Matthew P. Leible, 34, director of out-of-home media for Horizon Media, New York, is the son of an outdoor advertising executive and grew up helping his father "ride the boards" in New York City's suburbs, checking signboard placements.
He didn't originally plan on following in his father's footsteps, aiming instead for a career in sports psychology, which shifted to social work, then to helping troubled children. Two years later, Mr. Leible gravitated to outdoor media, admitting it was his true love.
"I traded temper tantrums from 8-year-olds for temper tantrums from 58-year-olds," he wisecracks.
Horizon recruited Mr. Leible to be its first-ever executive devoted exclusively to out-of-home media, a function previously shared by other department heads.
One marketer following him to the new agency was Spot & Co., New York, which has grown into a powerhouse representing many top Broadway shows.
"Broadway is a very competitive and transparent business, and our media must be both highly effective and affordable," says Jim Edwards, Spot & Co.'s director of account services. "Matt takes the time to listen to our particular goal, then he finds opportunities that make a big impact for shows like `Rent' and `Chicago.' That's not easy given the excessive signage and advertising madness of New York."
Since Mr. Leible's arrival, Horizon's out-of-home media business has increased 75%, with a total of four people in the department now handling national and local clients for out-of-home media. Out-of-home clients include Geico Insurance, cable network A&E, Ace Hardware and Jack in the Box.
In pursuit of zany and eye-catching places to put ads, Mr. Leible says there is almost no media proposition he won't consider.
"I never thought I'd be negotiating media buys involving urinals, but that's actually a viable placement now," he says.
For A&E's new "Dog, the Bounty Hunter" series, Mr. Leible posted signs in men's rooms near entertainment hotspots, saying of the bounty hunter: "Unlike you, he never misses."
To generate buzz earlier this year for A&E's reality TV show "Airline," Mr. Leible orchestrated the distribution of airline-like peanut bags touting the show at high-profile bars in major cities, with "flight attendants" who circulated at nightclubs, videotaping bar patrons' most outrageous true in-flight stories.
"To me, the definition of out-of-home media is anything that gets people to remember a brand when they're walking down the street, hanging out or going to dinner," says Mr. Leible
Today his father calls him to sell taxi top advertising media in New York, and business is business. "I take his calls, just like any other vendor," says the junior Leible.