• Kym Frank on autonomous cars, privacy, hypertargeting and subway ads

    On yesterday’s Billboard Insider Podcast Geopath President Kym Frank discussed autonomous cars, hyper-targeting, the death of ad agencies, subway ads, privacy and smart cities.

    Autonomous cars.

    Overrated.  Not because they’re not a thing.  I think that the entire landscape or transportation is changing and focusing on autonomous cars is only looking at a small portion of what’s happening in transportation.  So I’m going a lot of analysis on Gen Z’s.  Gen Z’s are coming out of college now…and they are relying more heavily on things like public transportation and relying more heavily on ride sharing programs.  So really the way people are moving about the market in general is changing.

    Hyper-targeting for out of home. 

    Overrated, which sounds really weird coming from somebody who’s working on audience targeting…there was always a purchase funnel when I was studying advertising, where there was a whole top of the funnel about driving awareness.  And building brand relationships with consumers.  And hyper targeting online came along and everybody lost focus on that and now they just want to geofence their competitors parking lots.  I don’t think that’s a really good advertising strategy.  I think being able to target is important but hyper targeting for out of home I think is missing the beauty that out of home can bring to the table…

    The death of ad agencies. 

    Overrated.  They are not dying.  They’re just evolving.  Like the rest of the advertising ecosystem.  We’re certainly in a time of great change…but we saw in a lot of other channels that advertisers wanted to bring the ad buying in house and then the pendulum is swinging back and they are saying this is a lot for us to manage in house…now they’re putting out searches for agencies.  There’s always a back and forth and there’s always a swing.

    The use of subway ads by direct to consumer companies

    Underrated.  I just got off the subway and really was looking at all of the ads and reading all of the ads…If it worked for Dr Zizmore, it can work for you.  Everybody takes the subway in New York…That includes big decision makers, that includes early adopters, that includes all of the people that a startup would be going after.


    I don’t know how you could say privacy is either overrated or underrated.  It’s something that we as an industry need to be squarely focused on…Look at what’s happening at Facebook and what a nightmare.  Out of home – we need to be better than that…and we are better than that.  Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should do something.  I think almost all the voices in the industry are on board with that.

    Smart Cities

    Overrated.  Not because I think that they’re an overrated thing but because I think smart cities are just a subset of a bigger trend. And that trend being the connected everything.  I’m not a big fan of the internet of things expression…I like the idea of everything being connected.  The connected everything.  I think smart cities is just a piece of that.  We in out of home are in a great position to play a huge role in the internet of everything, given what an amazing geographic footprint we have…

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    One Comment

    1. kevin narine says:

      This is a great piece, while I agree with your perspective in most areas, I find myself on the fence with autonomous cars. IF autonomous cars becomes a thing, I see them having tablets installed in the for car functions and your occasional commercial/advertisement. Like what happened with the yellow cabs. The “driver” while not focused on the road and has time to perhaps play a game with pop ups, or watch Alex Trebek.
      Self driving has a long way to go, I can’t say its overrated though 🙂