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OMG! —Here We Go Again —OOH —Shooting Ourselves in the Foot!

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hey OAAA – if you’re going to invite me to one of your events, how about you don’t send me a gift card to one of my brand’s biggest competitors? 😬

And there it is for the entire world to see and they did. Here is the link to the post ⇒https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6989334918367502336/

Inspire Brands Chief Media Officer, Travis Freeman posts in social media. The one which counts in business, LinkedIn, for all the professional world to see. Travis Freeman feels slighted by the OAAA. Oh wait, rewrite that; He feels slighted by the OOH Industry. That’s you. Let’s include those OOH partners who’s names were included in the invitation—Lamar, Clear Channel, OUTFRONT, Intersection, and Vistar. Your name is on it…you’re responsible for the contents as well.  Does anyone vet anything any more?  ‘Check your homework’ have any meaning? You could have made one call!

Don’t know Inspire Brands?

Let’s share a few of the companies under the Inspire umbrella. Dunkin Donuts.  Drop the mic. We really can stop there, can’t we?  (Ok here is the entire portfolio —the owner and franchisor of the Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, Jimmy John’s, Rusty Taco, Mister Donut, Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins restaurant chains). Inspire Brands is majority-owned by affiliates of Roark Capital Group. Roark has investments in Anytime Fitness, Batteries Plus Bulbs, The Cheesecake Factory, CKE Restaurants: (Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Green Burrito & Red Burrito), Culver’s (minority investment), Fitness Connection, Focus Brands: (Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s), Great Expressions Dental Centers, CARSTAR, International Car Wash Group/ICWG, Maaco, Meineke, Merlin 200,000 Mile Shops, Xpress Lube, Take 5 Oil Change, and so many many more companies who buy out of home.

This guy, Travis Freeman, is a big dog, as in, important. Review all of his credentials and past positions—Global Head of Media Uber. Vayner, Dentsu,Twitter.

Slighted? That’s a naive interpretation. How about plain and simple, insulted! Or biting the hand which feeds us. My guesstamation is Freeman’s oversight to Inspire’s OOH spend is in excess of over $100 million, all in. That’s just a guess. Does it really matter how many million? Consider all the Roark Cap Group as well and it is pretty easy to see $100 million in OOH advertising. Starbucks, remember the $5 gift card?  Not sure what the number is but it is no where near the out of home ad spend we receive from Dunkin and the entire Inspire portfolio. Here’s a thought, let’s include a grenade in the envelope addressed to Inspire and see what happens! (figuratively speaking)

Here’s a thought, let’s just include a grenade in the envelope addressed to Inspire and see what happens! (figuratively speaking)

Freeman must be real unhappy. Why would he have taken the time to place it on LinkedIn? One might observe he is pissed off, as Freeman took the time to carefully layout the invitation and its envelope’s contents to create a nice optic to photograph and post on the WWW, that’s the fricking WORLD WIDE Web!

Now, everyone knows.
Don’t kid yourself —EVERYONE KNOWS!  Read the comments from others in his post.  Look at the ‘Likes’. Sixty-eight (68) of them as of this writing. Check the names and who they represent. Here are a few— Apple, Meta (that Facebook/Instagram company), Twitter, Paramount, Mondelez. Google, Yahoo,  Peacock, Uber. TicTok, WeWork, Mindshare, Spark, OMD, PHD, Mattress Firm (‘Hahahahaha’), Fyllo (who calls it ‘a rookie mistake’).

While you are on the Travis Freeman LinkedIn entry, take the time to look at all of the dopey responses from the OOH Industry. Read the comments and check out the ‘likes’, ‘funny’s’, ‘ideas’ from the OOH peeps. A few attempting to ‘LOL’ the story away Or the ultimate mea culpas, “It worked! Travis mentioned the OAAA!”  Yeah that’s a good comment, let’s insult the guy further, let him know we think he’s ignorant and gullible and we were just trying to get his attention. The dopey comments from OOH reps—you gotta be kidding me! Who’s surprised?

I’m gonna be sick.

My guess, many of those after reading this, will go back and remove their comments. They should.

Should heads fall?
Continuing the painful surgical examination, let’s ask the OOH Today readers if this is a big deal and does anyone one really give a flat flying care?

We are not implying stupidity or ignorance as a cause. Ok maybe we might be. We are suggesting blame must be affirmed and publicly step forward for the painful apology and regretful acknowledgment of the offense.

How do you identify it? How should we reference?

Is this a significant embarrassing error or simple slip up, a minor mistake? Is it a blunder?
Should we move on, nothing to be concerned about? Or Is it a major botching by the marketing or membership team? Should heads fall?

The poll of opinion —What is your take?
Please share it by Leave a reply in ‘comment section’ at the bottom of this page. Don’t leave your name if you choose. We will not know either.

Let’s take full advantage of Merriam- Webster’s definitive summary to create our own poll best describing the relative importance to the OOH Industry.
Here are your options 1 through 5.

1. It was a Blunder.
Without a doubt a significant error which we should be concerned about. This hurts OOH’s image and potentially our revenues in the future.  How will we ever know what other brand is adversely affected and setting one more obstacle to not purchasing OOH for their brand? How do you know?

2. It was an Error.
Error suggests the existence of a standard or guide and a straying from the right course through failure to make effective use of this as in procedural errors. Anyone believe the OAAA has a procedure in place to prevent this very thing from happening? Let’s hope not. If so, back to blunder. 

3. It was a Lapse.
A reasonable alternative to blunder? Lapse stresses forgetfulness, weakness, or inattention as a cause. As in a lapse in judgment.  Was this a lapse?

4. It was a Mistake.
It was simply an inadvertent act like dialing the wrong phone number or incorrect email address.

5. It was a Slip.
Again according to Merriam- Webster, an inadvertent act or embarrassing accident, certainly, but this entire thing is trivial. “Like a slip of the tongue.”

You be the judge. Please let us know. 1. Blunder 2. Error 3. Lapse 4. Mistake 5. Slip 

—What is your take?
Share it by Leave a reply in ‘comment section’ at the bottom of this page. Don’t leave your name if you choose. We will not know either.

I’m exhausted. That’s all I have for today. What a weekend!

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  1. DSieler says

    My vote – 1,2,3,4 & 5….isn’t advertising supposed to know their customer? Yikes!

  2. ChrisP says


    The sending of the gift card could have been chalked up to a sloppy mistake. It was the comment the OAAA made on LinkedIn, doubling down on the ignorance, that is the issue.

    The follow-up post shows that the Starbucks card wasn’t a simple mistake. Over the last few years, the OAAA has become an ineffective, and sometimes tone-deaf, company. The revolving door of staff (which is a symptom in itself) means that issues like this, and a lack of attention to detail, are going to keep happening.

  3. Anonymous says

    1. Complete and total Blunder! Made even WORSE (and more embarrassing) by their ignorant comment completely invalidating his comments. They SHOULD 100% know their customer better than this.

  4. 1,2,3,4,5 believe it or not was a greater choice than we expected. Clear cut there is growing sentiment that the action and then the response was inappropriate.

  5. Yes the doubling down response was so far off of appropriate message. Revolving door of the staff has been noted.

  6. Good points Anon. The old days of the organization controlling the narrative and then bullying their way to regulate the conversation of opposing viewpoints is gone forever.
    The World Wide Web has made old intimidation tactics ineffective. The light we bring out assures an equal and fair dialogue amongst the OOH Industry. We’ll let the other guys frolic in blue skies and butterflies in their reporting.
    Thank you Anon. Time to step up and recognize times have changed. Let’s do the right thing

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