Outdoor Association Changes Guidelines

Reversing decades-old business practices, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America has adopted new voluntary guidelines that would conform the industry’s practices to what is standard in other media. The new practices were outlined in a letter to the OAAA membership last week, which urged outdoor companies to sell campaigns based on a lunar calendar (13, four-week cycles beginning on Mondays), adopt net billings and move to a Web-based proof-of-performance system.

Next to the Internet, out-of-home has become the second-fastest growing medium. That makes this the perfect time to make changes in how outdoor is bought and sold, outdoor executives said. “This is a sweet spot for our business, but there is so much to improve. It’s an opportunity to move this business ahead,” said Mark Moyer, president of Fairway Outdoor Advertising, chairman-elect of the OAAA, and chairman of the OAAA Ad Hoc Standardization Committee.

The standards should help make outdoor easier to buy and compare with other media. “The general practice of standardization and proof of performance will bring the industry to a different level and make buying outdoor more comfortable with advertisers and agencies,” said Connie Garrido, president of WOW and chair of the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ out-of-home committee.

Many outdoor companies are well on their way to adopting the new practices, especially the lunar calendar and net billings, which leaves the matter of agency commissions to the advertiser and agency.

More changes for the industry are on the horizon. “This is a big change and is the first of reinventions we’re looking at,” said Stephen Freitas, OAAA’s chief marketing officer.