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“The Mamalou”

My Best, this Week in OOH

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My Best, this Week in OOH



by Nick Coston,
OOH Media Buyer and Agent.




“The Mamalou”


If you speak to enough people on a weekly basis, selling, buying, telling your story, building relationships, harassing slow movers, then you really should never run out of good billboard stories. This past week was no exception.

But when name recognition meets ego meets opportunity, then you risk awakening “The Mamalou”. I did just that.

The Mamalou is the king of all zings, you can’t top it cause you can’t make this shit up. So grab a coffee, settle in and enjoy my Mamalou moment. The names have been changed as to not horribly embarrass the players. Except mine, you all know mine. Oh, and the photos are from my own stock, they aren’t the the real foils, I mean people. They are friends of mine. For now.

Early last week I received a very polite, professional email from an OOH vendor in a pretty southern state. He sent me working artwork, static poster size, for a client. Asked what I thought of it, did it need any changes, if so what I recommend. While looking at the pdf, another version came thru, same client, different message. My immediate reaction is “wow, I’m really flattered that this rep from this pretty southern state would ask me for my professional opinion on artwork for a client that I had nothing to do with.” This is where Ego makes an appearance. I took a little time, that way I sound real professional, made some notes and sent back my feedback, which was remove a few words, bump up the size of the last line and basically make it a little more simple. The rep liked it and said he would make the changes. I then went a step further and said “thanks, I’m glad I could help and I’d love to see the finished version”. Keep in mind the whole time I believe he’s asking for my opinion based on my outstanding reputation in OOH. OK maybe not outstanding but I had just written an article about importance of good copy. Do you see where I’m going here?

The next day, I got two more emails from this extremely professional rep. He said here are the changes and asked what I thought, did I think these would be OK.

Once again my trusted right hand man, Ego, entered the fray and said “yes, these are great, I would go with these two versions. Thanks for asking and trusting my opinion”

He replied thanks.

Did I mention they were going to print over 100 static posters of these two versions? 100. Posters. Print, ship and post.

I thought that would be the end of it. I was high-fiving myself and fist pumping. Wow, Big Nick is back, baby. Yea.

But as you probably know by now it doesn’t end here. Because the next day in came The Mamalou. The Mamalou is the Dues ex Machina, look it up, of the advertising world. Everything changes in a split second as the Gods of Billboards swoop in and slap you silly. Maybe it’s not exactly Gods, more like my wife when I bring the wrong groceries home. You know, the complete opposite of what I was supposed to get.

Ok, here we go. The next day an email comes from my eager outdoor rep from this pretty little southern town asking me to approve the two proofs that were sent yesterday because they needed to get into printing by the end of the day.

I stared at the email for a while thinking “sure, these look great. Approved. Print away!”

But just then in came The Mamalou. It dawned on me that my poor OOH rep from a pretty little southern town must be emailing the wrong Nick. Keep in mind that I had done business a couple years earlier in this market, buying plenty of space and all my emails have my signature on it. So I didn’t think there would be any confusion as to which Nick I was if indeed there was another Nick. There aren’t many of us.

I emailed him back telling him he may be mistaken that I’m Nick Coston, World Famous Outdoor Advertising Raconteur, not his client. I like that title.

The Good Nick

Then came back the news I feared the most, indeed I was the wrong Nick, that his email system every time he tried to send the right Nick he got the wrong Nick. Me. I’m the wrong Nick. This explains all these divorces.

I emailed him back saying I really felt that the changes I recommended made these posters look far better and that you should go ahead and call your client, explain the situation and that the famous, but now bad Nick, highly recommends.

I also assured him that is a common mistake and let’s take the best out of it and make it work.

By the end of the day the client, we will call him The Good Nick, agreed that the copy looks fine and go ahead and print those 100+ posters. Once again that made me feel pretty darn awesome and I high-fived myself, my two dogs, but not the cat. Nobody high-fives our cat.

The copy ran and by now should be posted. Hooray!! I hope he will send me a POP. Just don’t send me the invoice.

So beware just when you billboard peeps think things seem too good to be true, The Mamalou is lurking.  Beware.

And if you see me in your favorite tavern and buy me a cold draft beer, I’ll be happy to tell you where that name came from.


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