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Once in A Lifetime —OOH …Here’s One Thing 

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OOH …Here’s One Thing 

Once in A Lifetime 

by Jim Johnsen,
Managing Director,  Johnsen, Fretty & Company

“Time isn’t holding us…time isn’t after us…”

It’s a rarity for me to have a week where I look backward and forward at the same time.  I suspect many of you are like me, head down, blinders on and trying to keep up with the hamster wheel.  For those of you who are not, utmost admiration, as there are few people beyond the Dalai Lama that seem to “have it”.  

Okay Johnsen, where the hell are you going this time?  Well lets just say I had a chance to glimpse at the future and it looks pretty damn cool.  I had the good fortune to attend the DPAA conference this past Tuesday and listen in on a presentation by the head of AR/XR product marketing for Google, Kira Rich.  You don’t need to look up what the hell AR/XR stands for, I did it for you (as I didn’t have a clue either).  Here it is:

“XR is new, exciting tech, and everyone is talking about it. But what does XR mean and when can you start using this technology? We’ll take a look at how XR is different from AR and VR, and how it will integrate with new devices and the gear you own already.

XR, cross reality, or extended reality, is a catchall term for several different but related technologies. It rolls together similar acronyms like VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), and MR (mixed reality). Once you know that tidbit, understanding XR gets a whole lot simpler.”  What Is Extended Reality (XR) and How Is it Changing the Future? | HP® Tech Takes

Clear as mud yet?  Perhaps this helps.  Essentially Kira’s presentation was an overview of the outdoor advertising campaign they ran to launch their new space invaders augmented reality game.  Without doing her presentation justice; they ran a large call to action (aka download the game on your smartphone), followed up by new messaging around the capabilities of the game, followed up by new copy which invited users to show up in Times Square at a specific time and day to compete against each other and watch the leaderboard in real time, all launched via Outfront‘s digital network, with almost real time updates (let me say that again…with almost real time updates). 

Long short, one can play this game anywhere google maps exists, which is pretty much anywhere in the world, so long as one has a smartphone.  Essentially the game ingests the real world around you, spits it back out on your phone and then augments this reality, in this case, with space invaders which you try to kill on your phone.  Still confused, yes I am too, but here is a little clip that might help:

(446) SPACE INVADERS: World Defense, an immersive game powered by ARCore – YouTube

And here:


(better yet, Barry Frey, if you have the actual video from the summit, please post it!) 

Long short, Outfront’s digital network in combination with Google AR put together a campaign that seemed to perfectly marry the benefits of one to one marketing via digital with the unique benefits of one to many that only outdoor advertising can deliver.   Friggin cool stuff, and frankly got me thinking that there is a brave new world out there relative to how advertisers can use the medium in near real time and with the complement of augmented reality.  

Which is a great segue, as I also got to spend some precious and quality time with some of the most ardent veterans of the industry this past week.  We got into reminiscing about how tobacco manufacturers dictated where new builds would go, how much of the industry it controlled, how each manufacturer lined up with each agency who then lined up with each media vendor (e.g. Phillip Morris was an OSI friend while RJR was partial to F&K (apologies if I screwed that up guys)).  After a few manhattans we also began to dive into some of the characters who bought for the tobacco companies and some of the “interesting” negotiations that ensued.  

Fantastic Johnsen, another Monday morning history lesson.  Well not really.  Just a compare and contrast to show you over the span of 33 years how amazingly far the industry has come.  Not sure about you…but it makes me wonder how far the industry will evolve over the next 20 years. 

Okay, grab the coffee and get back to the RFPs now.  

ps…I could not mail it in without at least mentioning the absolute travesty that transpired in Israel this past week.  I can only hope that, much like the world came together after 9/11 or after the killing of journalists in Paris, we are all Jews in solidarity, in the face not of an act of war but an act of murder and genocide.

Securities transacted through StillPoint Capital Member firm FINRA/SiPC
Johnsen, Fretty & Co. is an advertiser with OOH Today

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