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March 2014

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OOH! Out of Home Advertising a Winner

Compiled by Ken Custer

According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) out of home advertising (OOH) can be traced back to the earliest civilizations. Thousands of years ago, the Egyptians employed tall stone obelisks to publicize laws and treaties. It was in 1450 that Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type printing and advertising in the modern era was launched in the form of the handbill. The lithographic process was perfected in 1796 that gave rise to the illustrated poster. Gradually measures were taken to ensure exposure to posters and this led to billposters erecting their own structures in high traffic areas. In 1835 the large format poster (measuring more than 50 square feet) originated in New York when Jared Bell began printing circus posters.

Since that time OOH advertising has expanded into many forms. Billboards now include Bulletins, Digital Billboards, Posters, Junior Posters and Wall/Spectaculars. Street Furniture includes bus shelters, phone kiosks, news racks and shopping malls. Transit includes buses, airports, subway and rail, truck side/mobile, taxis and wrapped vehicles. Alternative locations include cinema, digital, arena and stadiums. Interior displays are found in convenience stores, health clubs, restaurants and bars.

Production techniques in OOH displays have changed dramatically. The large billboards are no longer hand painted but originate on pre-printed Polyvinyl Chloride that wraps around the board. In 2005 the first digital billboards were installed that can digitally change the advertising message at a permanent location. These are now available in small and large formats.

There are numerous methods for measuring out of home media effectiveness, usually in relation to OOH viewing compared to radio listenership, television viewership, newspaper and magazine readership, and Internet usage. OOH metrics often includes demographic and psychographic information to help advertisers determine who is being exposed to advertising, rather than how many people are being exposed to a message. A cornerstone of OOH metrics is TAB (Traffic Audit Bureau) Out of Home Ratings. They are a standardized, quantitative and reliable measurement that is consistent with other common media metrics.
In 2002 Arbitron and Nielsen began testing the feasibility of developing outdoor ratings.

Industry growth
Nationally out of home (OOH) advertising revenue rose 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, accounting for more than $1.6 billion, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). Revenue for the first three quarters of 2013 reached nearly $5.3 billion. The OOH advertising industry has seen positive year-over-year revenue growth since the second quarter of 2010.

“The out of home advertising industry has now posted 14 quarters of consecutive growth and continues to expand market share,” said OAAA President & CEO Nancy Fletcher.

The 2013 OOH industry revenue increase of 4.4 percent YTD continues to outpace YTD 2013 Real GDP growth. In the third quarter of 2013, the Miscellaneous Services, Restaurant, Retail, and Insurance and Real Estate categories produced the largest volume growth over 2012.

According to OAAA national information:
Small business depends on outdoor advertising to direct customers to business
locations and to drive sales. Many of these businesses do not have affordable,
effective alternatives to outdoor advertising.
Three out of four businesses using billboards say they'd lose sales if they lost their
billboards. Of those who expected losses, they estimated decreased sales of 18%,
according to a survey conducted by Villanova Marketing Professor Charles R.

In 2006, 73% of billboard messages promoted local advertisers, 18% national goods
and services, and 9% displayed public service and other ads.

Four out five of these local businesses are considered “Small and Medium Sized
Enterprises” (SMEs), with fewer than 50 employees. The typical business relying on
Billboard advertising employs 35 workers.

Nationwide, more than 300,000 unique local businesses use billboard advertising.
These local businesses employ more than 9 million people. While billboard
companies directly employ approximately 17,744 workers.
Industry Categories include:
  • Misc. services & amusements
  • Media & advertising
  • Retail
  • Restaurants
  • Public transportation., hotels & resorts
  • Financial
  • Communications
  • Insurance & real estate
  • Government, politics & organizations
  • Schools, camps, seminars
These key segments of the local economy are part of the broad “voice” for outdoor
advertising, and form coalitions at the local, state, and national level.
The link between travel/tourism and outdoor advertising is strong. One-third of
outdoor ads support the travel/tourism industry, a top employer in most states.
Travel-generated employment equals 7.5 million jobs in America, according to the
U.S. Travel Association.

Plus, tens of thousands of landowners benefit from lease payments for billboards
located on their property, helping pay property taxes, mortgages, and living
expenses. A comprehensive analysis of land parcels in Hillsborough County, FL
(Tampa) showed billboards enhance property values.

