From the OAAA: Reasserting OOH as a Core Media Buy

A message from Nancy Fletcher OAAA President and CEO

Aspirational, yes. The goal, says former OAAA Chairman Kevin Gleason (Adams + Fairway), is to make OOH more powerful than anyone has yet to imagine.

OAAA’s five-year strategic plan is designed to help the industry get there by making OOH more of a core media buy. We are now in the second year of the industry’s five-year plan.

As we assess progress, I ask three things of you

  • Acknowledge that media, advertising, and communication are changing – and we must adjust to thrive.
  • Commit (or re-commit) to the industry’s five-year goal.
  • Use the many practical tools available to carry out the industry plan.

First, a quick reminder. Our five-year plan – launched November 2016 – was based on unvarnished input from our customers. They told us what they want, how we can improve, and the consequences of living in the past.

Based on hundreds of customer meetings, top CEOs and CMOs from around the industry developed the current five-year plan. The media companies that participated in the process were Adams + Fairway, Clear Channel Outdoor, Intersection, JCDecaux, Lamar Advertising Company, OUTFRONT Media, and Reagan Outdoor Advertising. Next, the OAAA Board of Directors, comprised of CEOs from 30 leading OOH media companies, unanimously embraced the recommendations.

The OOH Vision

The industry vision is to make OOH more of a core media buy. The idea is to elevate OOH among planners, buyers, advertisers, and agencies so it is considered a more fundamental, essential, and core part of the media mix. Everything we are doing as an industry is focused on this single-minded vision.

The OOH Value Proposition

Industry leaders developed a positioning statement and a new value proposition for OOH, to make it more of a core media buy.

The OOH positioning statement:

“In today’s world of clicks, likes, and page views, OOH advertising is a core media buy, because OOH is more creatively impactful, more contextually relevant, and more of a media amplifier than ever before. OOH is the real thing. It can’t be blocked, skipped, or viewed by bots. OOH is always on, surrounding and immersing audiences with real, powerful, advertising, wherever consumers live, work, travel, shop, and play.”

The industry leaders agreed on a new OOH value proposition grounded in the tagline: OOH: Real. Powerful. Advertising.

There are eight attributes that define and differentiate OOH. The three most important attributes are:

  • Creative impact
  • Contextual relevance
  • A media amplifier

The other five attributes are important reasons to believe in OOH because it is:

  • Ubiquitous
  • Connected
  • Data-driven
  • Accountable
  • Innovative

OOH’s Top Priorities List

The strategic planning group set five top priorities the industry needs to do for OOH to become more of a core media buy. As part of our year two check-in, let’s review the list and explore where progress is being made.

1. Use audience + location + data to sell OOH

At Geopath, a more robust measurement system is set to launch this year.

OOH media companies and specialists are mining rich data sources to help advertisers reach specific audiences and to quantify attribution by tracking consumer behavior after exposure to OOH ads. The data, often from mobile phones, is anonymous and aggregated to respect privacy.

OUTFRONT Studios designed this OOH campaign for the San Diego Taco Fest, which is in the running for a 2018 OBIE Award.

2. Elevate OOH creativity for big, bold storytelling

OOH’s creative impact differentiates it from other media and makes brands famous. OOH creative is looking better than ever. The popular OOH Creative Testing Tool is making a difference with more than 40,000 uses from ad agencies and media companies. In recognition of so much good news on the creative front, the industry will celebrate OOH’s creative excellence at the 76th OBIE Awards in May.

OUTFRONT Media launched an in-house boutique creative agency (OUTFRONT Studio), led by national creative director Eddy Herty. Benefits include quality, lowering the barrier for entry for customers who don’t have creative on-hand, and streamlining the creative process.

3. Leverage technology to deploy innovation at scale

Adams OOH + Mobile campaign

We are past the era of high-tech stunts in OOH. Many OOH media companies are having sustainable success packaging OOH with mobile as a seamless media integration. In addition, digital tactics that exploit triggers (weather activations, object recognition) are allowing many advertisers to customize content. These methods are easily transferable across markets and media companies.

4. Integrate the OOH medium into the broader advertising ecosystem

OOH is moving out of its traditional silo. Many OOH media companies are integrating inventory into connected networks and platforms. New Omnicom Benchmarketing ROI benchmarks have been developed, with evidence showing how OOH matches other media channel delivery.

OAAA is active in the Digital Advertising Alliance, along with the other primary media trade groups, working on behalf of privacy self-regulation rather than new government regulation.

And, OOH media planning rates are now included in SQAD, right next to the rates for TV, cable, and radio.

5. Deliver OOH with ease of use, measurable solutions, and provable results

Simplifying the buy/sell process is necessary to grow demand. New automated platforms are readily available. These platforms make buying easy, cutting out steps. OOH media companies of all sizes can benefit. Lakeland Outdoor in Florida (120+ billboard faces) says it gets national business from these buy/sell platforms.

OAAA is working with other industry organizations in unprecedented ways. Five trade bodies are cooperating (DPAA, DSF, IAB, Geopath, and OAAA) to establish universally-accepted DOOH best practices that will be released in May.

New solutions-oriented and results-driven competences are augmenting the industry’s strong sales capabilities. Recent Nielsen research proves the value of posters and digital billboards. The Nielsen OOH activation study proves the ability of OOH to impact online and search behavior.

Hundreds of compelling case studies, judged by experts at the annual Media Plan Awards, are added each year to the library of OOH Effectiveness Case Studies.

OOH Positioning Toolbox

Click here to open a valuable toolbox including the value proposition, talking points, videos, presentations, and sharp-looking promotional materials. You are invited to use all these tools.


I respect individuality and healthy differences among media companies. But, I also know that we as an industry will not achieve our five-year goal unless we commit to a common strategy and complete our “to do” list.

The OOH medium is growing amidst rocketing change. Working on common tactics to reach a mutual goal increases our prospects for continued prosperity.

I look forward to updating you midway through our five-year plan and citing more examples of positive change.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached at [email protected] or (202) 833-5566.

You can download this as a PDF by clicking here.