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Nancy Fletcher

To showcase OOH’s creative impact, relevancy, and ability to work collaboratively and uniquely with mobile, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) has embarked on a fresh campaign to further strengthen and unite the industry.

EYE Reporter asked OAAA President and CEO Nancy Fletcher about the future of the business, social media’s role in OOH campaigns, most memorable initiatives and recent OAAA actions to reinforce OOH as a core media buy.

An attorney and industry authority, Fletcher has nearly 40 years of experience in OOH advertising. Her strong social media presence provides a deep understanding of the need to embrace and integrate social media into OOH campaigns. Fletcher has a successful history advocating for OOH in Congress and serves on the Board of Directors of OAAA, the Ad Council, and Geopath (formerly Traffic Audit Bureau).


Congratulations on your incredible accomplishment of 25 years of success at OAAA.  In a recent quote you say that one overriding lesson learned during your tenure is that “nothing works without industry unity and alignment.” What is the area of alignment and unity you are most proud of and secondly, what is the biggest opportunity for unity and alignment, which if achieved would have the greatest positive impact as we look to the future of OAAA and the OOH industry? 


We've had 26 consecutive quarters of OOH growth since the recession, yet OOH still garners only 5 percent of US ad budgets. My belief in industry unity and alignment applies across the board: as a relatively small industry, we're stronger when we speak in a unified voice in the marketplace and the legislative arena.

1) In my mind, a standout example occurred in 1991. Congress considered legislation to ban new billboards and allow government to take existing billboards without the payment of just compensation. The united OOH industry - against formidable opposition - defeated this threat. The dividends of that victory are continued growth, increased value, and respect. 

2) In a recent example of marketing unity, leading CEOs and CMOs from around the industry gathered and spent several months this year crafting a unified strategy that is intended to fuel the success of OOH for the next five years. They created a vision for the medium that positions OOH as a core media buy, right alongside mobile, social and digital advertising. 

I am convinced that broad industry adoption of the new plan will have a positive impact on our future by differentiating OOH from other media and defining a path for growth. In fact, we have created the OAAA out of home positioning tool box to help with brand and value positioning. 

(Click here for the tool box

3) In the near future, the OOH industry faces a challenge and opportunity that could be as important as any faced before.  

As technology continues to advance, the current mobility model will change. Experts expect to see more fleet ownership, shared rides, and eventually some vehicles could drive themselves. Industry unity and alignment greatly advance our prospects to translate this big change into opportunity. 


You say that the OAAA recently created a new five-year vision that positions OOH as a core media buy. What was the impetus for bringing this task force together at this particular time?


As an industry, we have an opportunity to define what OOH stands for so others do not define it for us. By highlighting the core attributes that differentiate OOH – creative impact, contextual relevance, and the power to amplify other media – the OOH industry aims to reinforce the vital role that OOH plays in today’s increasingly fragmented, mobile-driven media landscape. 

I loved it when, concurrent to OAAA's announcement of the new five-year plan, Twitter launched an OOH campaign that epitomizes the top OOH attributes of creative impact, contextual relevance, and media amplification. 

Click here to read more on Twitter's OOH Campaign



OAAA has promised to elevate OOH among planners, buyers, advertisers, and agencies so that it is considered a more fundamental, essential, and core part of the media mix. How is OAAA helping OOH media companies and agencies make good on this promise?

Art Everywhere U 

Art Everywhere U 


OAAA works to elevate the OOH medium with relevant audiences, including buyers and planners.

1.) OAAA gets in the door. 

Steve Nicklin of OAAA has a presentation he takes on the road to 100 agencies a year that promotes the OOH medium and its importance in today's highly-fragmented media environment. He discusses how it works, how it's measured, how it complements the media mix, how it has evolved with technology (both digital and mobile), and how it's easily bought and sold. The goal is to promote the importance of OOH in the media mix and make sure planning agencies especially understand its relevance and evolution as they plan campaigns.

2) OAAA coordinates national campaigns that showcase the strengths of OOH.

OAAA's promotional campaign "Feel the Real" was aimed directly at planners, buyers, advertiser, and agencies (2015), by name. When the industry celebrated great American art through Art Everywhere US (2014), the campaign showcased OOH creative impact. When OAAA promoted national parks (2016), the campaign garnered historic social media impressions with images such as the President of the United States displayed on the NASDAQ sign in Times Square. In 2017, we'll launch a campaign with National Geographic to help save endangered species. This visually compelling campaign also has a strong media component. 

3) OAAA provides third-party research. OAAA has the most comprehensive compilation of industry information, market analysis, and case studies. OAAA commissions effectiveness and relevance research, and then shares the proof. The latest Nielsen Study shows how OOH amplifies other media. This year, Nielsen is doing a new study measuring the value of posters and Benchmarketing (formerly known as Brand Science) is conducting an analytic review of OOH Return on Investment (ROI) within the media mix.

4.) OAAA shares the positive news. As I write, at sunrise, I've tweeted five times today. An important part of my job is to tell our story 24/7, and my colleagues at OAAA, Geopath, and DPAA do the same. 


One of the areas that sets OOH advertising apart is the ability to bring storytelling to life in a creative way. Can you provide one or two examples of OOH campaigns that have resonated with you over the recent years?

Cielo de la Paz traveled from her home in Alameda, Calif., to New York City to see her photo on a billboard. Photo: Courtesy of Cielo de la Paz

Cielo de la Paz traveled from her home in Alameda, Calif., to New York City to see her photo on a billboard. Photo: Courtesy of Cielo de la Paz


Apple's iPhone campaign is powerful storytelling, amplified globally by OOH media in multiple languages. Big, beautiful OOH displays are bold proof points of a simple narrative: your iPhone takes great pictures.

Showing my age, I'll tell you that I loved the "God Speaks" campaign in the 1990s. It began in South Florida when an anonymous donor put simple messages on bus shelters to generate dialogue about spiritual values. OAAA adopted the campaign and it "went viral" before that term was common.



As an active social media user yourself, do you feel that there is a way for OOH to better embrace social media and make the connection between ooh and social with respect to consumers campaign engagement? 


The opportunity exists for marketers to integrate social media elements into their OOH campaigns to drive deeper engagement and increased results. By combining social media with OOH, marketers can achieve genuine interaction with consumers while driving earned media. In my opinion, OOH and social is a combination that every campaign should consider.

For sales people, the Nielsen study is on point: OOH drives social media engagement.  

On a related topic, you asked about the industry's new five-year plan to position OOH for continued growth. When industry leaders created this plan, they agreed that our sales force must better understand other media – including social - in order to better achieve marketers’ goals.