Member Spotlight | chargeFUZE / adFUZE
A conversation with Joel Martin, SVP, Programmatic Media of chargeFUZE / adFUZE

Member Spotlight | chargeFUZE / adFUZE <br/> <span style='color:#000000;font-size: 18px;'>A conversation with Joel Martin, SVP, Programmatic Media of chargeFUZE / adFUZE</span>

Tell us a bit about your background and what led you to become SVP, Programmatic Media of chargeFUZE / adFUZE.

Joel Martin, SVP, Programmatic Media of chargeFUZE / adFUZE

Two years ago at South by Southwest (SXSW), Colin Duethorn, Global Lead/Revenue Partnerships at Snap Inc., reached out saying he had the perfect role for me and asked if I could join him at a dinner after the expo closed. At this dinner, I met the early chargeFUZE team and we spent the evening talking. 

Toward the end of the night, they ended up offering me an early advisory role. At first, it began as weekly meetings with the company, but as time moved on, I shifted my focus from charging electric bikes with Swiftmile and eventually came on a full-time basis with chargeFUZE. 

What has driven chargeFUZE ’s recent success? How do you look to continue building on that success?

I think the most important part of our success would be rooted in the partnerships that our two founders, CEO Brandon Afari and President Ryan Levy, started working on in 2018. Within the first two years of launching chargeFUZE, they were already partnering up with some of the biggest names in entertainment, retail, and live events. As they started the organization, they didn’t see themselves as only a vending company; instead, they saw the business opportunity as the first stage in launching an IoT (Internet of Things) hardware and software company. 

These early relationships were the key to attracting some big names to join the team, including one of the early members of Bird Scooters, Chan Nguyen, as our CTO. MobileQubes, an early pioneer in the space, was the most recent addition to our family. Through this relationship, we added hundreds of locations to give us the scale we needed to start selling advertising.

I work side by side now with Sean Carrigan, the founder of MobileQubes, who transitioned to become our SVP Business Development. chargeFUZE also brought in Shonari Smith, the former head of operations at Brightbox, the first company I worked at when I got into advertising. With each of these incredible individuals now in the same organization, we’ve built essentially an all-star cast of OOH + Charging.

Our current success is fueled by partnerships with companies throughout the OOH space. Big players like Live Nation, ASM Global, and Intersection helped put us on the map to get into larger venues like the American Airlines Center in Dallas. I have a video clip of Mark Cuban walking around CES with one of the chargeFUZE batteries that can be found in his stadium. Interactions like this get us brand recognition that we didn’t have before and it’s so exciting. I got a hundred messages on Linkedin when I posted that clip from Brand Innovators.

Since working with the chargeFUZE team, I’ve rekindled my interest in phone charging and OOH. There’s a ton of momentum and this excites me more and more each day. Our solution is not just a one-to-many format as traditional billboards, but essentially a one-to-one delivery method since we get you to engage on your mobile device.

I see free mobile phone power as a way to set people on their daily journeys. We are giving individuals power sustained through advertising that can connect them to the subway, their next meal, banking, work, friends, and family. There is no limit to how we can connect these worlds and target audiences via these batteries.

What makes chargeFUZE ’s inventory attractive for advertisers? What makes it stand out from others?

We can run ultra-specific ads on our inventory relevant to the venues. chargeFUZE can be in any type of venue and do well. People need their phones, especially if they’re visiting somewhere new and will be away from a charger all day.

Our variety of partners and locations make it an attractive option for anyone looking to reach a particular audience or to retarget guests as they go about their day.

Thanks to our audience segmentation capabilities through Geopath, we can reach the right customers with the right screens. Only chargeFUZE can offer the end-users a free battery rental at a venue for engaging with your brand via our screens. Watch the ad, engage, get a code for a free rental, and come back and see the brand again to return the battery. We deliver multiple impressions for the same ad. It is an amenity and a memorable experience beyond a traditional OOH sale. In my opinion, we offer media planners a much higher value than a regular screen.

Our screens are part of an experience that can enable users to engage with your brand at a higher level than traditional OOH. Traditional OOH is commonly known as a “one-to-many” medium. In comparison, our technology allows you to have a “one-to-one” message much like traditional digital channels. By engaging with the “power” supply of audience mobile devices we deliver a sought-after memorable experience in addition to DOOH media campaigns. I truly believe we are the only company in the space that delivers multiple impressions while providing an experiential activation using batteries.

What are the most exciting opportunities that exist for chargeFUZE today?

chargeFUZE ’s growing number of partnerships has helped us go international. Many of the same partnerships in the United States will help us grow at scale in Canada. chargeFUZE has made its way into the UK, Germany, and Sweden. This presents us with an incredible opportunity and continues our upward trajectory as we continue to scale into countries that welcome DOOH with open arms. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities our partnerships have created for us and expect continued success as time passes. South America is one of the fastest growing DOOH markets and I’m hoping we find some partners there soon.

How is Geopath membership valuable to chargeFUZE? 

Buying Agencies have a wide range of software tools at their fingertips for their campaigns. Because of this, they are expecting analytic tools with similar features to what they can get for their digital marketing efforts. The reality is that the same technologies that have enabled mobile campaigns to take off in the past ten years are now helping provide better OOH analytics. The apps and geolocation information from our mobile devices have helped companies create real consistency across our industry. Opportunity to see (OTS), impressions, reach, frequency, and deep dives into audience segmentation have all come from embracing this standardization. This is only starting to become a reality because of the data that Geopath is working on.

I go to a lot of trade shows and summits across the advertising spectrum from the IAB, Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), MediaPost, and more. I can say that the majority of the media buying side has legitimate questions that relate to real-time or close to real-time as-delivered audience impressions. They eventually want to see the backend for OOH and expect the same instant reporting capabilities that they are used to seeing in other forms of media digital, OTT, CTV, etc.

On a personal level, I have been attending the Geopath summits for the past few years. Being a part of the organization and community has been incredibly valuable. I’ve had some amazing mentors who have helped me get to where I am today in the OOH space. That would not have been possible without this amazing network.

What’s the best OOH media campaign you’ve ever seen? What made it stand out to you?

My first real job was driving a small truck for Coca-Cola. I’d go around and help grocery stores make those complex Coke displays by stacking the cans. We were building pyramids, castles, or whatever they’d give us with the schematics to build. It was the most fun to create these experiential marketing displays as a first job. 

I’ve worked with other soda and energy drink brands over the years, but I’m always watching what Coke is doing in the space. 

Coca-Cola does an incredible job of pushing the envelope with its Out of Home ads. From the 3D billboard in Times Square to the different experiential activations around the world. I’ve had the opportunity to be a supplier at three different companies giving me a unique perspective on the most recognized bottle in the world. The Share a Coke to Hug a Vending Machine shows how Coca-Cola constantly pushes the envelope. When I need to be inspired I just log onto the Coke message board and look for a cool activation.




Joel is currently the SVP, Programmatic Media of chargeFUZE / adFUZE, a father of three, and a proud Coke Scholar. An active startup board advisor having helped several startups raise seed capital and advising with go-to-market strategies. Currently an advisor to Swiftmile and a startup advisor to robotics delivery company Ottonomy. He is a SxSw 2024 Panelist on DOOH Infrastructure.

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