If the out-of-home ad industry had a symbolic changing-of-the-guard ceremony, it would probably be workmen stripping Joe Camel from a tobacco board and slapping up Mar" data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" >

OUTDOOR: WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS By RUSSELL SHA

If the out-of-home ad industry had a symbolic changing-of-the-guard ceremony, it would probably be workmen stripping Joe Camel from a tobacco board and slapping up Mar

With long-established boards now free, the out-of-home industry has grabbed the opportunity to market itself to a broader range of clients. ‘Two years ago, 28% of our dollar volume was in tobacco advertising, but in July of this year, it dipped below 10% for the first time,’ says Brian McCarty, ceo and president of 7,000-board Naegele Outdoor Advertising. ‘We’ve lost tobacco revenue, but we’ve more than made up for it by gains in non-tobacco revenue.’
Most of the remaining tobacco contracts at Naegele are short-term, compared to the standard 12-month postings. ‘The loss of those postings is the bad news’ adds McCarty, ‘but the good news is that a lot of people in the ad community have always thought tobacco companies had the best locations.’
The freeing up of long-contract tobacco boards is complemented by new technology that makes immediate copy changes possible. ‘Painted bulletins are going to one-week postings,’ reports Bill Nassau, president of Whiteco Metrocom, the nation’s fourth-largest outdoor ad company. ‘This philosophical change within the industry has attracted a plethora of new retail and entertainment industry advertisers.’
As more advertisers demand copy-changing capability for price and product-introduction information, more new technologies are being developed. At a trade show next month, Whiteco will introduce a system that will make copy and image changes to electronic boards via satellite.
Perhaps the brashest of the billboard users is McDonald’s, whose 20,000-board, 1,700-market buy last year lifted the company to fourth in outdoor spending. Chris Massler, vp/director of out-of-home media for the outdoor media group of Leo Burnett, McDonald’s national agency, says he likes the changes taking place. ‘Not many agencies have separate outdoor departments, so they are becoming more professional, trying to provide more research that will allow buyers to understand outdoor a little bit better.’ Massler sees promise in new software that allows advertisers to cross-reference license plates with motor vehicle records to glean valuable demographic patterns. ‘The companies are not just selling outdoor media anymore, but are making inroads into other media forms like bus shelters and phone kiosks,’ he says, adding that a consolidated sales approach would help.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)