Thursday, September 29, 2022

Tech Power Players Talk OOH

By Nurlan Urazbaev,
Editor-in-Chief, Digital Signage Pulse

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Leading into the 2017 OAAA\Geopath National Convention + Expo, set to take place next week in New Orleans, LA, I had the opportunity to chat with some tech power players about how and why they are involved with OOH.  These experts will be featured in the Tech Talks series during the convention.

Dan Brough, WAZE – Connecting Virtual OOH with Real Billboards

Waze is the world’s largest crowd-sourced navigational app. Waze in-app ads promote local businesses that are relevant to passing drivers. To me, the idea of placing ads on Waze maps seems to make perfect sense. However, at first, I could not grasp the connection between what Waze does and OOH advertising.

According to Dan Brough, Head of Agency Development at Waze, Waze ads are, in fact, digital OOH marketing.

“Similar to how DOOH ads can target drivers nowadays, Waze ads not only target them at the right place and time, but also in the right context. In other words, Waze ads are virtual OOH ads triggered by weather, location, daypart, brand preference, and more. “

Dan Brough said the company has worked with OOH agencies who consider Waze ads as a “supplement” to billboards.  Last summer, for instance, Disney Pixar campaign “Finding Dory” used Waze ads that were synchronized with real OOH signs.

“Finding Dory” campaign

Dan Brough sees the future of OOH as “extremely bright.”

“OOH’s integration with mobile allows for precise ad ROI measurement,” he said. “Brands will be able to monitor performance in real time and learn more than ever about consumer behavior.”


Jeffrey Evenson, Corning – The Glass Age Meets the Era of OOH

According to Jeffrey W. Evenson, Ph.D. SVP & Chief Strategy Officer of Corning Inc., glass is becoming increasingly relevant to a broad range of industries because of its technical and aesthetic properties and tremendous versatility, “We actually believe glass will be as vital to the next 50 years as silicon has been to the past 50 years,” he said.

Jeffrey Evenson believes glass innovation offers three compelling opportunities for the OOH advertising industry:

“First, glass offers sophisticated new ways to display information. Advanced glass is enabling high-performance display devices with richer, sharper, more life-like images. It’s also enabling new form factors, such as flexible displays that can wrap around corners to fit unconventional shapes.

“Second, glass innovation can enable deeper engagement and more meaningful customer experiences. Interactive displays allow advertisers to provide content that is richer, more comprehensive, and customizable.

“Finally, glass innovation can help address some of the practical concerns of OOH advertising. Glass’s durability and impermeability allows it to withstand harsh weather, tough environmental conditions, and vandalism.”

Mark Kwak, Foursquare –
The Future of OOH Advertising is Data-Led

According to its website, Foursquare is “a technology company that uses location intelligence to build meaningful consumer experiences and business solutions.”

Mark Kwak, who is in charge of Business Development & Strategic Partnerships at New York-based Foursquare, thinks the app’s capabilities can greatly enhance OOH advertising:

“Foursquare prides itself on having a very intelligent understanding of what happens in the real world – both the places that populate our globe, and the types of folks who go into those places. This is information that is relevant to all players in the OOH space, since it’s so difficult to understand with accuracy the behaviors of people walking, driving, and visiting brick and mortar locations in every part of the country.

Kwak says Foursquare is already working “with a couple companies who play in the OOH space.” He sees the future of OOH advertising as being data-led, and this is where Foursquare can be of assistance.


Chan Lieu, Venable – Self-Driving Cars are a Challenge, Opportunity for OOH

Major auto manufacturers and tech companies are working on their versions of autonomous vehicles, which are being road tested.  Chan Lieu, a former executive at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is now Senior Legislative Advisor at Venable LLP, in Washington, DC, a law firm.

The Foundation for Outdoor Advertising Research & Education (FOARE) commissioned Venable to describe the trend toward more automation in driving.

“Ford CEO Mark Fields expects his company to deploy Level-4 self-driving vehicles in 2020,” says Lieu.  “Others have also publicly stated deployment commitments in 2021 or 2022. But it’s important to note that these timelines are for initial deployment, which will likely be in major urban areas. Other analysts do not expect more widespread deployment (40-45% of the vehicle fleet) until 2040 or 2045.”

The trend toward widespread adoption of driverless vehicles faces complex legal, liability, and regulatory challenges. Lieu says consumer acceptance could be a major hurdle. From a policy standpoint, safety is an impetus pushing automation.

Autonomous cars will present both challenge and opportunity for the OOH advertising industry.

“The challenge is expressed in this question: if humans are freed from the driving task, will they continue to look out the windows and be exposed to billboards and other out of home advertising? At the same time, automated vehicles can be an opportunity for the OOH industry to think more creatively about how they can innovate and evolve the assets from static to more dynamic, attention-grabbing presentations,” he said.

As Waze’s Dan Brough, Lieu also thinks that another opportunity for OOH companies lies in pro-actively partnering with car manufacturers in order to extend the experience from outside to inside the vehicle (e.g. displaying ads on the dashboard screen, etc.).

My Take

In the past few years I have witnessed a stellar rise in OOH advertising, from an underappreciated aspirant to the modern-era medium that outperforms most of others.

Against the background of problems experienced by online, mobile, TV and print advertising, OOH is emerging as a clear winner, with solid reputation. OOH is free of the flaws of television and radio – i.e., it does not interrupt any entertainment content. It is immune to the viewability, fraudulent traffic and ad blocking challenges of online advertising, and it does not suffer from mass rejection as mobile does.

OOH remains the last true mass medium which now thrives due to constant innovation. In numerous examples, DOOH campaigns are scaled to regional, national and international levels.

Digital out of home (DOOH) campaigns can now be reliably targeted using geolocation data and measured accurately, from real impressions and engagement metrics to cost-per-purchase of products advertised. Today DOOH ads can be triggered based on who is in front of the screen or by any relevant events.

As I learned in these interviews, tech industry leaders are exploring ways to enter the booming OOH advertising market. This trend will only continue, and we’ll see more and more tech companies get involved with OOH.

Learn More in New Orleans

Other speakers to present at Tech Talks at the OAAA\Geopath National Convention + Expo include Brandy Collins with hi-tech sports gear manufacturer Spyder, Elina Greenstein from location-based marketing firm xAd, Michael Rocha with Panasonic, and Richard Ventura of NEC.

To learn more about the convention, visit

Published on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 12:49 AM

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