for something out of the norm or is asking specifically for full screen, geo targeting etc.

Our approach is to start with the basics first - why our venues and demographics are the best match for targeting a specific consumer profile and then determine the most effective ad unit to reach them.   As long as you start with the goal in mind (reaching consumers at the right place and right time) the ad unit used to reach them is less important and should enhance the campaign and not complicate it.

Jeremy Gavin

Head Content Chief, ScreenFeed

We're seeing a lot more of the sponsoring of content happening this year.

Those involved in digital signage know that sponsorship of weather has been popular for many years, but we're seeing more sponsorship of content that matches with the advertiser brand. For example we have advertisers sponsoring sports scores, cooking segments, health content, and local news headlines.  

I believe the Olympics next year provides a great opportunity for sponsored content across the globe; we're already underway creating solutions with sponsorship in mind.

Lyle Bunn

Strategy Architect, BUNN Co.

The combination of “art” and “science” that defines the “Content” of dynamic place-based media is advancing as advertisers are taking better advantage of demographic targeting, day parting, short form messaging and the ability to achieve multiple communications goals even simultaneously. But a divide still often exists between simply the airing of ads versus the use of the medium for campaigns, which more often seek outcomes and engagements through multiple medium or touch points. Powerful capabilities are provided to communicators and marketers through the abilities of dynamic signage to reach the “audience of many” and generate traffic, or alternatively, reach “audiences of one” and motivate engagement. The expertise to use dynamic place-based signage as a tool willcontinue to advance. No brand category has the inside track on this competency, but "digital" media planners are demonstrating the most advanced thinking based on discussions with more advanced DOOH network operators.

Jack Sullivan

SVP, OOH Activation Director

From my position clients seem to be sticking with the traditional full-screen commercials.  It's a decision that leans on simplicity, speed and costs.  Advertisers move from campaign to campaign quickly and they need their plans to be simple and effective,  My hope is that advertisers will role up their sleeves and give this medium a little more time so that they can review it's options and consider it's strengths.  How great is it to finally have a medium that is close to the point of purchase, near the point of usage, and along the path of decision making.  This is new found territory and advertisers are finding that the power of these screens surpass most other screens.  A new learning curve is necessary to fully take advantage of this medium.  For all of us that can't come soon enough.  Let's keep encouraging innovation and risk taking as we discuss all these creative options with advertisers.  

Vernon West

Project Manager, Transformational Customer Experiences
Lowe's Companies

From my chair, context it key.  In a retail environment, product vendors are always looking for opportunities to message to customers.  Recently, we have partnered with a couple of key vendors to showcase innovative product on endcaps in the store.  We’ve included 24” monitors to better highlight features and benefits.  The content runs full screen.  By working collaboratively, it’s been a win-win for the vendor and for our customers.  In other environments, such as QSR or in a bar, I’d imagine that L-box would be a better format so that scheduled programming can run while giving advertisers opportunity to run promotional messaging.

David Saleme

Concessions Manager, Columbus Regional Airport Authority

The LCD network at Port Columbus International Airport includes screens in the ticket lobby, concourses, baggage claim, and an outdoor digital billboard.  Paid advertisers have learned to maximize the value of their terminal wide purchase by tailoring their message to the intended audience at each location.  For example, a major annual sporting event was able to use ad time prior to an event to promote ticket sales, and then after the event the content shifted to a general "thank you" message to visitors and participants.  The event planners were able to extend their ad dollars by targeting their message by time and topic, and they reached visitors on the way into town, and also on the way out.  Additionally, our internal clients leverage available time on our network for customer service promotions, airport and concession branding efforts, and seasonally relevant messaging.  For the recent remembrance ceremony associated with the 9/11 anniversary the airport was able to simultaneously broadcast a message honoring the day and the lives lost while also streaming live video coverage from New York.  The flexibility of the medium has allowed clients, both internal and external, to push limits of creativity beyond what was capable, or affordable, with static ads.

Adrian Weidmann

Founder and Communication Architect, StoreStream Metrics

Recent announcements such as McTV as an in-store television channel and the continued focus on ‘reach and frequency’ as the primary goal of media buyers suggest that the traditional broadcast model is still the easiest to both implement and value. From a media buyer’s point-of-view it is still all about ‘reach and frequency’. The core question is still, “What is the cheapest way to get the most impressions?” Internet advertising has become an inexpensive channel to reach millions of impressions. Ironically this approach is becoming so prevalent and easy due to online access, it may fast become of little value. What about efficacy and building any brand communication equity? Targeted networks are able to demand a higher CPM (e.g  An entire store catering to pet owners can offer a focused audience). As an industry, I still believe that many ‘digital signage’ networks still are challenged with delivering to the mantra of our industry since the ‘early years’- your message, anytime, anyplace.

Bob Stowe

Director, Marketing Services, Wendy's International

When we consider the Marketing efforts of advertisers, we’re actually thinking about two distinct groups: the advertising Brand with its internal Marketing Department, and it’s Agency with the Account Managers, Strategic Planners, Creative Team and Media Buyers.  These two functional partner groups decide how, when, why and where to spend the client’s advertising dollars.  The decisions on future spending are reached after painstakingly researching the results from their latest past effort and determining how best to improve on where they have traditionally been.  They are “chasing eyeballs”, to use a somewhat archaic term. 

