Michael Doucet Joins Vector Media as National Account Manager & Integration Strategist

Published on November 28, 2016

Former Zentih Media, VP Local Activation

 

New York, NY (November 21, 2016) Vector Media, an innovative out-of-home media company, today announced the hire of Michael Doucet as National Account Manager & Integration Strategist.  Michael joins the company via Zenith Media (a Publicis company), where he spent the past 11 years managing large national and international brands including Verizon, 21st Century Fox, H&M and Swarovski and helping those brands navigate the ever changing media landscape.

 

 “Coming from the agency side of the business, brands were constantly challenging media partners for multi-touch marketing solutions,” said Michael Doucet. “It is an exciting time where data can now help inform, and prove the value of the media channel and I’m thrilled to be a part of a company that is positioning itself as a leader in location based media.”

 

Doucet will be based at Vector’s New York headquarters and will be joining a nationwide team that works with the more than 20,000 out-of-home faces which include over 6,000 transit advertising faces,  bulletins, wallscapes, digital offerings and street furniture.

 

“Michael is a true media industry professional,” said Gary Greenstein, Chief Revenue Officer at Vector Media.  “With 11 years of experience at Zenith Media he brings a unique and fresh perspective to the Vector team. As the industry continues to move towards audience based location targeting, Michael will play a major role in shaping the future of Vector.  We are thrilled Michael has joined the team.”

 

ABOUT VECTOR MEDIA

 

Founded in 1998, Vector Media (www.vectormedia.com) is an innovative out-of-home media company, specializing in large-format transit advertising, traditional out-of-home media and the creation of interactive brand experiences.  The company's current inventory of over 20,000 out-of-home faces includes bulletins, street furniture and over 6,000 transit advertising faces, including double decker buses, airport shuttles, custom route coach vehicles, trolleys, jitneys and taxis.  Vector’s rapidly growing experiential division, VM2, integrates its out-of-home assets with dynamic brand experiences and its publishing arm produces two of the top tourism magazines in New York.


Our current US markets include New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas, Boston, Houston, Washington DC, Austin, San Diego, San Antonio, Atlanta and many more.  Vector's network also includes custom-route charter opportunity for Large Format transit Spectaculars in nearly every city in the United States and Canada. 

In addition to the US and Canada, Vector now also provides double decker media to its clients in over 15 markets in Europe.

World Series 2016: Chicago Cubs' Victory Parade

PARADE ROUTE CREDIT: Kiichiro Sato/AP

PARADE ROUTE

CREDIT: Kiichiro Sato/AP

After 108 years, the Chicago Cubs celebrated their World Series championship in the grandest way possible - 23 Double Decker buses traveling from the "The Friendly Confines" to Grand Park!  This was declared a city-wide holiday.  With 5 million people attending it became the 7th largest gathering in history!  The parade went through downtown and ended roughly seven miles south in Grant Park, where a rally started in the early afternoon.

VICTORY PARTY CREDIT: Kiichiro Sato/AP

VICTORY PARTY

CREDIT: Kiichiro Sato/AP

Chicago enjoyed a jubilant victory party for long-suffering baseball fans, whose Cubs hadn’t won a World Series title in more than a century, with a parade through downtown on Friday, November 4, 2016.

Estimates of crowd size were as high as five million in all - more than the city’s total population.

WRIGLEY FIELD CREDIT: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

WRIGLEY FIELD

CREDIT: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Joe Ricketts hoists the World Series trophy atop a bus driving past Wrigley Field during a World Series victory parade for the Chicago Cubs on November 4, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs won their first World Series championship in 108 years, defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game 7 on Wednesday.

MAGNIFICENT MILE CREDIT: REUTERS/Frank Polich

MAGNIFICENT MILE

CREDIT: REUTERS/Frank Polich

Buses carrying the Chicago Cubs move down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile as they celebrate winning the team’s first World Series in 108 years during a victory parade in Chicago, November 4, 2016.

