OAAA CANCELS AWARD SHOW, ASKS GROUPS TO PRINT 'MESSAGE OF HOPE'

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) --The Outdoor Advertising Association of America canceled its annual conference, which convened in New York on Tuesday, due to the tragic events in New York and Washington.

The association's OBIE awards ceremony higlighting outstanding out-of-home campaigns, which was originally scheduled for tonight, has been postponed.

The OAAA is asking its member outdoor media companies to serve the nation by posting the message "In God We Trust. United We Stand" on billboards, transit displays and other out-of-home venues.

The message is posted on the association's Web site, www.oaaa.org, with the plea: "The outdoor industry can make an enormous difference by dissemination this message of hope. Please support this program."

All 11 OAAA staffers from the Washington, D.C., headquarters who were in New York Tuesday preparing for the association's annual meeting made it back to Washington this afternoon.

Nine had taken a train and two drove in a van that the association used to transport equipment from Washington to New York for the conference.

Fortunately, an OAAA spokeswoman said, most of the 600 attendees were not scheduled to arrive until Tuesday afternoon or evening. For the 200 or so who flew in before air traffic was halted, the OAAA's registration desk remained open to answer quetsions.

The attendees were staying at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, and many doubled up to open rooms for stranded people searching for a place to stay, the spokeswoman said. The orginally planned opening reception set for Tuesday evening turned into a casual buffet dinner for those attendees who were present.

The OAAA will probably not reschedule this year's conference, and OBIE winners will be notified and publicized in some more quiet way, the spokeswoman said.

"I don't think anybody feels much like celebrating," she said. "The focus has turned to the public service message."

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