Episode 197 Featuring Alex Bond

Out of Home Advertising and Truckside Marketing with Tom Shea

Out of Home Advertising and Truckside Marketing with Tom Shea

Tom Shea is the Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Adgile Media Group, an advertising company that specializes in truckside marketing via electronic mobile billboards. During our conversation we talk about how truckside marketing works, how it impacts consumers, and out of home advertising as a marketing technique, among other topics.


What is Adgile Media Group

Tom Shea: So Adgile media's the first tech enabled out of home company that leverages last mile delivery trucks, turns them into large format mobile billboards on behalf of brands.

And I think how we differentiate and why the company's exciting is we've brought a lot of proof of performance elements that people have grown to accustom to see on the digital formats to the physical world. So things like return on ad spend, cost to acquire customer, and we've worked with a ton of brands since we launched and seen great results.

So it's been a blessing to be able to work with so many people in this industry and. And be authentically and, and meaningfully helpful. 

Alex Bond: No, that's very interesting work. So you specifically, what's your role in the company? 

Tom Shea: Yeah, so I'm the Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer. I went index too heavily on the title cause that's all smoke and mirrors as I'm sure you know in the startup world. I do a little bit of everything. I'd say my main function is focusing on brand direct sales at the company. 

Psychology of Truckside Marketing and how it works

Alex Bond: Cool. So about, I guess the business model, kind of break that down a little bit. So you work with the trucking companies as well as the people who wish to advertise on the truck, right? So yeah. Can you break that down a little bit for me and how that works?

Tom Shea: Yeah, we took probably the two areas that couldn't be further apart. And it's hilarious cause the personalities involved are so different. Also, I feel like it's turning me into a little bit of like a multiple personalities person. So on the trucking side, essentially what we learned was a handful of players controlled the majority of assets on the road.

And so the reason that was important is as we were trying to figure out which assets made sense to do business with, we had to figure out which assets had the greatest utility time spent on the road in these dense urban areas racking up a ton of use. And so we struck a partnership with those asset aggregators to get all of the GPS information for all of those vehicles, simulate them and understand that honestly, only a sliver of the asset supply is actually worth doing business with. 

And that's important because we put our name behind performance. We show things like CAC and ROAS. So after figuring out those partnerships, we essentially earned the rights to advertise on these vehicles. And then what we've done on the brand facing advertising side is, not only give people a large format asset to advertise on, but also build in the technology layer that allows those people to justify and receive and return the performance of their media investment.

Those things that people have really gotten used to seeing on digital. I think there's an interesting example here is like this is not necessarily something that is new in the industry in terms of proof of performance. It's new for this format, and I think when we look at the history of media spend and how that's sort of changed hands.

It used to be in these formats, but now it's 92% plus digital and for good reason. Like you needed to be able to justify and you know, if you have stakeholders to bring along for the process, prove, prove the ROI that existed here. But what we saw play out is like, you know, people all went to digital. They all went digital at the same time, and they put downward pressure on the yields that existed in those channels and started to compete it away and as people, you know, we're spending all their money on Google search, Facebook, TikTok, Amazon ads. 

It's a finite number of channels and there's a lot of brands competing in the same arena. So being able to bring something to market that gave everyone those tools and things they had grown accustomed to and honestly expect. And being able to prove the value of the format in a way that people haven't been able to traditionally has just been helpful in terms of driving adoption and, and helping these brands along as they get to the different inflection points of their brand journey. 

Alex Bond: Because it definitely feels like a market that isn't as flooded, which has to give you a bit of an advantage, you know, from your media group's perspective as well as the people who are trying to advertise with you, is that you could actually sell that to them and they'll, they'll listen. I think it's pretty obvious, you know. 

Tom Shea: And it's weird, like everyone's looking for that arbitrage, right? If everyone ran the same playbook, it would be really hard to compete and differentiate it as a brand. I think something that's really interesting, just to riff on that a little bit, is like when we started, we took business from all verticals, like HR software, all the way to cpg, all the way, you know, and what we realized is this format specifically should specialize and it should be cpg, adult beverage and franchise.

