We are in this together!
Posted: June 6th 2016 By: Scott Smith, General Manager, OUTFRONT San Diego
As the General Manager of OUTFRONT Media in
San Diego, one of my many job duties includes protecting our assets. However, these assets aren’t limited to our leases and physical billboard structures. Our brand and our image is sometimes our most important asset. The OOH industry needs to protect its image and brand on a micro / local market level. We can start to address the micro level of our brand by looking at our advertising business partners as exactly that, partners. We’re in this together.
At some point, the OOH Media industry evolved into a retailer or broker of OOH space or signage. We allowed any and all creative including bad creative on our media assets, creating a negative image of the OOH brand as being boring, amateurish, and low impact. Keep in mind that not only will the advertiser’s message be ineffectively reaching their intended audience but it’ll also be negatively reaching our intended audience of business leaders and marketers. As the old TV show “Press Your Luck” would go, “It’s a double whammy.” Sure the medium was effective directing consumers to businesses and retail, and creating awareness; but the image it projected was decidedly low brow.
What a shame it is give up control of our own media and consequently, the destiny of our own brand. Over the past dozen or so years, we’ve become more of a commodity and less of a special opportunity to make an impression on our advertiser’s audience. Our industry’s emphasis on providing consultative campaign strategy and creative executions has been either ignored or forgotten. With a lack of creative inspiration and resources from local advertisers, OOH’s core competency of high impact and large format lost some of its swagger in the eyes of local advertisers.
There is a critical difference between local and national advertising for most media. Good local ad campaigns are difficult and expensive to do because of high production costs and a general lack of resources. Not the case with local OOH though. Most local TV commercials feel shoddy and janky, kind of like you bought it at the Discount Dollar Store. Marketers shouldn’t have to shop at the Dollar Store for creative and production. OOH levels the playing field for local advertisers so they can compete with the big boy national advertisers in terms of quality. With just a little point in the right direction from our
OUTFRONT Creative Team, our local advertising and branding partners can have an extremely high quality and effective OOH creative.
Great right? Well, we still haven’t totally connected all the dots yet in terms of why we need to push advertisers for better creative. The OOH industry’s brand of itself lives and dies by the effectiveness and performance of our advertising partners. We need to demand that our advertising partners don’t misuse and abuse our brand by posting bad creative. So really, how important is it for Sales Management and Account Executives to push back on advertisers to use better creative? Very. Over the past 18 months or so of pushing for better creative, the payoff for us has been substantial. As I drive around San Diego and look at our media, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride that we’re actually beautifying the city because of the fun and entertaining creative that’s up on our media. Best of all, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this in some way. I may notice it more because I’m in the industry but either consciously or subconsciously, everybody who sees OOH in San Diego is smiling upon it in a positive way.
We need to get back to the basics of being marketing and branding consultants. In fact, when people used to ask me what I did for a living, I’d tell them I worked in the billboard industry. Recently though, I started telling people I help businesses and organizations with their branding and awareness. It’s a change in our mindset that I think all of us in OOH need to make. Because after all in the end, our media is only as good as the creative that goes up on it.