Ad Club New York OOH Now 2019
Zevi Tilles, Account Director, shares his thoughts and feedback from last weeks Ad Club of New York’s annual Conference, OOH Now 2019.

Every year, I look forward to attending The AD Club of New York’s end of year conference. Getting to Pier 60 by the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan in December is a cold trip. However, once inside I’m always reminded of why the event is worth travelling to.

This year was no exception, and it was better than ever. The agenda centered around how data, technology, creativity, and the experience of OOH specialist teams, are leading growth and expansion across the industry. The view presented at the event promoted more focus on digital OOH and how the medium should move to utilize real-time triggers from time of day or weather to dynamic creative optimization at a greater scale. We also heard from brands using ad tech solutions that are giving their planners the ability to find locations where their audience over indexes and that allows them to optimize their digital OOH plans and creative accordingly, to drive contextual relevance and impact by using real-time conditions. 

There was an amazing session on THE CREATIVE CANVAS led by Dan Brill, Group Creative Director, Spotify, Travis Sterner, Director of Media, United Artists Releasing, Robin Tilotta, Director of Consumer Marketing, Twitter and Paul Woolmington, CEO, Canvas Worldwide. It was moderated by, Ed Herty, National Creative Director, Outfront Media. The panel was in agreement, creative storytelling is now informing the buy. Advertisers are looking to make DOOH interactive, contextual, and they want to personalize their messages to specific audiences based on time of day and in the moments that matter to the viewer. This was exactly the sentiment I was hoping for and it was coming directly from the brands! This is the type of ambition that will lead our channel to new heights in 2020.

The MEDIA BUYER SPOTLIGHT featuring: Andrew Weinstein, Manager, Rapport Worldwide, Fatima Winfrey, Group Director, OOH, Horizon Media, led me to believe that the agencies were coming to the same conclusions. Better creative and smarter standards drive superior outcomes.

Throughout the day, a recurring theme was discussed by the speakers. The sentiment being, OOH faces challenges as it moves towards a programmatic future, and how we collectively handle them will have an important impact in our industry. Particularly as omnichannel platforms are moving into digital OOH. It was highlighted that we need to make sure there is consistency in how impressions are reported. For digital OOH there needs to be independent third-party verification of campaign playout, including interactions and other campaign-specific metrics. We must provide advertisers with a level of transparency and accountability, to realize the full potential of programmatic digital OOH. 

Furthermore, advertisers and agencies need better workflow tools for the management and trafficking of digital OOH campaigns. These tools should be dedicated to quality assurance, distribution, and auditing of digital OOH creative. This will, in turn, accelerate the path from creative producers to media owners simplifying the management and delivery of DOOH creative across networks and platforms. 

In conclusion, a digital-first OOH mindset and added experiences through touch, gesture, recognition, mobile, social and experiential have marketers and brands excited! They are spending more time, measuring the outcomes, and investing more budget into the channel. 

I can’t wait to see what happens as we transition to the next decade for OOH in 2020!


To promote its latest TV series “Good Omens,” Amazon Prime Video launched a thrilling digital OOH campaign.

Good Omens Times Square Mixed Reality Digital OOH

The series, based upon Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, follows the unlikely pairing of an angel (Michael Sheen) and a demon (David Tennant) as they join forces to save the world from the apocalypse. As one of the most hotly anticipated shows of 2019, Amazon wanted to bring the surreal scenarios faced by the protagonists to life with a takeover of Times Square.

As the digital OOH roadblock took over Times Square, the crowd was plunged into terrifying Armageddon scenarios through live animations and a countdown to the end of the world. The mixed reality digital billboard towered above the pedestrian plaza bringing Good Omens to life, with Kraken tentacles, UFOs and giant fish raining down on the crowd below. Just as the audience recognized themselves on the big screen the doomsday scenarios unfurled around them. The mixed reality experience created a fun and memorable experience giving participants the ability to share the moment on social media.

