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2018 OOH Resolution: Tech

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training leaving with man running after it

Technology is advancing at such a fast rate, many Outdoor Advertising Industry experts reluctantly admit difficulty in keeping up.  New innovations and data revelations compel Outdoor Advertising to think outside of the Out Of Home Box.  Tech is enhancing and growing the Outdoor Advertising world.  “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.”  Appropriate quote for billboard advertising don’t you think? Credit to Stewart Brand.  

For Outdoor Advertising, the Age of Technology arguably began with the invention of vinyl and large-scale printing. John Kluge and Metromedia Technologies Inc., were first to market.  In 1988, MMT with ‘skins’ fresh off the giant cylinders from Wooster, Ohio, were first to my market with computer generated painted vinyl.  At $6 a square foot, the 14’ x 48’, 672 total square foot billboard bulletins we installed as ‘tests’ for Bud Lite at a production cost alone of over $4000 each.  Shipping was not included. In those days, the vinyl weighted in excess of 120 pounds and came in 14 foot long heavy gauge cardboard tubes rolled up like a carpet.  Shipping could only be delivered by large trucks which were usually an eighteen wheeler semi and common freight carrier.

The speed of production, flexibility of the material and the ease of installation, vinyl soon made all billboards equal.  Indeed, printing technology disrupted the OOH Industry.  By 1994, large format painted vinyl was relatively common throughout the OOH Industry except in rural areas of the U.S.  There were still small billboard plants ‘loyal to their pictorial artists’ refusing to offer clients the ‘new tech’ painted production process.

Rather than adopt they sold.  We purchased four of those companies in two years. They could not adopt nor envision the materials and labor savings and increased revenues, new technology in the form of large format printed vinyl, delivered.  Unfortunately, they became part of the ‘road’.


Then digital OOH, lead by streetside billboards and place based signs entered Outdoor Advertising.  Now OOH is everything and everywhere outside the home. Outdoor is Transit, Furniture, and Experiential. Billboards are now Indoor, at shopping malls, movie theaters, bars, bathrooms, vending machines and health clubs.

Technology and the data it provides via Mobile, Bluetooth, GPS, Radio Frequency Identification, QR Codes, WiFi, Near Field Communication and Beacons are inescapable.  If you’re not controlling the technology (the steam roller), the technology is controlling you (the road).

cutting edge billboard

Cutting edge in technology isn’t enough.  It takes too long and Investors don’t have the patience.  If a business is to succeed quickly it will be on the bleeding edge of tech.

Audience measurement must align with advertisers’ needs as they evolve in the future. Other media are changing rapidly, the Outdoor Advertising Industry is not exempt.  Technology will continue to exist and develop.  You can either develop with it or end up part of the roadway others are travelling on.

Outdoor Advertising knows the road well enough to recognise it best to travel on it than be rolled into it.  The time to risk is now.  Shed blood. (Dollars)

Resolve in 2018 to go all in and support substantive change.

Make one of  your New Year’s Resolutions for 2018, to get behind Geopath, Kym Frank and her team.  If you were a member, renew.  If you are contemplating membership, join now . Be the steam roller, not the road.

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  1. […] 2018 OOH Resolution: Tech […]

  2. Bill Board says

    He seems to have his sharpest appeal to the under 40 age group.
    Not a fact but a personal limited observation. Not sure how old you are Jean-Paul and not asking just saying.

  3. Bill Board says

    I would say it doesn’t appear he will make the stage in 2018 for OOH. But what do I know? 🙂

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