Bridging The Divide With William Schwartz

Founder and CEO, Vector Media @wbsvector and @VectorMedia

Founder and CEO, Vector Media

@wbsvector and @VectorMedia

AS FIRST PUBLISHED ON TABONLINE.COM

Published on July, 5 2016

Experiential advertising is more relevant than ever as the tech world continues to advance thus, allowing a seamless merging of the digital/physical divide. William Schwartz, Founder and CEO of Vector Media is an advocate for this shift. From the get go, Bill positioned Vector as a forward thinking company, anticipating the future of out of home.

Tell us about Vector Media.

When I first founded Vector Media back in 1998, my wife and I were trying to find a name that would fit the right mindset for the company and she came up with Vector. Besides sounding pretty cool, vector is a physics term that essentially means infinitely moving in one direction with great magnitude. I’m sure I’m botching that definition pretty terribly but the point is that we always knew that we wanted to keep moving forward and keep making an impact no matter what happened.

Vector first started as a small billboard company with three signs on the Long Island Expressway. Over the years, we’ve moved forward to accumulate diverse OOH holdings with over 20,000 outdoor advertising faces in more than fifteen top U.S. markets and another dozen top cities in Europe. Our media arsenal now includes double decker transit spectaculars, airport shuttles, custom-route coach-style vehicles, solar kiosks, bus shelters, and other street furniture, taxi media, digital advertising, bulletins, wallscapes and building wraps, print publications, experiential marketing, and more. In 2016, the arrow continues to move forward with new opportunities for us to make maximum impact for our clients and their campaigns.

How did you get started in OOH?

I started my career in the industry in 1980 with a summer job in the mailroom at TDI.
 

Tell us about your favorite OOH campaign of all time.

How could I pin this down to just one, when I have been involved with so many. Going back to 1989, DKNY was the first iconic painted wall in SoHo, down on Broadway and Houston. Then, there was the huge campaign for The Club (remember the old steering wheel locking product?) where they bought virtually every bus tail in the country—I believe that was the largest reach and frequency program ever.

Moving into Vector territory, it’s a toss-up between the H&M campaign for their grand opening at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and the recent Angry Birds 3D illumination campaign.

H&M Parade

H&M Parade

With H&M, the client leveraged several of our media formats (buses, street cars, airport shuttles, hotel wraps, brand ambassadors, etc.) to dominate the city and make their debut in the market.

SONY Angry Birds: The Movie Illumination Bus Wrap

SONY Angry Birds: The Movie Illumination Bus Wrap

For Angry Birds, the client bought twenty double decker bus wraps across four different markets and we created 3D backlit embellishments that made an enormous impact on the streets, on social media, and beyond.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for OOH?

The interesting thing about OOH is that it is the oldest industry in media. It has seen the rise and fall of many threats but it’s still alive, kicking, and growing. That being said, I would have to say that the recent rise of programmatic media buying presents an interesting challenge. The options and data it presents to buyers is certainly valuable and we have started to explore ways to integrate programmatic buying into our digital platform.

However, we should all be careful to ensure that benefits of programmatic buying does not come at the cost of creativity and diminish the independent thought process. The most impactful campaigns I can remember all came from great minds getting together to do something cool for everyone to see. If you cut out a lot of that process or limit the media buys to only hypertargeted audiences, I think advertisers risk losing the maximum impact of OOH and the amplification that comes from that shared experience.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for OOH?

The biggest growth opportunity for the industry is the increased activation of traditional media formats for experiential and event-based campaigns, as well as the integration of mobile advertising opportunities into campaigns.

RetailMeNot Mobile OOH Program

RetailMeNot Mobile OOH Program

VM2, the event-based division of Vector, not only connects consumers with brands in memorable and relevant ways, but also gives brands the opportunity to amplify their coverage. A prime example is when we took over the Today Show and had the Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Pep Band blast out some theme songs on top of their double-decker bus. The sheer value of getting mentioned on the Today Show was worth millions!

