Monster Media has bought LocaModa in a deal that sees the Orlando-based digital out of home media company better equipped to add social media integration, not to mention smarts, to its offer via the small but respected Boston company.
Stephen Randall, who founded LocaModa back in something like 2005, will now be the Executive VP of Mobile and Social, The two other staffers will stay on, and the LocaModa brand remains, as well.
The press release says Monster “acquired the assets” – a term which invariably makes you wonder if the company was out of fuel. But Randall says that’s not the case.
“LocaModa was not dormant,” he told me via email. “We have continued to license our platform across a number of verticals – DOOH/OOH as well as conferences and education and have a number of high profile campaigns that launch later in Q3 and Q4. BUT we needed access to greater scale and dealflow.”
He also confirmed this gives LocaModa a sales arm he never had via Monster, which has established relationships with brands and agencies. It was and is tough for any technology player – who doesn’t actually control or own media inventory – to get traction with people who control media dollars.
Oft outspoken and very frank, but more than smart enough to get away with that, Randall says he’s comfy describing this deal as a potential game-changer.
“I believe the deal can and will be a game changer, as many networks and brands are (finally) seeking a long-term solution to cross channel marketing (to get more bang for their buck, but also to require the same measurability and engagement they have via digital on OOH/DOOH). We are now not only better placed to serve a larger market BUT have access to that deal flow AND can leverage our know-how and patents to supplying a branded ‘safe and robust’ strategic solution – rather than tactical one-off campaigns. The underpinning of much of this has been my focus for the past six months, and is a critical aspect of my role at Monster.”
Monster has traditionally supplied its own inventory for OOH, but can now use LocaModa’s platform-agnostic (and patented) technology to power unique interactive campaigns to run on any network or any screen. Monster Media customers will, says the news release, “be able to greatly expand their campaign reach and scale and still experience the same accurate measurement and reporting data they get from taking advantage of interactive advertising.”
“A significant and growing percentage of our clients require real-time, cross-channel solutions,” says CEO Chris Beauchamp. “Over the next three years we believe that will grow to around 50 percent industry-wide as more companies seek solutions for any screen that engages their users via DOOH, mobile, online or television. We have been following the pioneering work of Stephen Randall, LocaModa CEO, and his team and this acquisition is a great fit for us to establish the go-to-solution for all things social/mobile in DOOH.”
In addition to expanded reach, Monster Media will leverage the LocaModa platform and applications to further enhance the social media integration of its current interactive advertising solutions.
“We’ve been looking at where and how the market might eventually consolidate around proven technology, execution and patents,” says Randall in the news release. “We recognized that Monster Media is on the cusp of explosive growth and felt the timing was perfect to finally leverage our solutions and IP on a strategically larger scale.”
LocaModa has done award-winning work with companies such as Levi’s, Gap, AT&T, Pepsi, Gatorade, One Direction, GM and Sharpie. Previous campaigns have powered landmark jumbotrons in Times Square and sports stadiums including Madison Square Garden, as well as interactive advertising across multiple U.S., Japanese and European Digital OOH networks.
Monster was formed right around the same time as LocaModa. It has done 1,000s of interactive ads globally, and is currently working with clients such as,: Kraft, Stoli, HTC, Unilever, Warner Brothers, Marriott, Nokia, IBM, EA and Esteé Lauder.
The deal terms are unavailable, as both firms are private.
My take: If LocaModa was three people they were running lean, as I had been in the Boston offices years ago and there were several more people than that. The challenge for Randall would primarily have been that he was trying to sell a tech solution into brands, and didn’t have the sales people to cover the necessary ground. He was also trying to partner with software companies often scrapping for business on price-based deals, when LocaModa just added more cost.
This gives Randall the runway to actively market his product and drive his ideas, without the day to day of worrying how to pay the office rent and salaries and dealing with the board.
For Monster, they get well-established, IP-protected technology and a really smart guy to wheel out in front of clients. I like Monster, but have found a lot of their interactive stuff – like puzzles in airports – to be ineffective and/or irrelevant. Interactive for the sake of interactive. Randall would not let that happen.
The companies have done very limited work together leading up to this deal.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.