Danaher at DPAA Summit: The medium needs to be defined

October 21, 2011 by Dave Haynes

In Sue Danaher’s opening address Wednesday at the Digital Place-based Advertising Association media summit, she related how her first year on the job involved a lot of time invested in meeting with agencies and brands to listen to their perceptions of the emerging medium.

It grew really evident, she says, that the medium needed to get really well defined, really quickly.

This is how Danaher, as president of the DPAA, defines it:

“First, think people watching programs, as they have been doing in their living rooms for decades, but now they are watching in places, while they are actively involved in their daily lives, on their paths to purchase, in malls, movie theatres, bars, gyms and doctors offices, office lobbies, elevators, restaurants, taxis, airports, planes, gas stations, sports arenas, and the list goes on. It’s anywhere where consumers have dwell time.”

“And these screens are digital, video, many addressable and some interactive. They are programmed with engaging content that is relevant to the setting, and it entertains or informs, or frequently, it does both. It gives marketers the opportunity to target well beyond standard demographics, allowing them to get at lifestyles, at consumers mindset and at relevance.”

“It is not transit advertising, outdoor bulletins, or Times Square spectaculars. Digital place-based media is not billboards where static images are digitally delivered. It is networks that are content-driven, and that is key. Content-driven networks provide marketers with great environments to connect with consumers.”

“Somewhere along the line we were put in a digital out of home bucket, but that has clearly caused confusion. The truth is that digital place-based deserves its own conceptual bucket, as long as the buckets are defined the way they are now. Or, we need to redefine the buckets.”

“For example, TV as it is defined now, in planning systems, is limited to in-home viewing. But why, when much of the viewing isn’t necessarily done in the home, do we slavishly abide by the old definition? In my way of thinking, the TV bucket should include any full-motion content being viewed on a screen, whether it be found in home, or away from home.”

“This is really important. It matters. It really matters. It is particularly important that all of us take care to clarify that definition as we continue to evolve as part of the media landscape.”

One thing that struck me at this event was the level of adoption of the term Digital Place-based. Until recently, I would have said Digital Out Of Home seems pretty bedded-in as the handle, but the DPAA membership seems to be using it and I even heard it off the lips of some agency people.

People like acronyms, though, and stuff that rolls of the tongue. DPb was getting used here and there, and that’s going to be tough for anyone to warm to. Sounds like something you store in barrels and wouldn’t want to touch without gloves.

More on some of the chats to follow in the coming days.

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