Certainly DOOH offers a new avenue, with unimagined creative opportunities.  But the very “newness” of the medium makes it difficult to evaluate, difficult to measure, and difficult to justify spending huge creative dollars for the message.  Neither the Agency nor the Marketing Team has much experience in the medium, so too frequently they rely on past proven techniques.  Rare is the advertiser who will risk their tight budgets on unique techniques, unless those techniques are brought to them by a third party – a promotional partner. 

Promotional partners are looking for the “pizzazz” that can make the difference between a same-old-same-old effort and one that pushes the sales needle for both parties.  That’s where we’ll see the most unique and creative efforts in DOOH, and that’s how National Advertisers will become comfortable with DOOH Networks. 

Daniel Wilkins

President, N2

To make a generalization, I don’t think advertisers are utilizing the opportunities available to them enough or to the fullest extent.  We have seen more and more advertisers taking advantage of hyper-local messaging and mobile integration, including starting to dip into newer technologies like NFC.  We we see the most of is advertisers taking advantage of DOOH’s ability bring a localized promotion to a specific audience. 

Peter Vrettas

CEO, EDR Media, LLC

It appears that many advertisers (and their agencies) do not yet understand the power of digital signage, nor its unique audio and visual requirements.  As a result they continue to provide traditionally-formatted, full-frame spots originally created for broadcast television – and hope for the best at point of sale. Unfortunately, image size, readability and audio can all become issues when repurposing this media. Localized promotions are an area of unrealized potential. Although many platforms tout the capability, users frequently underestimate the infrastructure and commitment it takes to stay current.  Mobile integration is still more of a promise than a reality, except for those networks backed by a comprehensive marketing media strategy.

Dan Levi

SVP, Digital Media & Strategic Partnerships
Zoom Media & Marketing

Creative opportunities vary by Digital Place-based Network based on a range of factors, including screen layout, consumer viewing experience, location type, content mix, etc.  Which opportunities are right for a given advertiser, and which opportunities are being utilized by advertisers, will completely depend on the networks & advertisers in question.  At Zoom, we operate 2 primary networks: ZoomFitness, in health clubs & gyms; and ZoomSocial, in bars & nightlife venues.  Opportunities for advertisers are different in each, and these differences are driven by the differences in consumer experience. 

For example, in ZoomFitness, a network with multiple screens and ambient audio available throughout the gym, the primary ad creative is a 15 second TV spot.  Zoom also integrates clients into Fitness content and customizes creative to support local retailer activation.  In ZoomSocial, a digital signage network without audio, primary ad creative is also a 15 second TV spot, but the network offers multiple opportunities for content sponsorship and mobile/social media integration.

Industry wide, the Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA) established a Standard Advertising Unit (SAU) that is supported by the overwhelming majority of DPAA member networks.  The SAU simplifies this issue by demonstrating that most networks can run ad creative that already exists and is running on other complementary media.  More information about the SAU can be found on the DPAA website: http://dp-aa.org/StandardAdvertisingUnit.php

David Bruce

EVP, Media Products & Partnerships
RMG Networks

We still see full-screen, full sight, sound and motion video as the most engaging and requested ad format. We are also seeing more interest in alternative formats such as L-Frame for in-venue notices and promotions versus 3rd party ad sales. Mobile continues to be a significant area of growth for us, with many advertisers looking to combine awareness based DOOH media with the activation of mobile.

Nevada Colwell

Director of MultiMedia
Thomas & Mack, Sam Boyd Stadium, Cox Pavilion UNLV

They are able to mix branding and engagement with the properly executed promotion via the tools that their audience carries on their person mobile phone, touch pad, laptop, etc. All of them are prevalent it just depends on the creative approach to utilizing what they have at their disposal.

Loren Goldfarb

COO, MediVista Media/Everwell

Many networks offer a variety of creative options, but our experience and anecdotal evidence suggest that most clients focus on traditional creative such as standard TV commercials.   While we offer L-box placement, localized promotion and other non-standard opportunities, the majority of requests we receive are for traditional spots.   (One exception is content sponsorship.   We are fielding more questions from clients about sponsoring our Everwell video segments.) Client interest in more creative options might be related to the type of advertiser and network venue.   As a network in doctors' offices, we cater to health care advertisers who might be more conservative than, say, youth-oriented packaged goods companies. 

Matthew Brown

Manager, Digital Experience - Marketing, Transit
Servus

One of the greatest things about DOOH networks and the opportunity for advertisers is the innovation and creative flexibility available.  Innovation can occur at the network level in terms of what the operator can provide to the advertiser, and at the content creation level, which could be with the operator or could be with an agency responsible for the campaign creative.  The great thing is that an advertiser is not limited to one or the other; they have the ability to take advantage of both at any time. A great example of this that we could see a lot more of in the future is near field communications and mobile integration.  Extending the experience to a person’s personal device and allowing them to carry it with them is something that would seem very appealing to advertisers, as people tend to share what they enjoy and a well-executed campaign involving a more focused individual experience is certainly memorable.  Networks are embracing the technology, partnering with other platforms to provide even greater services such as localized promotion and social media branding, and extending the services and opportunities to the advertisers.  Advertisers need to focus on their content strategy and how they deliver through the network in order to take advantage of the technology.  The adoption rate is not as much a concern today if you execute well, because the connection to the innovation should not be the driver of the campaign or content, merely an extension of it in order to segment and focus your audience.  Advertisers that do not rely on the innovation, but that are willing to embrace it and include it as it becomes available from the networks they deal with will see greater results as adoption increases, and in a way that should not increase the overhead dramatically on the campaign or content creation or the creative needed in support.

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