Women to Watch 2009

Suzanne Alecia

President, Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- If digital out of home pops up on a marketer's media plan of late, chances are Suzanne Alecia played a role in getting it there.

Suzanne Alecia

As president of the Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau, Ms. Alecia has overseen the monetization of TV-quality video that's been popping up everywhere from taxis to gas pumps to the grocery-store checkout line. After taking the reins of the then-1-year-old trade organization in 2008, Ms. Alecia set out to achieve one key goal: make it easier for advertisers, agencies and media companies to buy and sell the rapidly growing medium. Within nine months of her appointment, OVAB unveiled its guidelines and best practices for buying digital out of home at a symposium in New York.

"With the support of our members and the board of directors and the excitement we're feeling from the agency and advertising community, we really do see the industry taking off in the next 12 to 18 months," Ms. Alecia said.

But it's the passion and relative speed with which Ms. Alecia was able to pull off the still-fledging industry's first guidelines that impressed Kris Magel, exec VP-national broadcast director at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative, who serves on OVAB's agency advisory board.

"Suzanne has done more with OVAB for the place-based and the out-of-home-video industry than almost any trade organization has done for their respective business in advertising," he said. "She established guidelines for metrics that didn't exist, forwarded consistent research across platforms that will help the networks generate business for advertisers and she's galvanized the major players of the industry in a very short time."

The digital-out-of-home industry has achieved other significant milestones since OVAB's formation in 2007. WPP's Group M and Publicis' MediaVest have made cinema buys from the same budgets as TV, and the organization has added member companies such as NBC Everywhere, CBS Outernet and Premier Retail Network.

Ms. Alecia's next challenge is to help the industry better understand the OVAB guidelines and, eventually, turn those guidelines into a standardized measurement system for all out-of-home screens. "We're ramping up our efforts to increase the awareness among clients and media strategists who look at the broad view of how consumers are consuming media," she said. "What we've learned from our research is that once they're aware, they love the accountability and the flexibility."