And the reason for that is, and this only showed in the data, it took like doing business with 75 plus clients to figure this out for ourselves. People don't know that the trucks are ads, like people think they're part of the supply chain for those brands. And so as you think of an ecosystem where we have been trained, they're like brand founders and e-commerce managers have been trained to find the customer. 

We're creating something that allows the customer to find them and there's something magical from that. Not only in the surface but in the data where people are going, okay, I guess this brand is moving a ton of product because they have all these trucks cuz we're anchored on Amazon trucks, anchored on alcohol delivery trucks.

And that only doesn't only apply to like customers, it applies to investors. It applies to buyers at retail. And so if everyone's thinking this brand is punching above their weight, delivering a ton of product, they're making the assumption that their neighbors and their peers are consuming that product.

And what we saw play out in the data for those categories specifically was increased sales online, increased website traffic, increased sales at the retail like scan level, and increased engagement on the digital ad buy that they were simultaneously. 

Alex Bond: No. I mean, that practically answers my next question, which was gonna be, you know, what the psychology of truck side marketing is and why it works.

From what I'm hearing you say, Thomas, is that, you know, generally speaking, you see, say a Budweiser truck and it just says Budweiser on the side. Now you can actually give that space to other people, or you know, since it is digital, you can layer ads on top of each other. Right? Is that something you guys do?

Tom Shea: So it's static ads. But augmented with digital advertising. Essentially, the vector or source of truth for doing attribution is geo fences that are constantly drawn around the truck and we capture people's mobile phones that have location services enabled. It allows us to do a lot of things, but to answer your question directly is you can type all those things to pay social, to programmatic networks, et cetera.

And re-message that exposed audience with advertisements after the fact. So there is a dynamic layer to it. We actually started the business doing digital screens and ended up in static to be able to show ad investors that we could scale this business quickly. It was just screens were very expensive from a CapEx perspective.

Sort of walked into that learning to be honest. I'd love to sit here and be like, we had this master plan. I think anyone that's on this journey knows there is dumb luck involved. And I'm willing to say that that was the one that we definitely just walked into and feel fortunate that we did. 

Alex Bond: Like Bob Ross said, just a happy accident. Do you guys, on a more like tactile level, do you guys muck up and design the advertisements or does the company wishing to advertise do that? 

Tom Shea: It's a great question. And it's related to that psychology question, to be honest. So when we started the business, And honestly, truthfully, even now, like majority of relationships, people are providing artwork for us.

I think what we sort of learned over time and through data is we should be designing that artwork. And the reason for that is if there's information asymmetry between us and our clients and that we have, we're sitting on a lot more data, no matter how thoughtful we've been about trying to lay out best practices and communicate those.

Ultimately we have an advantage in that context. And so if you have all, if you have that information in asymmetry and you're gonna report out on performance, especially, it follows that the incentives are aligned to wanna do the best thing or the right thing possible for everyone involved. And so I think what we saw play out is like people, either they were slammed with capacity or just, you know, some of important elements we were highlighting we're not heading home. 

They'd be trying to retrofit successful social media ad creative for the format. This is not a format where that works. It goes back to behavioral psychology to a degree. You know, you look at a campaign like Fly by Jing, which is one of our clients, the fill of the 26 by nine foot panels is the same color, right as a stop sign.

Very intentional because if you go back to psychology, when you see a stop sign, a brake light, a red light, you're coached by society to stop, to want to stop and pay attention and look at your surroundings. And so when you see something that's like often a few feet from your face, You're not like that corner of the eye glance, which so often happens in out of home, becomes a full head turn.

Like, oh, what was that? And that's just one example. But you know, there's clear trends in the data. Like hero shots perform better than lifestyle shots. The back panel is much smaller than the side panel, but you can get a lot away with a lot more copy on the back panel because the dwell time is vehicular traffic, whereas the side panels skew towards pedestrian traffic.

The back panel gets a dwell time of six to 30 seconds. You can actually get a message across and you'll see on Amazon trucks it says on the back, Amazon Prime, a whole truckload more of those trucks on the side. It's just the Amazon Smiley face. It's because that side panel's dwell time is about six seconds on average.

So there's a lot of these interesting behavioral like psychology design considerations. Admittedly, you think about where we're sitting, it, it'll become a business risk if to us, if we continue to let people fully own the creative elements of this. Because if we're, if we're buying us because of performance and we have all this performance data, I want this to go as well as possible.

