Passive OOH Measurement? Q&A With Pearl Media 's Joshua Cohen

OOH measurement has always been problematic until now. What struck me while talking to Pearl Media President / CEO Josh Cohen was the use of new passive technology to provide more accurate passive OOH measurement applications such as NFC (near -field communications) currently being built into smartphones.

In my interview with him, Joshua speaks passionately about out-of-home measurement advances and the data that is collected from these efforts. The four videos in this interview span Pearl Media’s various national and international marketing efforts, the impact of social media on out-of-home marketing, technological advances in measurement -- and even the use of street art (one of my personal interests) in Pearl Media events.

Below is an excerpt from the interview. View the videos here. 

CW: How do you measure your OOH campaigns? What type of data do you collect?



JC: In our world, measurement is always key because we do things that are different from just putting a billboard on the street or running a 30-second spot. The public audience is really our measurement -- and when you get involved in technology, it affords you the opportunity to put in back-end systems. So we can measure everybody who walks by one of our storefronts, interacts with one of our kiosks or goes up to one of our massive projections.

We have the ability to count everybody who walks by, how many people actually look, how many times they touch, how much information was downloaded, how many times they shared that -- and we embed tactical and strategic information within the content that delivers a backend metric system. So we can literally tell a brand that on this day, date and time, 3,500 people walked by, 2,000 people downloaded the content, they shared it with X amount of people, and this is the value of that proposition. So it is a true metric system that has the potential to create a measurement for engagement.

CW: So if someone walks by and does not download any content, you can still tell that they walked by?

JC: Correct. We have developed facial recognition type of software that is built into the storefronts. We are on the street, and our interactive kiosks are in malls and at events. Because it is on the pedestrian level we can actually count the amount of people who walk by. The moment they turn and look at the ad, we capture their faces – but we don’t take any video. It is a metric so there are no privacy issues. We are not capturing any video images. It is basically just a counter. The moment you turn and look at one of our ads, you are counted as a person.

We also embedded gender recognition, which is about 95% accurate now. So we can now tell you how many men and how many women walk by at certain times. We also have all the backend content, so if a woman is looking at the ad and you have gender-specific creative, you can actually make the creative change to make it that much more impactful depending on who is looking at it. That is all done through facial recognition and personnel recognition software and integration into the content.

CW: I have a particular interest in street art, and I noticed that you took one of Keith Haring’s works and three-dimensional-ized it. Tell us about your initiatives in street art.

JC: We have done a couple of programs with local art communities which were all tied back to some media sponsorships. The Haring project took place this past summer at the Maritime Hotel in the Meatpacking District of New Y to celebrate his life.  We created a massive 6,500-foot projection on the hotel, incorporating his art in 3D through the use of multi-projection. It brought his artwork to life. It was inspiring to see. It captured 300,000 to 400,000 views globally and created a great conversation. It was also a great tribute to Keith Haring.

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