James Neumann, chairman and CEO of Optic Outdoor Signs, has earned recognition in the field of billboard marketing for a career filled with innovation, being noted among the “50 Pioneers and Visionaries of Advertising” by Advertising Age, and the “Five Original Thinkers of the ‘90s” by Chicago Magazine. At his current position, James Neumann now operates the largest privately held outlet of billboards in the US, taking in 45 million viewers on a monthly basis through displays of over 300 billboards across three countries.
Odd as it might seem for a forward thinker to be associated with such a traditional form of advertising, the truth of the matter is that it is still very effective, according to recent research. One study in 2011 noted that more than two-thirds of drivers frequently take note of billboards, and over one-third have reported a regular habit of checking them at almost every occasion, while a majority credit billboards with informing them on upcoming events, or suggesting restaurants they later visit.
This is not to suggest there’s no room for evolution in the medium, however. While plenty of paper billboards are still strewn throughout the United States, digital billboards are rapidly replacing them. They may be more costly to produce and maintain, but they can also be much more effective by offering engaging animated visuals, and use their space more efficiently by allowing a series of advertisements to rotate through their displays, effectively allowing advertisers to share the board. It’s worth noting that in a time when some are feeling overwhelmed by advertising, digital billboards are actually regarded with some favor – nearly three-quarters of viewers consider digital billboards to be not only a good medium for advertisement, but more effective than online ads.
Since 1985, James Neumann has presided over OOS Investments in Chicago, Illinois. As president, James Neumann controls dozens of billboards across the country. His company deals in both static and digital boards, and provides clients with marketing and business planning advice as well.
New advancements in billboard technology may bring a new generation of roadside advertisements to drivers in the near future. Collaboration between a Japanese advertising firm and a California-based software company has led to smart billboards that deliver targeted advertisements to individual drivers.
Smart billboards are programmed to recognize upwards of 200 vehicles, and currently achieve 94 percent accuracy. When a recognized vehicle approaches, the LED billboard will change to bring that driver a targeted ad. Ads will change frequently, and will generally be displayed for five seconds or less. Advertisers can show one type of ads to truck drivers, another to minivan owners, and something different for motorcyclists. With these smart billboards, advertisers can show individual drivers ads for a newer model of the vehicle they are currently driving.
Outdoor Advertising Association
Since 1985, James Neumann has served as the president of OOS Investments in Chicago. An involved leader in the outdoor advertising services industry, James Neumann maintains membership in the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), a nonprofit trade group that oversees a variety of programs and activities designed to support and promote out-of-home advertising professionals.
For more than seven decades, the OAAA has handed out the OBIE Awards to recognize advertising firms for creative excellence. The awards take their name from the ancient Egyptian obelisk, which is believed to be the first structure used for outdoor advertising.
Each year, the OAAA receives hundreds of nominees for OBIE Awards in 10 standard and three special product categories. A panel of industry leaders judges each entry and awards OBIEs to those that demonstrate outstanding creativity and design.
The OAAA recently honored the 2016 OBIE Award winners at its OBIE Awards Gala, which was held during the TAB/OAAA Out of Home Media Conference & Expo on April 19. Over 42 OBIE Awards were presented during the event, including those for Best Billboard, Best Multi-Format, and Best Wall Mural. In addition to these and other top honors, the OAAA handed out 12 gold and 25 silver OBIEs during the event.