Amazon Prime Air
The Amazon Prime Air drone carrying a package

The weekend after Thanksgiving, Amazon revealed Amazon “Prime Air,” a delivery service currently in the testing phase to deliver same-day packages via unmanned flying drones directly to your doorstep. Fear not, for the FAA is working on rules and regulations to ensure our safety while that power tool, t-shirt, or digital gadget is flown safely over our heads and prepares to approach in low-visibility conditions to your neighbors’ front porch. (By the way, does this create an advertising opportunity for someone, besides Amazon? And, more importantly, does my insurance policy cover the malfunction of unmanned aerial vehicles?)

In all seriousness, what an amazing, innovative, and forward thinking idea. Being super responsive to customer needs (the increasing demand for fast delivery in this case) is one way to help ensure the health and viability of any business. While the current technology being tested by Amazon would limit delivery to packages weighing no more than 5 pounds and within a 10-mile flight radius, it’s not unfeasible to imagine a scenario where products such as printed billboards could be delivered within hours.

In similar ways, OOH suppliers are responding to the increased expectations of OOH advertisers. While we will leave the logistics to Amazon and the FAA, today’s OOH printing technology allows orders to ship the same day they are received. Technology today has decreased print time while increasing print quality. Posters and bulletins are able to be printed, finished, and packaged in just a few hours. This allows OOH sales personnel to sell campaigns at the last hour and satisfy increasingly demanding customers. This in turn allows the OOH industry to be more responsive and more effectively compete with other media, especially those that may be seen (whether accurately or not) as being faster to respond. Campaigns that post on-time, or possibly early at times, result in satisfied advertisers, and are beneficial for outdoor companies as well, as they can begin invoicing for the campaign.

If or until Amazon officially unveils Prime Air, and printed billboards are available “Next-Hour”, the fastest method of shipment will predominantly remain next day air with one of the major shipping carriers. But stay tuned, as today’s printing technology combined with current online ordering and proof approval methods means the ability to order, print, deliver, and install printed OOH campaigns within hours could soon be here.

Allan Atkins
Independent’s Service Company