VCU Double Decker Bus Campaign Featured On Today Show

VCU Double Decker Bus Campaign Featured On Today Show

Skinnygirl Food Truck

Skinnygirl Food Truck

Vector Media and Skinnygirl launched a campaign to promote Skinnygirl’s new protein shakes and bars in a Skinnygirl Food Truck and digital double decker, which were debuted around NYC.

What’s the biggest myth in OOH?

That it’s all about reach and frequency. To this day, I don’t understand why people believe you need to hit people multiple times with an ad, when maximum impact is clearly achieved with a large and loud statement. This is especially true today with social media amplification achieved by creating a spectacle for our clients. If you ask the Angry Birds client whether they received greater buzz off of their taxi tops or their massive three-dimensional, illuminated wraps, I think they would agree that it is not the traditional reach and frequency play.

What is your vision of what the future of advertising will be in 5 years?

To build upon earlier answers, I believe the integration of new technologies are essential to the growth of the OOH industry. However, our team believes strongly that adding technology just to do so, is a waste of time. That is why we are extremely focused on advancing our inventory with new technologies that we know will have an actual and positive impact on our clients and their ROI.

Who do you admire most as an industry leader?

My earliest mentor in the industry was Bill Apfelbaum. I worked for him for years at TDI and still admire him greatly to this day.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

The top of the list for my proudest accomplishments all have to do with my family but to narrow it down to a business accomplishment, it would have to be our success with the Regional Transportation Commission in Las Vegas. We first won the bid for the Las Vegas transit system back in 2005 and it drastically changed the way advertisers bought media in that city. Our success with that contract was so profound that several years ago, despite several larger bidders aggressively pursuing the inventory, the RTC renewed with Vector and continued our relationship forward for the next decade.

What is your talent acquisition process?

Because our company culture is so important to the way we do business, it is crucial that most of our talent joins the company as their first or second job out of school. There are of course exceptions to this process but most of our talent grows up at Vector and that really adds to the family atmosphere at the company.

Describe your company’s culture.

As mentioned before, we consider Vector to be a family—a family where everyone sells. Everyone. While we certainly expect our team to strive to be the best and compete for every dollar, we work hard to ensure that the office environment remains relaxed and enjoyable for everyone in the company.

Vector's Team

Vector's Team

How do you encourage creative and innovative thinking within your team?

We expect our new ideas to come from anyone and anywhere. To that end, our headquarters in Manhattan has a think tank built right into the middle of the office—almost like a fish tank, with glass walls and everything. We threw dart boards, putting greens and even a Donkey Kong machine in there to entice people to hang out and brainstorm new ideas for both the company and our clients.

Vector Media's Think Tank

Vector Media's Think Tank

Tell us about Vector’s philanthropic endeavors.

We try to lead by example, namely supporting great organizations and endeavors like the FDNY Foundation and the Muddy Road Foundation. We feel very strongly about supporting impactful charitable causes like the FDNY Foundation, which supports the greatest fire department in the world, and the Muddy Road Foundation, which helps pull members of the Lakota Sioux tribes in South Dakota out of a cycle of crippling poverty and neglect. The Muddy Road assists by providing teachers, learning centers, and other resources to schools.

Gut instinct versus expertise: Which is more important and why?

My gut says this is a close call. I personally rely strongly on my instincts for decisions, however, I’m not so sure I could trust my gut without having known all of the information I’ve garnered over the years. If I had to make a call, especially with people on our team, I think I’d opt for someone with better instincts than someone with expertise alone. Good judgment is a very valuable trait to have.

What is one piece of technology you can’t live without?

Fully acknowledging the risk of being boring with this answer, it has to be my iPhone. Being able to do my work or find out pretty much anything in the world from something I carry in my pocket? To me, that’s just an unmatchable tool to have literally at your fingertips.

