“…should have rode the boards”
Larry Bird, Marlon Brando and Billboards
It is mind numbing when I think about the number of times I have heard an Out of Home Buyer remorsefully share, ‘…I should have rode the boards.’ And similarly the refrain of an Outdoor Advertising Seller/Provider explaining, ‘… they should have rode the boards!’ With both parties, the reference is to an Outdoor Advertising message(s) which have ‘compromised’ placement.
The Outdoor Provider says, “Hey, not our problem. They approved the list.” “They should have taken the offer for a market ride.” While those common comments are true, they aren’t ethically correct.
‘Buyer Beware’ should never be an accepted warning or theme for Outdoor Advertising at any level, in any instance for any company.
‘I should have ridden the boards.’
Media directors with 25+years in OOH and newbie buyers right out of college, resignedly observe, ‘I should have ridden the boards.’ Spoken like, washed-up boxer Terry Malloy, played by Marlon Brando, before Brando was The Godfather, in the movie On the Waterfront. “I coulda been a contender.” ‘I should’ve rode the market.’
A comment we still hear today. Despite the growth of OOH support businesses like buying services, measuring devices, data gathering and software companies, ‘should of rode’ is arguably heard more now than past. What was common place 20 years ago, clients and agencies rarely have the budget to support market rides any longer.
The long-term effect of compromised OOH placement may not be so obvious. In the short-term, it inflicts a wound to the advertiser. In the long-term, no matter the specific offense or responsible party, it is not the trusting, arguably naive, agency or advertiser who bears the burden. The OOH Industry suffers most.
The OOH Industry suffers most.
Why? In the final analysis, it’s a rule of unintended consequences. Outdoor is like a restaurant’s serving a plate of pasta. Stick with me here. The worst type of complaint a restaurateur or any business, including Outdoor Advertising, may have, “is the one you never hear”. Sage advice from my first year in billboard sales, from a client restaurateur. He explained, “It’s the worst, because if you don’t know about it, nothing can be done to correct it. One thing for sure, they are never a customer again.” He may have been talking about cold spaghetti dinners, but that advice stuck.
Eliminate from OOH lexicon “…should have rode the boards.”
How many Fortune 500 Companies who should be buying OOH, see compromised Outdoor Advertising messages in their daily travels and consequently, choose not to consider the medium? How much more new OOH business could be realized? How much greater yearly spend or growth would be realized? There are many reasons why we the Industry has been stuck on 4% growth, this is one of them. We need to add new advertisers to the business and keep the ones we have. Let’s eliminate from the OOH lexicon “…should have rode the boards.” Let’s improve Outdoor together.
Paraphrasing basketball great Larry Bird. It makes me sick when I see a national advertiser on a poor crap location, just because an OOH Provider could get away with posting them there.
It makes me sick when I see a National Advertiser on a poor crap location, just because an OOH Owner could get away with posting them there.
“It makes me sick when I see a guy just stare at a loose ball and watch it go out of bounds.” Larry Bird, Boston Celtics, NBA Hall of Fame