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Rockin’ Down the Highway

Here’s One Thing 

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photo credit Oliver Outdoor Greater Pittsburgh

OOH …Here’s One Thing  


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



Rockin’ Down the Highway


“Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


To start your Monday right, and to remind yourself that the world will return to normal at some point; and people will be very happy to get back in there cars, here’s a classic from some independent thinkers called the Doobie Brothers: click here⇒ Rockin’ Down the Highway

Got those highway blues, can’t you hear my motor runnin’ Flyin’ down the road with my foot on the floor All the way in town they can hear me comin’ Ford’s about to drop, she won’t do no more And I smell my motor burnin’ Underneath the hood is smoke Can’t stop, and I can’t stop Got to keep on movin’ or I’ll lose my mind 

Oh, rockin’ down the highway

Tama Starr, CEO of Artkraft Strauss once said to me, “you know the problem with people is they don’t realize that the world moves like some big sine wave.  Meaning when the world is rocking a rolling, they project forward as if it will always be riding up.  And then when we are riding the curve downward, its doom and gloom forever.”  She said many sage things to me over the years, but that one really stuck.  So in the interest of compelling you to think about the next bend in the curve, I ask you to think about how the categories of advertisers will change as we begin to see the new normal.  Certainly entertainment is here to stay.  And certainly alcohol…and by the reports I am hearing, cannabis is here to stay.  Healthcare?  For sure, although I would postulate that there will be whole new streams of healthcare subcategory advertisers that currently don’t exist.  How about mobile test businesses?  Drive to your home, meet you at your doorstep, run back to the van and give you your test results within a minute?  Or how about clean hotels?  When the next pandemic comes they confirm you are clean on check in (as is everyone else) and then you are free to ride out the pandemic in luxury including all meals, health club, pool, spa etc.  My guess is there will be a market for that.   

Separately, my guess is there is going to be a cottage service/technology industry that pops up to help small retailers/restaurants/local businesses “toggle” from the physical world to the online world at a moment’s notice.  True, most small businesses have a website and maybe connected into uber eats etc…but they are still stranded at the moment.  Their ability to be top of mind for their audience right now, at the right time and in the right context is almost non existent.  Not sure about you, but if I received an offer from Chick-Fil-A (or more likely a third party aggregator) at 5 PM reminding me to order now so that the food could be delivered hot when I got home at 7 there’s a good chance I would hit the ‘go’ button.  

Will the airline industry be advertising anytime soon?  I could argue both sides of the coin on that one.  But perhaps it might make sense to chase the vacation packagers coming out of this thing as surely there will be many of us needed a vacation from our “vacation”.  

In any event, I think you get the point.  If I were the CRO of a large outdoor company, I would be sitting with a print out (yeah showing my age) of a categorical analysis of advertisers over time.  I have to believe as we hit that sine curve there will be some perennial winners, some brand new ones and then some which at least for the time being, and maybe forever, will not be worth chasing.
Go to work Bud Fox.  

Okay, couldn’t help it.
One more to lead you out to this special week leading up to Easter, click here⇒
The The – This Is the Day (Official Audio)


Jim Johnsen



Securities transacted through StillPoint Capital Member firm FINRA/SiPC




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