Category Archives: Advertising

DOOH! (Digital Out Of Home) Advertising: You Have to See It to Believe It

Times SquareTimes Square, New York, New York at night: Stimulus maximus. Excitement, motion, bright colors and sound fill the air. DOOH advertising at its best. As consumers become more adept at screening out advertising messages delivered via traditional media, more advertising dollars are being allocated to non-traditional media such as DOOH and online. One of the benefits of online advertising is the ability to determine an accurate return-on-investment (ROI) from the campaign, something that is much more difficult to do using traditional media. Online video advertising totaled $968 million in 2009 and is expected to reach $5 billion by the end of 2012.

Today’s focus, although somewhat related, is on the proliferation of DOOH advertising, why it works and predicted total advertising expenditures by 2013. In 2007, Paul Nunes and Jeffrey Merrihue published an article in the MIT Sloan Management Review entitled “The Continuing Power of Mass Advertising”. The authors, both executives at different divisions of Accenture, presented a well-developed plan to keep mass advertising relevant in the era of advertising avoidance. In my opinion, this article, albeit somewhat under-appreciated by the mass audience, is a classic and a must read for anyone involved in advertising.

One of the strategies proposed by Nunes and Merrihue is to “Catch People in Bottlenecks”Taxi DOOH Advertising or in places that they can’t easily escape. Times Square offers a perfect example – a high traffic area frequented by millions of tourist annually. Other locations where DOOH advertising works well include transit centers (airports, train stations, bus stations, hubs of mass transportation), in the transportation itself (buses, taxi cabs, trains), elevators, college campuses, retail establishments, casinos, bars and entertainment facilities, sporting events, public restrooms, crowded or congested areas of high pedestrian traffic (Times Square), basically any place that provides services to large numbers of people.

China has the most DOOH venues globally, with one company possessing in excess of 120,000 screens. By contrast, there are an estimated 26,000 screens in the USA. But the industry is projected to grow dramatically over the next decade, despite concerns regarding a perceived negative impact on the environment in terms of sustainability (being addressed by the manufacturers and the industry). In the US alone, total expenditures on DOOH advertising are projected to reach $2.7 billion by the end of 2013.

Urinal DOOH AdvertisingMy excitement for DOOH stems from its natural interface with online video advertising and mobile advertising. In the future, campaigns may be managed across all three platforms in unity. And with GPS and bluetooth technology, these campaigns can be customized and synchronized by locale. However, there are a couple of hurdles that need to be addressed before this happens. First, almost 46 percent of digital signs/displays are not connected to a network. For coordination and growth to occur, the network infrastructure must be expanded and its security assured. And second, a need exists for an on-line auction or brokerage service where DOOH advertising time can be purchased via location and based on market factors such as traffic (reach), impressions (frequency) and time of day (drive time, prime time, off-prime time). Once the infrastructure and market are established and accessible, DOOH advertising is destined to explode.

For more information regarding DOOH advertising, visit the DailyDOOH blog. In addition to possessing a keen sense of humor and a clever double entendre for a name, the site contains a wealth of information about the state of current affairs in DOOH.

Love it or hate it, DOOH advertising is here to stay. As a marketer, the need for you to look into DOOH advertising is crystal clear.


Nunes, Paul F. and Jeffrey Merrihue (2007), “The Continuing Power of Mass Advertising”, MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 48, No. 2, pp. 63-71.