So I'm gonna get involved. And yes, that puts all of the campaign details on us. So if it doesn't go well, that falls on us. It's sort of a bet on yourself, I think. And if you have confidence you shouldn't be fearful to do so. 

Alex Bond: No, that's a great answer, and it makes a lot of sense. You know, when you break it down in terms of, you know, the behavioral psychology and the colors and the space on where the truck works.

I mean, I worked for a company where we tried to retrofit a lot of stuff for social media and it, and it just doesn't work, you know, so my last job was in like a TV show, so trying to take those little sound bites and put 'em into social media is trying to like, you know, force a square peg in a round hole sometimes. And there were times that it worked, but you know, you have to have like the inside track the way that you do to articulate that to your advertisers. 

Tom Shea: Yeah. And you know, just like, where are you in the marketing funnel? Like yeah, there's performance, but I'm not gonna sit here and try to pretend that out of home.

It's at the top. It's at like the oh reach frequency, awareness, consideration elements. That requires a different style than what you're gonna put in front of someone that's browsing TikTok, where they're already staring at it. You gotta pull these people in. And so knowing the strategies that help facilitate the desired action provide meaningful value.

And it's also not a resolved expectation for someone who's buying so many different media formats to know all of these things, they should be able to confident, rely on their vendors and partners to fill in the information gaps where they exist. 

Proving the effectiveness of out-of-home advertising

Tom Shea: Yeah, so let me talk about the attribution layer real quick cause I think it's something people will find pretty interesting and honestly clever.

Okay. So essentially what's happening is there's a GPS in every single asset that has an API that gives you latitude, longitude, and timestamp in real time, the backend. With software, we are drawing a geofence around that asset every second, capturing mobile phones that have location services enabled. It gets a little deeper.

We are able to resolve to their home IP address, capture their desktop, connect the tv, other devices for the sake of controlling for loss in the equation. But more importantly, let's just talk directly about e-commerce attribution. So if we're geofencing around this vehicle, we're capturing a population of individuals and we're putting pixels on the website, usually on the homepage, usually on the post checkout page that are listening for that same population that was exposed to the vehicle. 

And while that's a cool story in theory, like, oh, someone saw the truck and then took an action, it tells you nothing meaningful. And the reason that is that's one touch. And what's probably a multimedia strategy that has, let's say nine touches in total.

So from where we're sitting as adgile media group, you cannot claim that conversion and you cannot attribute that directly to the truck side media element. So the business case, How do you control all other variables so that the only difference between two populations is one group saw trucks and one group did not.

But both groups have been equally exposed to every form of in paid or organic media investment out there that you're pursuing. And so the way we've done that is I explained what the hypothesis groups looks like. It's that around a branded vehicle. Well, we are running a ghost truck. Lemme be very clear.

This is not a second truck. This is just software. We are running a ghost truck at all times. It lags behind the branded. 10 minutes backwards on that identical g p s route. And so as you picture this branded truck running through society, if you were to go 10 minutes back in time on that truck's route, drop a pin.

We're drawing an identically sized geofence capturing a population of mobile phones that we know have not been exposed to the branded vehicle. But we'll have also had equal likelihood to have been exposed to every form of media that you're pursuing. And what we report out on and what we measure is the difference in conversion behavior between those two discreet audiences.

So for a thousand people converted in a control group, 1500 people in the hypothesis group, we'd be able to say with confidence in statistical rigor that your $500, or I'm sorry, your x dollar media investment agile, I give these 500 incremental conversions, which gets your ROAS of X of Y. 

That's been our way to, I think, it's a little dense, but it is I think why we've been successful as a company is being able to prove performance, and also I think the evaluation criteria is fundamentally different.

For something so far up the marketing funnel, we index more on like, Hey, here's the benchmark of performance from an LTV to CAC ratio for the entire sort of customer set we've ever run, and here's how you're performing relative to those folks knowing out of homes, like a reach frequency sort of longer tail in terms of, Hey, is this gonna help our brand? It's something that will continue to provide value over the long term. 

Hopefully, and obviously feel free to poke and ask any additional questions, but hopefully that's a helpful summary view of how this all comes together.