Good Omens Times Square Mixed Reality Digital OOH

Supporting the apocalyptic takeover, were additional large-format digital OOH billboards around Times Square, featuring the countdown to doomsday and the start of the highly-anticipated series.

The campaign was conceived by Amazon Studios and produced by Grand Visual.

Ric Albert, Creative Director at Grand Visual, said: “The Apocalyptic AR activation stops people in their tracks in an engaging race to save the world. It provides content that connects the audience to the series storyline and immerses them in a 5-screen Times Square roadblock. The live countdowns build on the excitement and anticipation of Good Omens debut on Amazon Prime Video.”


For the past 14 years, Advertising Week has brought together industry professionals in New York City to discuss marketing, branding, technology and the evolution of the industry.

This year’s seminars and workshops touched on all the hot topics including native ads, programmatic, data and mobile, leadership, transparency and the role of politics in our world. Across all discussions, a huge emphasis was made on how the broader advertising
industry continues to use an innovative and tailored approach to address these subjects.

Extended and Embedded Models

With new players continuing to be introduced, the role of CMOs must evolve to remain relevant in their respective businesses. As a result, more teams from across the creative landscape are beginning to cozy up to the idea of sitting within the client’s team or at their partner’s spaces, to facilitate efficiency on joint projects. The experimental mindset is growing and the model of extended teams is being embraced and improving results for clients.

Clients have different needs and the advertising ecosystem is continuing to evolve and grow to meet those needs. In the session An Uncomfortable Conversation with CMOs, Angela Ceccarelli, Vice President, Marketing, HSBC said “Marketers need to be orchestrators and not conductors; they need to leverage their staff, partners and loyalists.”

Connected Screens

Another interesting theme emerging throughout the week was the evolution of connections between the digital and physical worlds. Consumers only perceive one connected world, therefore you shouldn’t have separate online and offline strategies, you should have one overarching strategy that touches all elements within the consumer’s journey.

As technology and digital solutions continue to evolve, it’s interesting to see how advertisers are aligning marketing objectives across different devices and locations. There’s a certain excitement around treating offline the same way we treat online. What does programmatic outdoor look like? What does search in a physical environment imply?

Outdoor Solutions

During the session, When Programmatic Buying Gets Placement Right, Nathan Eide, Director, Media Technology & Innovation, FRWD, enthusiastically shared his experience with programmatic digital OOH for one of their biggest clients; a top national retailer. Programmatic buying, and the right location and data partners meant that they could identify and track individuals – meaning that for the first time they were able to measure the client’s ROI down to the dollar.

Modern Convergence

As consumers constantly change and absorb content in different ways, agencies need to feel equally comfortable with outsourcing to specialists that create content and other connected solutions in different ways as well.

At the end of the day, we all need to learn how to collaborate in this ever-changing playground. It’s important to play nice in your client’s roster and educate your partners on what you do best (and vice-versa). This will help you deliver beyond your scope, and clients are expecting you to do so.

As Winston Binch Chief Digital Officer, Deutsch NA, wisely said “Meet the ask, but bring the need.” The digital capabilities are out there, it’s time to partner up and move the industry forward.

Amazon Catastrophe season 2

Amazon launched a dynamic Digital Out of Home (DOOH) campaign to celebrate the eagerly anticipated arrival of Catastrophe Season 2 to Amazon Prime Video. The campaign captures the humor of the British sitcom and invites participation through the show’s Twitter handle @catastrophe-tv. The dynamic campaign ran for 2 weeks on Urban Panels, Digital Newsstands and Digital Transit Shelters across New York City.

Produced by Grand Visual, the creative features a series of humorous “fill-in-the-blank” statements based on the brutally honest relationship between lead characters Rob and Sharon. The public are invited to “Pick the next theme” by tweeting either: #Family, #Sex, #Relationship or #Romance to @Catastrophe. This live poll mechanism determines the most popular theme and the content for that theme gets played across each digital network. The creative therefore adapts and changes according to audience interests during the course of the campaign. Each participant also receives an automated response from Twitter with the current poll results and a humorous statement on the topic they chose.

