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Consumers Notice OOH Posters More Than Digital Media
By Staff Writer

March 9, 2017

In the newest
Nielsen OOH research study, more than half of US adults 18+ report they have noticed a poster billboard in the last month. Given today's highly competitive and fragmented media environment, another important finding is most respondents agree poster ads stand out more than other media, including online, mobile devices, radio, and newspaper advertising.

The study found 94 percent of those who noticed a poster in the last month looked at the advertising message, and more than half were highly engaged with the ad. Nearly 90 percent recalled seeing advertising, and 47 percent recalled seeing a specific ad. Millennials were most likely to notice posters, with highest viewership (71%) among 25-34-year-olds, while 65 percent of adults 18-44 report noticing posters.

In the past month, 65 percent of adults noticed a poster directing them to a nearby store, business, or restaurant. Fifty-five percent of consumers who noticed directional posters changed their plans to visit the business advertised. Nearly a quarter of those who saw a poster in the last month made a purchase at the business advertised, and 40 percent talked about the ad with friends and family.

The report also found posters prompt online engagement. Thirty percent of survey respondents searched online for more details about a featured message, and 29 percent visited the advertiser's website.
Nielsen conducted 4,020 online surveys, with local residents age 18 or older in 10 US markets between August and November 2016. Thirty-six (36) campaigns utilizing poster ad units were selected for testing across the survey markets. Ad recall results are shown among respondents who participated in the survey while the test campaigns were active in their local market.

For Billboard Owners, Threat of Legal Challenge Presents Opportunity
My Statesman.com
By Nolan Hicks
February 9, 2017
Austin, TX - Eight sections deep in the city's vast 1,100-plus-page draft rewrite of its land use rules sits a footnote that portends a possible legal challenge to come.

But, as an example of just how far-reaching CodeNext is, the warning deals not with sort of buildings Austin might allow, but the types of signs that could be placed on or near them.

Recent court rulings, including one from the U.S. Supreme Court, will likely affect the city's efforts to revise its billboard and sign rules as part of CodeNext, the city's staff warns in the footnote. For major billboard owners, the legal uncertainty presents an opportunity to push something they've always wanted: digital signs.

"If they do nothing at all, and risk having the city's sign code stricken because of a court challenge, then it's the Wild West," said Russ Horton, the attorney who represents a coalition of billboard owners, local businesses and public safety unions known as Sign On Austin. "What we want to do is avoid a Las Vegas or Times Square-type situation. The city needs to pull its head out of the sand and do something about it."

In 2015, the Supreme Court struck down a small Arizona town's sign regulations, finding they inappropriately regulated their content. The next year, the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals struck down much of the state's highway beautification act, finding it inappropriately regulated political speech.

Horton's group argues it's only a matter of time until a legal challenge appears taking the argument one step further: That differing regulations between "on-premises" and "off-premises" signs are unconstitutional as well.

For instance, while businesses are free to put up digital billboards on their building or land, owners of "off-premises" billboards advertising businesses located elsewhere cannot.

The solution pushed by Horton's group: A series of changes to the city's sign regulations that would unify the rules for on-premise and off-premise signs, which would allow sign owners to replace vinyl, static billboards with digital ones.

That's a non-starter for highway beautification group Scenic Texas.

"Communities don't want these signs in their community, period," said Margaret Lloyd, vice president of Scenic Texas' board of directors. "That's what I get concerned about, when I see an industry coming in and trying to leverage a process to their advantage so that the issue can't be honestly discussed, separate from creating this atmosphere of fear."

Horton's group met with opponents and Mayor Steve Adler late last year in an attempt to resolve their differences, he said. A promised meeting for early this year has yet to take place, he added
"The mayor is facilitating a conversation with some of the stakeholders because a resolution is needed on this issue," said Adler spokesman Jason Stanford.

City spokeswoman Alina Carnahan described the sign regulations in the currently released CodeNext draft as a placeholder. The city, she said, will roll out its new proposal, which is undergoing legal review, this spring.

The crux of Horton's argument centers around the 3rd Court of Appeals ruling last August, which struck down key sections of the 1972 Texas Highway Beautification Act.

That case stemmed from a legal challenge brought by the owner of a Planet K shop, who argued the state rules limiting when political signs could be posted along a freeway in Bee Cave improperly limited his First Amendment rights.

The appellate court ruled that the state's limits on outdoor advertising cannot be enforced because the law improperly regulated billboards and signs based on what they say. That ruling, which has been appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, didn't directly apply to city or county rules governing billboards.

The Texas appellate court's ruling relied on the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, which found the Arizona town's sign ordinance placed improper restrictions on signs being used by a church to inform the public about the time and location of its services.

However, Scenic Texas argues that a challenge against Austin's rules wouldn't naturally line up with the existing case law.

And in a concurring opinion to that 2015 Supreme Court ruling, three justices agreed that "(r)ules distinguishing between on-premises and off-premises signs" were acceptable.

"They said, basically, a ban on digital, off-premise, commercial speech is very different from a regulation of on-premise's noncommercial speech and it's perfectly OK" under a previous ruling, Lloyd said. "As long as city codes don't try to regulate noncommercial speech on private property, then they can regulate the rest."

However, Horton pointed out that a separate concurring opinion from that Supreme Court decision warned the ruling could be more expansive than intended. Additionally, he pointed to the 3rd Court's decision to strike down most of the Texas Department of Transportation's authority to regulate billboards, even though the case stemmed from a political sign.