What's The Opposite Of Digital Advertising? Hint: It's Artisanal And Its Wheels Go Round 'N Round

AS FIRST PUBLISHED ON FORBES.COM

Published on June 29, 2016

“You see it once and it stops people in their tracks,” said CEO of Vector Media, Bill Schwartz,  in a recent interview on the subject of advertising on double-decker buses. “Try to imagine the impact of 40 giant billboards at street level in Manhattan or LA all during the day.  You can’t NOT see these.”

Vector is part of the out-of-home (OOH) advertising industry that not only puts advertising on buses and subways of all sorts, but advertises in airports, on bus shelters and street furniture, in movies and arenas, shopping malls and of course the traditional billboards.  According to the trade association, Outdoor Advertising Association of America, there are only about 205,000 of buses with advertising.  The organization claims about 2.2 million countable out-of-home displays, plus additional smaller sized ones such as news racks and ‘alternative’ ones which could be almost anything, like the side of a building.

The value proposition of OOH in general is articulated by the largest company in the sector, Outfront Media Inc. In their 2015 annual report, they say that unlike most other media platforms, OOH is “always on, viewable and cannot be turned off, skipped or fast-forwarded.” An executive at Paramount Pictures, who is deeply involved with marketing, but asked not to be named says that impact is the main consideration for large format out-of-home promotions. We look for something that looks very special. The creative has to be really organic to the actual advertising venue–not just something re-purposed from a poster or a photo shoot. The stuntier something is, the better. Bigger is important since getting something to really stand out is key.  This really helps with ‘unaided awareness’ of a movie. Whether somebody buys a ticket because of this kind of advertising is another story.”

The fact that out-of-home displays are countable is novel compared to the tens of millions of web sites and billions of unique Google GOOGL +1.46% searches where digital ads can be displayed.  With U.S. ad sales at $166 billion in 2015, the industry estimates OOH as 4.4% of the total or $7.3 billion. Of this, about 18% is in transit.

And yet, despite this scarcity, buying OOH advertising remains a relative bargain. In a phone interview with Mark Boidman, an investment banker from Peter J. Solomon who has worked with companies in the OOH sector since 2008 and works with the sector’s  industry groups, the current median CPM (cost per thousand people) of transit shelters at $3.45 is higher than digital advertising with a median of about $2, but compare OOH to non-primetime TV spots at $8.99 and. print magazines at $14.00.

Courtesy of the Peter J. Solomon Company.

Courtesy of the Peter J. Solomon Company.

Artisanal Advertising

Vector Media, with 60 employees and $70 to $100 million in annual revenue according to the company, is small compared to the big players in the field; it is less than 10% in annual revenues of the most prominent public companies in the space such as Outfront Media Inc. (NYSE:OUT), Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings (NYSE:CCO) and Lamar Advertising (NASDAQGS:AMR AAMRQ +%.)  Schwartz reports that Vector has grown the top line revenue 20% between 2014 and 2015 and is profitable.

Vector works with advertisers on street furniture and events, but its bread and butter is in transit, including food trucks, taxi tops, and regular coach buses, but particularly in large format double-deckers.  They have long term contracts for about 3,000 vehicles including 500 double-decker buses in the U.S. and an additionalpartnership for cross selling for another 800 throughout Italy.

Artisanal Content. The company prides itself on fulfilling advertisers’ needs through its creative, Artisanal customized approach.  “We recognized quite early that the consolidation in the industry left a huge hole for us to fill as our larger corporate competitors don’t have the time or flexibility to focus on creating unique executions that is our specialty,” said Schwartz. “We like to think of ourselves as Ninjas on Jet Skis where everybody else is riding around on aircraft carriers.”

Out-of-the box requests. When Vector worked with the marketers of Sony Picture’s Angry Birds to create a memorable promotion, they needed to coordinate with suppliers and the bus companies that owned the vehicles.  “We had to go to our bus partners and tell them, ‘We want to do this crazy thing and drill holes in the sides of your buses.’ They say, ‘Fine, just put them back together when you’re done.’”

This stop action video shows how the bus promotion was constructed and how it looked once finished. 