The Economic impact OOH on Colorado
This Economic Impact of Billboard Advertising report provides a research based
approach to understanding the scope and economic importance of billboards in the State
of Colorado. Billboards are an important means of communication, especially for local
Billboard advertising in the State of Colorado benefits 3,223 local businesses that employ
82,329 people. These local businesses are a cornerstone of the economy for the State
of Colorado.

Local businesses benefiting from billboard advertising: 3,223
Employees benefiting from billboard advertising: 82,329
Average employees per local business: 26
NOTE: This information should be regarded as a conservative count of businesses using billboard advertising in this jurisdiction in 2007. This report does not include all billboard ads or all billboard companies. It specifically does not include product ads, or ads for charities, political candidates, public education, government, or expositions.

So why use Out of Home Advertising?
Sukle Advertising and Design is one of the most creative users of outdoor in Colorado. We asked Mike Sukle why he feels the medium is so effective?
“Getting people's attention is becoming more and more difficult. They switch radio stations the minute a commercial comes on. They TiVo their favorite shows and then skip the commercials. There are thousand and thousands of online options and it can be difficult to make a big impression in the limited space on many of these sites. Out-of-home advertising can overcome many of these challenges. The medium is a forced medium, meaning that if you drive or walk, you will be exposed to the billboards on that route. And the medium is so physically imposing that it provides an incredible canvas to create a compelling message.
We've had great success using out-of-home media to build brands and drive business for our clients. The more creatively you use the space the greater the effect. Many of the billboards that we've created have been photographed by people and passed around endlessly on social media. Denver Water is a great example of that. The local utility has awareness and respect worldwide because of the campaigns that we have created for them using out-of-home media.”

We asked members of the three major outdoor companies in Colorado to give the top three reasons OOH is so effective in Colorado:
Matt Ragonese, Sales Manager, CBS Outdoor
1. Denver is home to more than 3 million people and is the 19th largest metropolitan region in the U.S.A. It also attracts more than 9 million visitors each year.
2. Denver drivers have long commute times; average drive time is approximately 27 minutes.
3. Denver is an extremely outdoor oriented/active city. Residents constantly in their cars commuting on surface streets as well as highways (where OOH is located).

Cliff Moak, Sales Manager, Lamar Advertising
1. As a destination state with high tourism and active residence, Colorado provides a large captive audience to Out-of-Home year round.
2. Nearly 80% of the population commutes daily. These commuters are exposed to Out-of-Home on their way to work, shop and play.
3. Colorado's population is increasing. As Colorado keeps growing, so does the state's Out-of-Home audience.

Tim Small, Market Manager, Mile High Outdoor
1. Population always on the go
2. New businesses always being formed
3. Can't be tuned out, turned off, tossed away

Other than word of mouth, out of home advertising is the oldest form of advertising and continues to be extremely effective. The medium has kept up with technology as it progressed from hand painted signs, to color graphics and printing with type. Today it has moved into the digital age with graphics printed on polyvinyl, digital billboards and signage not only along the highways but anywhere that people gather from transportation hubs, to retail stores, vehicles and even the washroom stalls. When the creative message is done properly, an idea can be delivered to someone moving at 60 miles per hour on the highway or walking along the street. Today's out of home advertising is one of the strongest brand builders and sales tools available.
To learn more about OOH, visit the Outdoor Advertising Association of America website at

Colorado Outdoor Companies

CBS Outdoor
4647 Leyden St
Denver, CO 80216
Phone - 303-333-5400
Contact - Matt Ragonese, Sales Manager
Web -
Displays offered
Posters (sole vendor in this market)
Transit Shelters
Bus Benches
Coverage area
Denver Metro
Rocky Mountain (Front Range)
Colorado Springs

Lamar Outdoor
12301 Grant St., #240
Thornton, CO 80241
Contact - Cliff Moak, Sales Manager
Web -
Displays offered
Transit - busses, light rail, shelters, benches
Coverage area
Throughout Colorado

Mile High Outdoor
9250 E Costilla Ave., Ste. 120
Greenwood Village, CO 80112
Contact - Tim Small, Market Manager
Displays offered
Bulletins of all sizes
Digital Billboard Network
Coverage area
All of Colorado

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