The DOOH campaign is planned and booked by Rapport, and delivered via OpenLoop, the campaign management platform for facilitating dynamic, real-time DOOH campaigns across multiple networks and markets.

Ben Putland, COO, Grand Visual, commented:

“Outdoor media plays a vital role in how we drive awareness and anticipation for online brands. It’s great to see forward thinking digital brands really starting to use the Digital Out of Home medium differently. Live, reactive and interactive DOOH campaigns are now possible and practical on a large and multi-network scale.”

A photo of crowds enjoying the Times Square Disney Inside Out interactive activation

Have you ever wanted your face up in the lights of Times Square? Ahead of the launch of Disney•Pixar’s original new movie “Inside Out” on June 19, lucky passers-by will be given this opportunity.

This month at the Disney Store in Times Square you are able to have your selfie appear on the Disney Store’s digital billboard, along with the colourful characters from “Inside Out.” During the promotion, an events team on the ground will invite passers-by to “Meet the Voices Inside Their Heads,” using the hashtag #InsideOutSelfiesNYC.

Images submitted will then be analysed and assigned their very own Emotion from “Inside Out,” based on the facial expression in their selfie.

The digital billboard above the Disney Store will be broadcasting #InsideOutSelfiesNYC the weekend of June 13-14, and on the film’s release date, June 19.

Not able to make it Times Square? You can still enjoy the fun by visiting and taking your selfie there, which can then be shared across social media.

Creative Technology Director at Grand Visual Dan Dawson, said:

“This execution is a fun way for people to interact with the characters in ‘Inside Out,’ and getting your face up in the lights of Times Square—well who wouldn’t want to do that?”

Pepsi MAX Bus Shelter Augmented Reality interactive digital OOH

As tends to happen at this time of the year, everyone is talking about future trends, and speculating as to what the emerging trends will be for 2015. As Grand Visual enters its tenth year, it seems an opportune time to take stock of where we see the industry heading as over the last ten years Digital Out of Home has seen massive growth and transformation. Last year at GV we had numerous firsts, pushing the limits of what can be done with DOOH, and 2015 is shaping up to be no different. Here are a few trends we think are the ones to watch in the year ahead.

International: Multi Territory Dynamic and Interactive campaigns

Whilst other industries have wavered, Out of Home is one that has experienced continued growth, boosted predominantly by technological advances. The global investment in infrastructure last year enabled activations such as the AR campaign we delivered for the Xbox launch of Sunset Overdrive, a campaign which ran across 3 continents & on several different formats. A campaign with this amount of complexity would not have been possible 12 months ago due to a lack of infrastructure. 2015 will be an exciting year with more campaigns than ever before being executed at greater scale, across multiple formats and even across the globe.

Targeted: Tactical Media, Tactical Creative

The ability to play your ad at the right time with the right message is a mantra that the advertising industry knows well. A study conducted by FEPE last year showed that 62% of consumers would be interested in DOOH that had information relevant to their specific location or time of day. OpenLoop enables campaigns to run with contextualised messages, matching time of day, weather conditions & social feeds, just to name a few. Last year a good example of this hyper contextual targeting was a campaign we ran for Benadryl in the UK which deployed when Pollen Count was high or very high, minimising waste and maximising relevance.

As brands race to keep pace with demanding consumer expectations, we will see more brands using these highly relevant, contextualised messaging in DOOH.

Experience: Physical to Digital

Interactivity is by far the best way to engage deeply with consumers. Research conducted by OceanOutdoor found that “digital sites cut through because our brains are programmed to respond to changes in our environment. When sites go digital, great becomes even greater.”

We have certainly seen a shift in the last 12 months with more brands looking to make their interactions with consumers more tangible and memorable. The PepsiMax “Unbelievable Bus Shelter” and “TimeTunnel” campaigns are great examples of how a brand has taken interaction with consumers to a whole new level, one that is engaging and memorable in a completely new way. 2015 will see greater investment in this sort of ‘clever creative’ as brands experiment with more ‘PR generating’ campaigns, that bring their brand to life new ways for consumers.


