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On The Couch With – Luis Cerda – Co Founder & Managing Partner – New Tradition

In this issue of our ‘On The Couch With’ interview series, we talked to Luis Cerda, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of New Tradition, one of the fastest growing out-of-home companies in the US and one of our newest UniLIVE clients.

Luis talks about the future plans for New Tradition, how data sets them apart from their competition and why independent verification is important to them.

Can you tell us a little about New Tradition?

We are an 11-year-old company based in NYC with a focus on premium OOH signage in top cities around the U.S.  Our portfolio is comprised of both static and digital placements, and we are fortunate to represent marquee properties like the famous One Times Square (home of the New Year’s Ball), the Reef in Los Angeles (America’s largest digital billboard) and the iconic Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles (soon to be renamed Ovation Hollywood). The founding partners came from some of the top Outdoor Companies in New York (Titan, JCDecaux and VanWagner), and we’ve always put our relationships at the forefront of the business, both on the client, agency and real estate sides.

The last 12 months or so have been particularly tough, especially for the OOH industry, how was it for New Tradition?

Like many of our peers, we faced a very challenging year as vehicular and pedestrian traffic counts were affected across the board.  But we stayed optimistic and began to see a significant uptick in activity this year. With COVID cases in decline and vaccinations picking up, we’re excited for the year ahead.

We’ve seen you’ve recently picked up some new inventory in Los Angeles! Is this a sign of things to come?  What does the future look like for digital-out-of-home vendors in the US?

We recently made an acquisition of (87) billboard faces in core Los Angeles from Regency Outdoor. The expanded coverage is an incredible compliment to our existing signage and marquee properties. We have a hyper growth strategy, and we’ll continue to responsibly invest in opportunities that fit within the New Tradition footprint.

“We have a hyper growth strategy, and we’ll continue to responsibly invest in opportunities that fit within the New Tradition footprint.”

Data is beginning to play an important role in DOOH.  How important is data for your clients, and how do you use data in marketing your product?

Data has always been one of the most important components to our business. Our client and agency partners deserve and require the most accurate metrics to evaluate our signage. The data we provide is something that has also set us apart from our competition.  We use GeoPath as our benchmark to provide OOH impressions and we’ll continue to incorporate tools to report social media and broadcast exposure for our high-profile properties.  We also see UniLIVE as a natural and much needed evolution of campaign tracking.  Providing clients with real-time verification of our digital signage will offer a much greater level of accountability.

“Providing clients with real-time verification of our digital signage will offer a much greater level of accountability.”

Why is independently verified data and measurement important to you and your clients?

It’s also been about transparency and accountability. This is the key to any relationship, and we immediately saw the value in UniLIVE’s backend tool for our digital properties.  We believe this will be a common practice in the near future and we’re excited to partner with UniLIVE as they continue their deployment in the US.

 What do you think is holding the industry back?   What does the industry need to do to combat this?

In our opinion, the universal adoption of new technologies has always been slower in our industry. As a whole, we have great intentions, but are often too focused on the immediate moment and not looking far enough into the future.

The pandemic has brought many challenges to workplaces, how have New Tradition handled the issues with remote working?  And what does the future workplace look like for New Tradition?   

While we recognize the world is changing and how business is conducted, we are excited for the return to a safe in office work environment.  Like most companies, we’ve adapted to the online/video services to stay connected, but nothing can replace the face to face interaction that breeds collaboration, relationship building, and the proper training of new hires.

“While we recognize the world is changing and how business is conducted, we are excited for the return to a safe in office work environment.”

What’s a favourite campaign that you’ve run recently and why ?

My personal favourite would be our New Year’s activation for KIA to support the launch of their new Sorrento. KIA was featured as the official New Year’s Eve Countdown Partner, running on the digital screens at the iconic One Times Square Tower and responsible for counting down the minutes until the ball drops to celebrate 2021.  Unlike past years, where they hosted over 1 million revellers to celebrate the ball drop, New Tradition collaborated with the Times Square Alliance to execute a safe celebration that focused around first responders and front-line workers.  To enhance and tease the sponsorship, we delivered the famous numerals from the top of the building to KIA’s headquarters in Irvine California for a national tour across the country that ended back in Times Square.

Finally, what’s the best thing in OOH you’ve seen recently that you had nothing to do with?

Updated Geopath ratings are exciting as we head into the second half of 2021, as well as the way in which the OOH community came together at the height of COVID to bring awareness to the pandemic.