Alex Bond: No, it is. So what I'm essentially hearing in Thomas is that you found a way to prove via these ghost trucks that it's not correlation without causation.

You actually were able to prove that there is a cause and effect and it wasn't by some other outside circumstance say, they were all coming out of a restaurant and they were talking about something at that restaurant or something like that, you can actually prove, no, it was this ad, it wasn't just, this is what someone a consumer was thinking about at that time. I think it's pretty clever if I'm being honest. 

Tom Shea: I mean, importantly it takes a level of scale. Like not everyone's gonna have location services on their phone. So if people want a topical time example, like figuring out that the vaccine was something that could be used wide spread, Hey, we need to test this on a certain threshold of people to, have confidence that how it behaves with this sample population is true of how it's the broader population that is given the vaccine is gonna experience this.

Same is true with the attribution model for out home, knowing that not everyone. As location services enabled, we need to make sure we have a certain duration of campaign, a certain number of assets to make sure we're getting a large enough sample size to confidently report out on those numbers. 

Common industries they work with

Alex Bond: So what industries do you specifically work with? Yeah, I guess even for someone who might be listening who's like, oh, that sounds interesting to me, maybe I wanna work with them. What kind of industries do you stick in and what's your biggest client? 

Tom Shea: Yeah, cpg and which I'd say is really broad. Like I'm talking snacks to like beauty. So anything in the cpg space, adult beverage, and I say qsr, but like anything sort of franchise model related, anything with like a retail element is sort of a great fit cause in addition to e-commerce stuff, we can show foot traffic lift into stores. 

So like if we're advertising for Chipotle, for example, how many people did we drive there over a control group. Our biggest clients, some quick hits, Glossier, planet Fitness, PepsiCo, T-Mobile. So definitely in that Fortune 1000 range at this point, but it's not where we started. And it's actually a fun story, so I'll share it. 

When we raised the money, and this was a big bet and it could have easily gone the other way, but fortunately it seems to have played out how we hoped it would. Again, some, some luck embedded in all this I think. But when we were starting the company, we took a very intentional go-to-market strategy that was informed by how podcast marketing and influencer marketing played their hands. Where for emerging brands that were, you know, digitally native DTC companies, we forced price arbitrage.

Like we made sure that this was the best buy if you were gonna buy out of home period. And that required burning venture money. It required operating at a loss, but at the same time, we were not bashful to them. Our strategy here was to give you a good deal that you'll never be able to find again.

But we're taking your logos and we're going to the Fortune 500s and we're saying, hey, these companies, all these are emerging brands. They're stealing market share from you. Look what they're doing that you're not doing. And so if you look at how podcast marketing played out, like my ads used to be Manscaped, Tommy John Underwear, and Casper.

Now it's Facebook saying they're not creepy and it's McDonald's. And that's true. Like that was my podcast advertisements this morning. You know, that is all of sort of like they saw that all these emerging brands were extracting price arbitrage, and they had two options. One, make a much bigger bet that extracts a greater amount of arbitrage and reap the benefits or reprice the product so that no one else in these emerging brands ecosystems can afford to compete in this arena.

And so those clients, a lot of them are fairly new to the Adgile brands, had 75 plus CPG clients like Fly by Jing and Kia and all these incredible awesome brands that I love working. That we made sure that they were getting hooked up because as helpful as it, it's great to be in a position to be helpful and I love that, but it was also very strategic and needed to get what is ultimately a weird format onto the map.

That's sort of how we played it. It's been a lot of fun working with those founders too, and being in a position honestly, in life, just to be able to be like, listen, we don't know how this is gonna go in the early days, but I do know if you're gonna buy out of home, this is gonna be a better buy than anything else in the market because we're subsidizing it with venture money.

Alex Bond: Well, you're minimizing the risk for these companies as much as you can when it's less money. 

Tom Shea: Totally. People loved the performance element too. Like, you know, getting something that's felt actionable in return is definitely a selling prop, especially with all the Facebook, iOS 14, like everyone was looking for a solution and this seems like they still are, which is great. 

Future of Adgile Media Group

Tom Shea: Hopefully this comes out after this launches, but I'm excited to talk about a product called Polygon because it's really different. It's just like a whole new category for us. 

