These days, more and more people are spending time away from home. Out of home media has been an effective way to reach commuters and travelers: According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), out of home advertising grew 1.7 percent in the second quarter of 2008, accounting for $2.2 billion in advertising expenditures.
What’s in it for printers, and how might they take advantage of out of home media? I caught up with Al Raimondi, administrative plant manager of Signmasters Inc., Passaic Park, N.J., to find out. He is an expert in the industry who, for 28 years, was an owner of a computer graphics prepress provider.
Printing News: How do you think out of home media presents a good opportunity for advertising in general?
Al Raimondi: Out of home media is quickly becoming the media of choice for high-traffic public venues, i.e. malls, kiosks, sports arenas, etc.
Out of home media is the use of innovative technology and concepts, such as video advertising networks and digital billboards, to connect to perspective consumers. It can be pricey putting it out of reach of a firm with a modest advertising budget, but the upside is that it’s high tech and flashy.
PN: What are some factors advertisers should consider when making out of home media decisions?
AR: Will the target market be reached? Does the advertising information need to updated and kept current? Does the ROI make sense?
PN: How are printed billboards, POP displays, and signs more or less effective than digital out of home media? Even as digital media is taking over, why are people still going to turn to the printed media?
AR: Printed media is cheaper, it is disposable, and it is changeable/ interchangeable. How one gauges the success or effectiveness of an advertising campaign is dependent upon factors such as, repetition, attractiveness, interest, and consumer impulse. So to say which media is more or less effective depends on these factors among others.
PN: Why or why not is there a growing demand in the wide-format market?
AR: The market for this product is here because this technology is readily available and relatively inexpensive. The cost for producing a banner or poster has diminished by 50 percent from a few years ago, for example a 24x48 poster used to cost $90. Now you can buy the same graphic for less than half that cost, not to mention twice the quality. Wide-format and grand-format printing is going to pale offset printing in certain applications going forward (such as short-run large format).
PN: I’ve been told that vehicle wraps are effective means of out of home media, but they are a difficult sell. Why or why not is that true and if so, how can this area be improved?
AR: I was just talking about the under use of this product (vehicle wraps), and I have my own opinion about why this is so.
I believe there are not many advertising specialists in the field that know about this product, nor do I know of anyone who sells or applies the graphics not to mention it takes an educated designer to design the unique dimensions necessary to properly fit a custom vehicle. I also believe that consumers don’t like the idea that this technique is semi permanent. I may be mistaken but I assume they are correct in their assumption that the graphics are pretty difficult to remove once they are applied to a vehicle. I believe an automated design tool is necessary to facilitate the design and fit, which in turn will open the market for the use of vehicle warps for many different sizes and shape vehicles.
PN: What kind of changes has the wide-format market seen during your 30 years in the industry? Is out of home media going to be bigger in 2009-2010?
AR: In the last 10 years I’ve seen the digital prepress (service bureau) industry evolve into the digital printing service bureau industry. Meaning, if a shop had the technical ability to operate a prepress department full of digital output devices such as computer to plate, image setters, proofers, plotters with RIPS and other such high-tech equipment. Most likely that shop would be a great candidate to install a digital printing device, or DI (direct image) press.