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Is the OOH Sky Falling?

Vetting Outdoor Advertising

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T.S. Tothewind, guest writer for OOH Today. This person who shall remain neutral gender, is well-known in the Out of Home business. Like many who work for one of the Big 3 OOH Owners or Big 5 Agencies. They fear speaking out. The non de plume, T.S. Tothewind.

 

 

Is the Sky Falling?

by T.S. Tothewind
guest writer for OOH Today.

I must start off by apologizing to Bill Board for the delay of getting this blog post to him.  I have been  busy travelling, late night new biz pitches, excessive drinking, etc.  But who am I to complain, most of you reading this lead the same exact life.

This post began a while back as “My thoughts on the DPAA Video Everywhere Summit,” but so much time has passed that I feel a quick summary can suffice.  Superb speakers, Barry, great networking opportunities, engaged audience, Barry, relevant material, interesting panels, bad photoshops, Barry.  Always a great time to be had.

Isn’t that really the crux of every conference so far? Sure, the hot words change year to year, but the theme is always the same.  What’s new, how can we make more clients buy it, let’s get a beer and have a few laughs.

No matter what conference or OOH event I am attending, I always go into it asking myself the same questions.  What is the next step for of out of home?  What does the data and automation revolution really mean to the industry?  What is my role in it?  How do I get clients to increase spend with this new tech? Ultimately, who in this room is really ready for that change?

Ultimately, who in this room is really ready for that change?

But things are changing.  In the last few years, there’s been new guys at the bar.  Sure there’s always a few new companies popping up every year, but recently I feel the need to wear my glasses to read name tags and stalk LinkedIn to understand their relationship to OOH.

I feel the need to wear my glasses to read name tags and stalk LinkedIn to understand their relationship to OOH.

On the one hand, it shows that our industry is hot, people are seeing the benefits in us and the channel and want to invest in opening these offshoot companies to facilitate the buying and execution of Outdoor.  Don’t mishear me, this is awesome, and I am happy to be on the cutting edge of it.  It’s a great time to be part of this growing, exciting, buzzword filled Industry,

What worries me, is the other side of the coin. We now have all these new players in the mix who are ultimately selling OOH.  They’re not a media company.  They’re not an agency.  They have tech backgrounds and are just selling OOH as a commodity.  Now, I am not 100% against that approach.  What is concerning to me are these companies/platforms/sales people have become the advocate of OOH to whomever it is they are meeting with.  Are they really the best OOH ambassadors? Do they really know the outdoor advertising business?

What is concerning to me are these companies/platforms/sales people have become the advocate of OOH to whoever it is they are meeting with, but are they really the best OOH ambassadors? Do they really know the outdoor advertising business?

Maybe I am old school and naive, but I have always felt we have tried to follow a chain of command when it came to reaching out to specialists, general agencies, or (gasp), even client direct. These guys are treading and crossing time-honored boundaries,  They are approaching clients direct.  They are approaching agencies direct.  They are approaching everyone and at times, spreading misinformation and sometimes even straight up lies.  There are partnerships being formed with some specialists to farm out the planning pieces based on data and algorithms and holding company consolidation everywhere you turn.  Agencies are shifting clients and dollars around, laying off agency people as well as media companies and reps that didn’t “make the cut”.

They are approaching everyone and at times, spreading misinformation and sometimes even straight up lies.

If we are having this much change with uncertainty from a few small fish, what will happen when the real disruptors show up?  Google and Amazon push in with their own data sets, deep pockets, automation and deep tech stacks and turn us on our heads.  Maybe I am being a little “Chicken Little” but I am hoping to rally the troops and at least get the conversations started.

 

T.S. Tothewind, guest writer for OOH Today. This person who shall remain neutral gender, is well-known in the Out of Home business. Like many who work for one of the Big 3 OOH Owners or Big 5 Agencies. They fear speaking out. The non de plume, T.S. Tothewind.

 

 

 

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