The reason I'm so excited about it is it was a reactionary build this time, like we, you know, had the digital screens and then we pivoted and then realized people wanted attribution solved for. And so that was sort of like a journey. This one was like we were hearing a consistent issue and we built against it.

So I'll tell you about Polygon. Essentially what was happening when we were scaling the core product, which we'll call our virtual fleet product across the country, is we had to buy all this location data by market. So started in New York, then LA, then Chicago. At a certain point, we're now operating in like 20, 25 markets actively.

It became less expensive to just buy the entire country's location data in bulk. And so we had all this location data that we needed to support the attribution model. And we had all this interesting geofencing technology and in Q1, I started to hear something on these calls and who knows if it was macroeconomic or if it was people's like natural evolution of CPG brands, which is where we spend most of our time.

But everyone was moving from DTC to retail and focusing on their retail strategy. And I was like, okay, this is interesting. Fortunately, we can still support this because we can find them assets that spend time giving exposure to your point of purchase. So if you launch in Whole Foods, we'll find, go through our supply, figure out routes that spend a lot of their time around those Whole Foods, supporting those retailers.

But it was like, what else can we build to help support these emerging brands? And so Polygon leverages all of the same technology, all of that location outta all that saying, but removes out of home from the equation and starts to become a digital product. And so if you're launching your product in Whole Foods, say you launch in 75 doors in the Northeast, it's pretty high stakes.

And people were like, how do we support this? Let's buy some trucks, let's do some sampling. Let's do all this. You know, it's like the most high stakes moment inflection point for a brand, because if Whole Foods drops you, that has material impacts on your scale, velocity, ability to raise et cetera.

So people, you know, doing all sorts of crazy stuff. So we started hand drawing geo offenses around these retail locations. And this isn't like your Facebook, like, hey, let's draw a radius in a circle, five miles around as whole foods. This is literally a geofence that will not pick up data unless someone enters that store.

And what that allows us to do is capture the mobile phones that enter into that location. Hype them to paid social display networks, et cetera, and push ad creative that says Buy fly by Jing at Whole Foods and no longer does the KPI become DTC lift e-commerce traffic. It becomes what's happening with retail velocity.

And the reason we built it was these brand founders, I gotta ask like these are my friends at this point. Like I've worked so closely with these people. I'm also a founder. Like I really care about these people and. I built it as an emergency switch. I was like, not everyone's gonna need this product, but everyone's gonna wanna know it exists because if things are not moving off the shelf when you launch in Whole Foods, call me.

We'll flip the switch. We'll buy our way through this. Like, we'll just uncapped frequency, target these people with ads that say, go buy us in Whole Foods, or like, give some crazy offer to, to get them into store. What started to happen when we released it in beta is it took on a complete mind of its own, Hey, let's support retail to, hey, we sell sunscreen.

Can you geofence the beaches and tell me who is there five times this summer? Because we wanna hit them with DTC. As I was like, oh God. All right. Interesting. And then that just started to snowball, like people, dude scale sell ski apparel saying, can you geo offense the ski mountains? Tell me who likely has a season pass.

You have like people in the pet category that aren't yet in retail saying, can you get me all of the consumers that go to Pet Smarter, Petco, more than three times in the past 90 days. You have the B2B conference, people who drop like 200 K to sponsor a conference saying, Hey, can you geo offenses conference?

Get me those IDs and then my personal favorite one, someone raising a series A said, Hey, can you geofence these 16 investor offices before we show up and pitch in person and just hammer them with ads so they know who we are before we walk in? Which I did that one for free cause I was like, dude, you, someone's thinking here like I love this. 

And so you can see something that started as like a clear retail support product that has a lot of like the spirit and ethos of what we have been trying to do, build building around. Like this category that we know we have clear success in. It sort of just says not only like helpful, but also a statement on how we're trying to build this business.

I think something that's became clear with the truck side element is pricing parody with billboards. Technology parody with billboards will always have a clear advantage in these categories because of our formats psychology component. So if you know you have sustainable competitive advantage in a specific category, how do you continue to build around that category?

And so knowing that people were stressed about this, and this is what was keeping them at night, be able to build something, go to market with something that can be authentically helpful. You just always do more listening than talking. Those things reveal themselves, and so it's been a lot of fun to build that product.

