2021 OOH Media Conference: Talon’s Take on Creative, Cannabis & Culture

The Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and Geopath held their 2021 OOH Media Conference this week. Talon America’s leaders and insights were featured during the week-long virtual event, whose theme this year is centered around innovations to “Future Proof” the OOH industry.

OOH was booming pre-pandemic with advancements in technology and digital spurring significant growth. During the pandemic, those very same advancements helped the industry serve as an agile channel for advertisers to revise brand messaging tactics based on the needs of the moment. Now, with U.S. consumer confidence rebounding sharply and outdoor movement exceeding pre-pandemic levels, OOH is primed to help advertisers connect with newly on-the-go consumers and map out its resilient, smarter digitized future.

Here are highlights of our participation:

OBIE Awards: The Power of Effective Creative

The OOH Media Conference kicked off with the 79th Annual OBIE Awards ceremony. Talon America CEO Jim Wilson served as a judge, sharing his views on the creative that stood out in 2020, resonated with target audiences, and created deep emotional connections that drove call-to-actions. “Despite spending most of our time indoors this year, OOH remained one of the most compelling mediums for brand storytelling,” reported Campaign US.

According to Jim, “We at Talon know the value of OOH creative, which can drive memorability, word of mouth, reach, amplification, and, importantly, results. Many marketers have built their brands using OOH’s creative canvas. And the work that I saw reflected brands and agencies’ remarkable ability to craft authentic, relevant, and empathetic stories shaped around audiences, locations, time, and mindsets using various creative techniques and technologies – which speaks to OOH’s unparalleled capabilities.”


Cannabis: A Budding OOH Advertising Vertical

Marijuana legalization is sweeping the nation. The recreational use of cannabis is now legal in 17 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. “At this point, the question of nationwide marijuana legalization is likely more a matter of when not if,” said Talon America Senior Vice President of Client Development, Zach Friedman. As the wave of green legislation grows, so too does the role of OOH in strategically reaching consumers.

On Day Two of the confab, Zach joined a panel that included Hifyre President Matthew Hollingshead and moderator Anne G. Donohoe, Managing Director at KCSA and Host of The Green Rush Podcast, to explore the current and future state of cannabis marketing, with a focus on the unique opportunities for brands and retailers harnessing OOH. Zach underscored that “while being able to navigate disparate cannabis marketing regulations on a state, county, municipality and even building owner level is important, partnering with specialists is key to driving the right omnichannel strategy and achieving measurable campaign outcomes,” concluded Zach.


OOH UNITED: Creating an Inclusive Culture

The OOH industry took a big and important step in its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) journey on Day Three of the event. The OAAA and Geopath presented their vision for OOH UNITED, a program first revealed in late February that underscores the OOH industry’s commitment to advancing a culture of belonging through DEI efforts. We are proud to have Talon America’s East Coast President Irina Zeltser co-chair the initiative, which extends to all OOH segments, including buyers, sellers, and suppliers to the industry. Shabnam Irilian, Talon Senior Vice President and Head of Business Operations, is also among the top executives who have joined the initiative to impact positive industrywide change.

Irina and other committee leaders shared data on the current makeup of the space to serve as a benchmark against which to measure progress. Additionally, they revealed the projects OOH UNITED is currently undertaking to bolster diverse recruitment, as well as representation on boards, councils, and committees. Additionally, OOH UNITED will develop scholarships, internship and mentorship programs, and initiatives centered on driving DEI.

For more on the OAAA and Geopath 2021 OOH Media Conference, please visit https://oaaa.ooh2021.com.