Collaboration with other artisans. Vector doesn’t do the fabrication, but relies on partners. Schwartz says he works very closely with one printer, Moshe Gil from Carisma who has a special large 3D printer. “It’s a collaborative thing, and we talk to each other constantly exchanging ideas.  We have worked very closely with them from the beginning. He has all the templates on file.  He also basically runs a body shop, so if something goes wrong with a bus, he goes and bangs out the dents.”

Why is OOH so customized — and yet so cheap?

Schwartz says that selling transit advertising can be as Artisanal as its content creation.  He calls the process “a total push-pull. We deal with agencies. We deal with clients. We deal with buying services. We deal with experiential agencies. We deal with P.R. companies. Our business comes from 360 degrees. There’s not one place it all comes from. A lot of times we’ll be reading articles or watching a show on T.V. or something, and an idea will come to one of our sales guys, and there goes the pitch.”

And the competition is brutal. Of the 800 OAAA members, 500 are U.S. media companies competing for the limited inventory of displays. Even though a particular out-of-home company has long term contracts with the venue owner, perhaps with a regional dominance – or in the case of Vector double-decker bus dominance – there are enough alternatives in a given region or for a given format, that its hard for an individual display company to maintain any kind of pricing power. And  at the end of the contract, the venue owners  can raise the rents which adds cost pressure as well.

For most of OOH’s life, it has been very challenging to validate who is in the vicinity of a display.  “A billboard owner could tell you the number of cars that usually passed by during a commute, and some information about the demos of a working population, but that was about it,” explained Jim Dolan in a phone interview; Dolan is a  Managing Partner of the investment bank, Cherrytree, and was an entrepreneur in the media industry before coming to the bank.   “The way they would sell is to get a customer to try it, and if it worked, great – but they didn’t know why.”

Despite the very individualized placement of billboards and bus ads, the demographic information was so vague as to be useless, said Dolan. He thinks the newest digital technology will help make OOH more valuable to advertisers, and so the industry will begin to have more pricing power.  “There are devices on billboards, for example, that read license plates, to tell who owns the car and often they pass by. And although you can’t tell who the driver is, you know about the household demographics in great detail.”

Where’s the scale?

“Scale always matters in media,” says Dolan, but it isn’t just bigger that counts.  “Newspapers buying each other is not scale – it’s just addition.”   So if there is consolidation in the OOH industry, that doesn’t necessarily mean great scale; Dolan sees digital technology and consultative selling  as the fixed costs that companies will be able to scale.

  • “Centralizing the back office operations will be the core fixed cost advantage.”
  • Digital billboards which can run “time slicing and get more ads in front of audiences with the same real estate.”
  • “The real scale is in the expertise of selling the technology and will be a significant advantage when a company has a sales organization that figures out how to sell to new kinds of customers with new and important insights.”

Peter J. Solomon’s Boidman also sees technology as the way to higher prices and more consolidation in the sector. He predicts that in the next five years digital technology will drive the growth in OOH.  He believes that “Mobile, social internet and video will be integrated into OOH media, making it a more engaging and accountable media channel.”  Boidman thinks that there is such good technology to identify who is passing by what and how long the “dwell time” is, that he claims it will be more accountable than TV measurements.

According to Schwartz, Vector’s business demonstrates that the integration has already begun.

  • “We’ve got beacons and geofencing offerings, enabling advertisers to micro-target audiences, and send push notification.”
  • “We’ve developed a Wi-Fi system that’s basically in every one of our bus markets, so now, you’ve got tourists up there who are visiting. They have access while they’re touring around the city and the opportunities are pretty much unlimited with what you can do with that.  Last year on the Hampton Jitney [a bus company that goes between metro New York and Long Island destinations] we did something with HBO where they promoted their live streaming.”
  • The company is beginning to introduce enormous digital screens on the sides of the buses, and now had 8 buses equipped in this way.
Bill Schwartz, CEO of Vector Media.  Photo courtesy of the company.

Bill Schwartz, CEO of Vector Media.  Photo courtesy of the company.