I just have to say this.

Nobody loves outdoor advertising more than me. And no one hates outdoor digital advertising more than I do.

How many times have you burned the highway when you see a digital billboard that intrigues you, only to make it change before you’ve read it all? It flickers and is gone.

The problem is that it continues to appear with solid consistency in the digital spreadsheets of the sales teams, always emphasizing the absolute effectiveness of the medium. It just feels as true as when Jay Chiat said the open-plan office would make workers more collaborative and productive. The thing is, Jay just wanted to pay less rent. And outdoor companies just want to get more revenue from theirs. You can hear the smirking vendors at the headquarters. “Guess what, I’ll sell the same outdoor table to four different customers.” High-five around.

Yes, there are creative executions that take advantage of the timeliness that the digital outdoor can provide and there are wonderful digital installations in places like Piccadilly Circus. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the other 99 percent of purchases, random generic messages that run at 20-second intervals, ads that grab your attention with a perfectly targeted message, and then, after grabbing your attention, switch to a pest control ad. with a giant furry mouse.

Whenever I see a media plan with digital outdoor, the first thing I do is delete it. Sometimes it comes back, but not without a healthy discussion.

To put it dramatically, I would say that nearly every dollar invested in the digital outdoor is an inverse measure of how much the media buyer actually cares about their brand. Again, there are exceptions, but in general digital outdoor buyers simply want to click “buy” and go home.

The fact is, nobody really cares. Neglect is pervasive in our business, which is why we have programmatic media purchases that drop multimillion-dollar media purchases in the face of bots. It’s terrible, but no one can bother to think about it, even if all that wastage has a serious impact on profits.

Once again, I absolutely love the outdoors. It causes conversation, attention, buzz. In an increasingly nanocast era, it is the ultimate means of transmission. I really don’t think brands spend enough on the outdoors. But the digital outdoor is for the outdoors what cold, watery oatmeal is for breakfast – that is, it sucks.

I’ve been looking for the data that supports my argument, but apparently there isn’t much interest in disproving the wild claims of the sales teams. This means that customers will continue to waste money on an insensitive medium – money that could be spent building your brand. It’s not a tragedy how climate change is a tragedy, it’s just more bullshit in an industry that could use less bullshit.

OK, here, I took it off my chest. Now, who wants to talk about basketball?

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