Digital Signage

If We Are More Than Billboards, Then Stop Saying Billboards

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Nick Coston

by Nick Coston
Media Buyer and Out of Home Manager

While talking on the phone earlier today to a large national advertiser who has spent millions on everything BUT out of home, OOH to those of us on the inside, she asked me if I was referring to “billboards”. After I slammed my head on my desk multiple times, I said that why yes, billboards. But billboards are just a part of OOH. In fact not all OOH are boards on old wooden poles at the side of Route 1 near an exit. She laughed at first, but asked me to explain. 

So I did. Not only did I explain, but I blatantly stole a line that my OOH buddy, David Matera, told me last week. David is an industry legend, far smarter and more talented than I am, so why not steal his lines? They seem to work for him just fine. 

I told her that billboards are a term from the past, that we now refer to any advertising you see when you leave your house as  “out of home”. 

“When you hit the street and see a transit shelter with a T-Mobile ad in it, that’s me, that’s out of home. Then when you get in your car and drive down the road and see a 12 x 24 poster yelling at you that you can save money on GEICO Auto Insurance, that’s me again, that’s OOH. HA! That really was me up until 6 months, but but I digress.

Further down the road as you enter the freeway there’s a big billboard that’s all lit up, and ads flip every 8 seconds to another ad, electronically. In fact you caught 2 ad spots, McDonalds telling you that breakfast is served all day now, and whoosh comes the next flip to a Toyota Highlander ad. Sorry that’s me again, that’s OOH. How revolutionary. 

But wait there’s more. You need gas, so you stop at the Sunoco. A voice greets you when you go pump your fuel, a TV on the pump tells you the local weather, how to bake a cherry pie and then she-zam! a video ad for Capital One runs inviting you in to their local cool new lobbies. That’s Gas Station Television, GSTV, and that’s me again, that’s OOH. And it’s only 10:15 am, holy cow, you’ve seen 5 OOH ads. This business sure is working for me.

Hey, it’s all me, and all OOH.

Adload digital OOH display welcomes ArtPop

By 11:30 am you’ve seen the Adload digital advertising screen on back of a big rig in front of you for around 5 miles, you’ve seen all 8 spots several times and your husband already took note of a few web sites to look at. You guessed it, that’s me again. Really me. That’s OOH.

You go to drop the kids off at the beach and overhead is an older bi-plane, dragging a huge banner ad for Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill. It’s 2 for 1 shot night and it’s hogfish season. Hogfish is awesome. Who knew?  Yep, that’s me up there flying the plane. That’s OOH. 

So by now you are getting the theme here. By the time you have gone to the Mall, seen the digital displays at the entrances reminding you of the glitzy products for sale there, standing in line at a fast food place not knowing that the digital displays with the menus on them are rotating ads, and finally seeing that spooky TV screen in the mirror playing ESPN while you wash your hands, they are running ads too. How do they do that? That’s me in the mirror again. Boo! That’s OOH. 

Near the exit on the way home you see a big static billboard with Stuckey’s on it.  Stuckey’s! A friendly reminder to a bygone era, from me to you to buy some pecan roles. You buy 5 pecan rolls, 2 chili-cheese dogs and a chocolate shake. And some pork rinds. Burp. That’s me behind the counter. That’s OOH. Again. 

By the time you pick up the kids, seen more roadside static and digital billboards, stopped at the other Mall to charge your Tesla at a Volta charging station, you have 2 cars you see, there’s a nice, clear digital screen playing multiple ad copy. That’s me charging your car. For free. That’s OOH. 

It’s 6:00 pm, you’ve arrived home. You’ve probably seen over 20 types of outdoor advertising. 20 Different OOH vendors. Over 50 ads, in one day.

And I’m still out there working, right now.  24/7. I don’t go home.

I am everywhere you are and I’m way more than a billboard.

I am OOH!”

Thanks Dave. Have a pecan roll. 

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