It's been in beta since like, I don't know, beginning of Q3, probably 35 or so brands that have been using it, and it's crushing to be honest. So I'm really excited to launch it as a standalone. When will it be out? So it's te like technically everything's built. We just have like none of the marketing material or any like the landing page or things you're supposed to have when you do this stuff. But we're thinking January is when it will officially go live after the holidays. 

Alex Bond: Cool. I can't believe that hasn't existed already. You know, honestly, and coolest part of that is that the idea becomes open source. Like this is how I want to implement it. It's not like a one size fits all thing.

Tom Shea: And it's super flexible too, like if you're launching retail nationwide with a retailer, like, yeah, these trucks are perfect for the top five markets. They'll probably outperform this strategy because this strategy still requires, Zuckerberg still is getting like 98% of the budget when we use Polygon, right?

Like we're still beholden to those CPMs. So the truck side still has a ton of value in supporting the major markets. But what do you do with these secondary, tertiary markets where. Out of homes still gonna be pretty expensive. The ROI will decrease as you go lower and lower. In terms of markets, you can't ignore that piece of a pie.

So it gave something that allowed us to help the brand at like every part of its life cycle. We're pretty intentional. Our retention rate's high cause when brands aren't ready for the out-of-home, we tell them and like, we're like, listen, there's not enough from margin there's like, if we don't think we have a winning hand, we're not putting you in this situation.

There's an option where we can continue to be helpful. Nurture these brands along and help them solve for what they're trying to solve for sort of across the maturity spectrum. 

Alex Bond: It's cool. I I love it. I love the idea. You know, to kind of stay on the development topic, have you seen any sort of developments incorporating, say augmented reality marketing with the truck side advertisements? I feel like that's gotta be up your lane Thomas. 

Tom Shea: Here's something I'm playing with. So like going back to the color psychology, anything that can turn at I sought outta the corner of my eye into a full head turn, I think moves the needle meaningfully. So right now I am in the process of lobbying some of my larger beauty clients to put eyelashes on the headlights. 

So like, I don't know if you've ever seen like high school girls driving around with us, but it sounds silly. It sounds gimmicky, but let me make something very clear. If you look at Lyft, the ride share service and you look at how they communicated to the market that they existed, they put mustaches on the grill of the car, and that's sort of a blast from the past. 

But if you type in lift mustaches and go to the 70th page on Google search, there are still articles explaining how meaningful and impactful that was for their brands. Now we're starting to think like if we're recording out on performance, what else can you do to move the needle?

And it's things like that. It's things like, you know, I'm getting pictures of these trucks running around these markets from people on the fourth floor of a skyscraper. And he goes, okay, like the top is blank. Put put an Easter egg. Like put a, you know, if you're glossier you look good in a winky face and like a QR code, because that's memorable.

People will remember that and it'll stand out. And so, not yet with augmented reality. I'm sure there's elements to that. I think we can talk a little bit about this, but like celebrity led brands, I've always been anti QR code, anti link tree on these assets because our attribution model's much stronger.

But now with this emergence of celebrity led brands, we can turn these things into first party data generation flywheel, where it's like, okay, policies, brands, af94, like put a QR code on it. It says scan to win backstage passes to my show. And then you get their SMS number, you get their email, and then you turn a top of funnel impression into something that you start hitting them with emails, you start hitting them with a text.

And you turn something that becomes this gift that continues to give. So I'm always thinking outside the box. I sort of suggested kinda keep indexing on how you could use psychology to drive performance. 

Alex Bond: Here's a freebie. I don't understand why someone doesn't have like a one-way mirror on the windshield where it says Fig Newton from the outside, but it's perfectly clear from the inside. 

Tom Shea: Run me back. Because if it's a freebie, I gotta make sure. 

Alex Bond: So if i's almost like a one-way mirror, right? So if you look, you can look extremely clearly out of the windshield. But anyone who's looking at your windshield would see an advertisement. 

Tom Shea: Yeah, totally. And there are vinyls that allow for that. 

Alex Bond: Because I know they put 'em on the sides. It's probably a hazard to put it on the front.