One of the great elements of OpenLoop is that it enables brands to ‘test & learn’ and then repeat campaigns on a much larger scale. We saw this in 2014 with Sky Difference and Google Outside. Both campaigns were initially small dynamic campaigns limited to a few hundred sites in London; the second iteration of these campaigns saw a much larger execution across London and the UK. With OpenLoop now integrated with 80% of USA networks, we fully expect to see bigger, highly tactical, geo-specific campaigns running here in 2015.


Every year it seems for the past several years has been heralded as being the ‘year of mobile’ and this year is no different. What does this mean? The importance of mobiles in our everyday lives increases every year and therefore, the data they expose allows for greater targeting and a better user journey. We expect to see that data and experiential elements will become more prevalent in DOOH in 2015 as our lives become ever more connected to the world around us thanks to our mobile phones.

As for general trends, we’ve come up with an acronym for the kinds of DOOH campaigns we want to help develop this year, SMART — Strategic, Measurable, Artistic, Relevant, and Technological.

By being strategic, we can create content and campaign messaging that makes media money work harder. Moving towards a measurement model for digital out of home is important for the growth of the market. We’re a creative company, so artistic flare is important — we want the campaigns we produce to stand out from the crowd. The ability to be relevant and responsive to things like location, environment, mood, weather, and time of day is where DOOH comes into its own. And finally, technology keeps pushing the medium forward, but it must go hand-in-hand with creativity — if the tech becomes more important than the idea, we lose our audience.

So I guess I’d say, this year, expect to see some even SMARTer digital out of home campaigns!

A new monthly thought piece from our Chief Operating Officer, Ben Putland, in our New York office.

I’ve been in New York for ten months now and visit Times Square every few weeks to see what’s running on the hundreds of screens, in one of the only places in the world people come to photograph ads. I’m always looking for something that cuts through the visual clutter and engages people. Given the cost of advertising on these screens, it’s really important that the creative engages the consumer in some way and the brand gets maximum value from their media spend. Getting engagement right is a bigger challenge than you might think, and  the Revlon campaign is one that really stands out from the crowd…

I was lucky enough to witness the launch of the Revlon #LoveIsOn campaign on a very cold night in December 2014, there was a huge crowd of people waiting with anticipation as the countdown on screen reached zero. The event had a stage, entertainment  and experiential teams giving out samples. This was definitely a six figure budget to kick off the new Revlon campaign.

Fast forward to January 2015 and I’m walking through Times Square, it’s well below zero and the wind chill is painfully cold and I notice a big crowd gathered below the screen running the Revlon campaign. The crowd is bigger than any other in the area other than where people naturally congregate but given the temperature I was impressed.

The Selfie Phenomenon

Now I’m not a fan of the selfie, but it seems that this trend has got the world self portrait crazy. Riding the wave of popular trends is something advertising is great at and the activation on the screen helps make this craze even more prolific.

I’m a firm believer in delivering activations that use tools and methods that consumers are most comfortable with and by using the Selfie craze, this Revlon campaign executes it perfectly. Consumers can tag photos with #LoveIsOn, and after some moderation those images appear on the screen.

But here’s the super simple thing that has everyone stood waiting in the cold, a camera is mounted above the screen, it zooms in on the crowd below, a heart shape appears and zooms in  on a lucky couple in the middle of the crowd. Needless to say a lot of people are taking photos of themselves on the screen, and this is drawing in the crowds on a cold January day. If the Revlon marque was on screen as well as #LoveIsOn hashtag they could have squeezed a little more value out of this campaign. This is bar far the most popular thing happening in Times Square right now and is drawing  far bigger crowds than all of the other campaigns running… and there are some big ones!

For me good digital needs to be either useful or entertaining and this falls firmly with the latter.

Ben Putland
COO, Grand Visual, New York