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Anna Bager

Anna Bager

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TRENDSETTERS: Anna Bager Shares her Vision for the Future of Out of Home Advertising

The Internationalist Trendsetters is written by Deborah Malone, founder of The Internationalist.

Last September, Anna Bager was named President & CEO of the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), a national trade association that represents the $8+ billion Out of Home (OOH) ad industry.  And while her new role would seem particularly challenging with a stay-at-home edict during a global pandemic, this industry sector did not fare as badly as projections anticipated. Interestingly, Out of Home advertising—up until Q1 of 2020—had also experienced 10 years or 66 quarters of growth.  

Outdoor advertising may be the oldest form of marketing—beginning with the earliest shop sign images—and now includes not only billboards and murals, but ads on street furniture like bus shelters or benches, messaging in transit areas like airports or train stations, as well as screens in taxis, gas stations and elevators, plus place-based ad media at stadiums or cinemas.  The OAAA, in partnership with both the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the Ad Council, has been instrumental in leveraging its members to donate premium inventory to bring critical coronavirus safety messaging to the American public in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus.

Anna Bager also notes the important connection between OOH advertising and retail, as a billboard may be the last ad a consumer sees before entering a store.  "Given that two-thirds of all roadside billboards are local, we are optimistic that we can help recovering retailers, especially small businesses, as they reopen."

Her mission now is to restore the Out of Home ad industry's record growth with a continued focus on the creativity of OOH canvases, an emphasis on measurement tools that connect all OOH assets as they factor into a consumer's day and their geolocations, and communication on how OOH integrates well with other media, particularly social, as so many outdoor installations are photographed and shared.  She is also optimistic that summer road trips will increase Outdoor ad impressions as car travel is expected to rise by 47% among Americans this July and August.

To hear more from Anna Bager, tune in to our Trendsetters podcast as she explains more about the evolution of the Out of Home advertising sector and her vision for its future.   CLICK HERE.

In our conversation, we discuss the following:

  • The percent of all advertising in the US that is considered out of home advertising and how that compares with other countries.
  • Those business categories that are the greatest users of Out of Home.
  • Creativity and innovation in this type of media.
  • Plans for the future of OOH-- particularly if the nature of work and commuting changes.
  • A vision for an Out-of-Home advertising industry of the future.

Before joining OAAA, Anna Bager was Executive Vice President at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the leading global trade association for digital media. During her 8-year tenure, she was responsible for leading digital, mobile, video, audio, and data industry initiatives, representing more than 650 member companies including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Disney, and Microsoft. 

At IAB, Anna also supervised market research, media measurement, and thought leadership, and she partnered with IAB's public policy team in Washington to advocate on critical issues like technical standards, brand safety, and consumer privacy. Under her leadership, IAB created three of the organizations' most important centers of excellence: the IAB Mobile Center, representing the mobile marketing, advertising, and media marketplace; the IAB Digital Video Center, encompassing Advanced TV, OTT, and the Digital Content NewFronts; and the IAB Data Center, which developed consumer identifiers, data quality, industry benchmarks, and important tools for data activation and automation. 

She has worked in the media and technology sector her entire career. Prior to joining IAB, she led business intelligence at Ericsson Multimedia and headed research at Ericsson's enterprise consulting unit. Prior to Ericsson, Anna served as EMEA Research and Consulting Manager for the global research firm IDC. 

A native of Sweden, Anna Bager speaks four languages and is a graduate of Lund University in Lund, Sweden. 

The Internationalist was founded to help better understand the "reinvention of marketing" by connecting the people and ideas in international advertising and marketing.  Our Trendsetters eNewsletter lives at the heart of this Internationalist mission as it spotlights a person and an idea in international marketing.  Over the last decade, we have amassed hundreds of profiles of extraordinary individuals and their groundbreaking work on our website. 

We've learned that there's interest in hearing the voices of these marketers directly, which gave life or our TRENDSETTERS podcast, now part of the Success Made to Last Network on Blog Talk Radio. Started by an Executive Producer with a past marketing/branding career at Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and General Mills, the network boasts nearly 1 million listens in the US.  

If you'd like to learn more about The Internationalist's Trendsetters podcast series, here's an introduction to the show.