Tom Shea: I don't know. It's come a long way to be honest, but there's definitely a lot of creative stuff. Like, you could also turn these people into sampling. People are always asking the driver like, oh, I love that brand. Do you have any products?

If you could turn that person into a brand, you know, you can start doing sampling at scale and stuff like that. So there's a never ending list. We got our work cut out for us, but changing something where you have to prove performance. Makes your baseline is always thinking in through this lens of like what's the weird stuff that you can do.

Future of out-of-home advertising

Alex Bond: Well, I appreciate that you're always thinking outside of the box. I think that's very cool and I kind of wanna expand on it actually a little bit. So, you know, probably the first out-of-home marketing or advertising that I've ever remember was like probably on a beach.

And that was probably seeing the banner from from the airplane. It is probably the first time I actually like remember it. And you know, from there we've seen buses and bus benches and billboards and now truck side marketing. And I've even seen choreographed drone advertisements, which I think is pretty cool.

It also gives me a bit of like the, oh my gosh, is the sky up for sale now? Like that is some dystopian a little bit, but is that the future of out-of-home marketing? And if not, what? You know, where does it go from here? So truck side is kind of the next drones. Where's the whole landscape go from here? 

Tom Shea: On the drone topic, cause it's one, I have the same thing. And I was like we're going to the skies now. But something that we learned just from like, when we're doing digital screens and like a lot of legal due diligence is there's legislation called the Highway Beautification Act of 1960. It's like the prevailing legislation in this context, and it is what limited the erection of billboards to a point where like, hey, why aren't there, why don't we just put a thousand billboards?

Like, tell me why I can't. And essentially in the spirit of beautifying the environment and like retaining natural beauty in society. They essentially made this law where they restrict the cadence and aggregate number of billboards in society such that if you exceed it, they withhold federal state highway funding for you, for your state.

So there's actually been zero net new billboards added to circulation in over 10 years. The trend right now to answer your question is digitizing them because it allows folks to service more advertisers when there's a scarcity of supply. It also allows you to get pretty intelligent about, like you think of programmatic ad networks like this real time bidding and selling and trading of media space online.

There's definitely a movement in out of home right now, digital out of home where you can start to get really clever and smart about when and where you're executing. So like when we were doing digital screens, part of the beauty and why we were so enthralled by that business model was like, okay, you have this truck that has digital screens.

Well, you know your geofencing around it. You can pick up this information about the viewers. If you have a Hispanic population, switch the creative, the copy to Spanish, and the second you, you know, reach a different type of consumer, switch it to something that they clearly would index to, things like that.

So I think more and more we'll see the emergence of that in the out-of-home space. If you were to ask me like what trend is here to stay and clearly like and it's a pretty small industry, so I feel like I have a decent pulse in it. Like that is what people are most excited about. It removes a lot of the barriers. People at a like can enter at a low price point. There's just a lot to love, I think with the digital side of things. 

Do we need more screens in our lives? No. It's sort of, I guess, play the hand you're dealts the incentives are aligned for people to push the business in that direction and get it, honestly, get it closer to parody with how buying other media looks and feels and acts.

Alex Bond: Well, and I think it's interesting, you know, and the truck side marketing, the ad comes to you. You put the ad on wheels, so it's gonna hit more people than if it's just sitting in place. And that, that seems logical to me. I know that the data isn't so episo facto like that. 

Tom Shea: Yeah. And if we run into supply constraints on the top performing assets, like there's a business case for digitizing, can we build a billion dollar business without doing so? I think absolutely. 

But it'd be fun to sort of go back to our roots, cause like we built that software in 2018 of like, okay, make this ad change when it passes exit five to whatever's off exit six. Or like, you know, you're near msg, put the next score in real time. And you look at like what Firefly in the taxi top digital providers have done.

It's largely in that spirit. You know, it's gonna get better, it's gonna get smart over time. But it's a trend that a lot of people are excited about, including myself. 

Alex Bond
Alex Bond

Meet Alex Bond—a seasoned multimedia producer with experience in television, music, podcasts, music videos, and advertising. Alex is a creative problem solver with a track record of overseeing high-quality media productions. He's a co-founder of the music production company Too Indecent, and he also hosted the podcast "Get in the Herd," which was voted "Best Local Podcast of 2020" by the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia, USA.

Share post