"Local sign codes, in cities and towns, essentially have been modeled after the Highway Beautification Act for the last 30 years," Horton said. "That's the problem."
Court Settlement Won't Invalidate Digital Billboard Ban, City Says
Indianapolis Business Journal
By Hayleigh Colombo
January 12, 2017

Despite a new court settlement that allows billboard company GEFT Outdoor LLC to operate two digital billboards in Indianapolis, the ruling doesn't appear to open the floodgates to others hoping for the same outcome.

City officials say GEFT had a unique case that wouldn't apply to the several other billboard companies that have been hoping to get past the city's ban on digital billboards.

"The court's order turns on state-law claims reviewing specific variance denials and has no effect beyond the specific signs at issue," said Donald Morgan, the city's chief litigation counsel.

The agreement between GEFT and the city, which will allow the company to convert two traditional billboards near Interstate 70 into digital signs, ends a legal fight between them that began in October 2015 when GEFT sued the city over its sign ordinance, claiming it to be unconstitutional. Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued an order stipulating terms of the settlement Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.

The city amended its sign ordinance in November 2015 to bring it into compliance. Digital billboards are still banned.

"They sued under the old ordinance," said Republican Council member Jeff Miller. "This does not invalidate our ordinance. No one else can sue and [get a digital] billboard for the same reasons. That was a big relief to me."
The Department of Metropolitan Development is in the process of updating the sign ordinance. It is currently gathering feedback from Marion County residents.

"This was a narrowly focused victory [for GEFT]," Miller said. "But it still raises the question to some residents about how it impacts the ongoing discussions with the sign ordinance."

Miller said he expects the sign ordinance to come through the City-County Council for approval sometime this year.

DOOH Campaign Races to Protect Endangered Elephants
Screen Media Daily
By Staff Writer
March 8, 2017
NEW YORK, NY - A DOOH campaign featuring a herd of digitally-generated 3D elephants is preparing to march across the world to raise awareness and end the slaughter of endangered animals in Africa. March for Giants, a four-day campaign will span three continents starting in Hong Kong on March 23, progressing to New York, then London on March 24, then reaches Birmingham the following day and ends in Manchester on March 26. The campaign supports the work of the conservation organization, Space for Giants.

The DOOH campaign, developed by Ocean Outdoor and created by 18 Feet & Rising, enables companies and individuals to generate their own branded adult and baby elephants to join the herd as it marches in real time. Corporate donors can create their own elephants decorated with their logo and brand colors for £5,000, the amount it costs to protect an elephant for life in the wild in Africa.

Individuals can name a baby elephant for £5, or sign up for a £5-a-month year-long donation, which protects an elephant for one year. Corporate donors that have already signed up to the March include National Express, Givergy, Made by Riley, The Delta Group, Westfield, Chantecialle, BCD Travel and First Avenue.

The virtual herd will be created and grow online during March before being released across five giant digital out-of-home screens operated by Ocean and its Alliance partners. The herd takes 80 minute dominations in Hong Kong and New York and features across the UK screens for three days.

Poachers, mostly supplying Asian demand for ivory, killed close to 150,000 African elephants in the seven years to 2014, reducing the overall population by a third. That equated to an elephant being killed every 25 minutes every day of every year from 2007 to 2014.

"We're racing to protect as many elephants as we can from both poaching and the loss of habitat, which are massive, expanding, and urgent threats to the survival of these iconic animals in the wild.
It's already that serious," said Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants. "Space for Giants has a proven toolkit of tactics to protect elephants, and March for Giants will allow us to put those methods to good use in many more places. It's a huge boost to have elephants at the centre of this innovative, brilliant campaign, and it's inspiring to see some of the world's most recognizable companies and brands already signing up. They clearly see the urgency here."

The campaign transcends international borders to appear across some of the world's most prominent and impactful DOOH media spaces: Tsim Tsa Tsui in Hong Kong, Times Square in New York City, Westfield Stratford City in London, The Media Eyes at Grand Central in Birmingham and the Manchester Printworks.

The March for Giants was an international winner in Ocean's annual creative digital competition, which sets out to push the creative and technical boundaries in digital out-of-home. William Thacker, creative director of 18 Feet & Rising, approached Space for Giants after the shocking results of the 2016 Great Elephant Census reported that a third of all African elephants have been wiped out in the last seven years.

"With the 2016 Ocean Outdoor competition open, we saw an opportunity, and real possibility, of securing some global media on a scale significant enough to make a difference to an extremely serious and unreported issue," said Thacker. As a B-Corporation, our first thought was how we could mobilize and unite brand and public power, equally, for good. Rather than simply raise awareness, we wanted to raise funds, funds that will go some way to combating the blight of poaching in Africa.

Starting from Space for Giants' fundraising webpage, we have developed an online campaign hub that will stream to our media inventory, and reward engagement in real-time, whether sat at home, on your commute, or stood in front of one of our DOOH campaign spaces around the globe."

Each elephant will be decorated in corporate liveries and donors' names, all supported in social and broadcast media by a network of celebrities, social influencers and international news networks across the globe.

"We've been humbled by the amount of support we've received from some very passionate, talented and selfless people. People who have given up their time, resource, contacts, influence and most importantly their creative know-how and energy to support a cause and creative concept we all believe in," added Thacker. "Big shout outs must go to Popped, Free Folk and DOOH.com: without these guys working tirelessly, and at their own expense, this project simply would not have been possible."

"To see this march of virtual elephants unfold across the world is a massive idea made possible by an incredible team. It's never been attempted before and we urge everyone who can to get behind it. The creative concept and the cause are worthy winners of our creative competition," said Tim Bleakley, CEO of Ocean Outdoor.