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A Time of Revolution: OOH must earn its place as a core media buy

Rubbi Bhogal-Wood , Head of Airport Sales, Primesight   |   16th June 2017

A Time of Revolution was a bold title to lead the 58th FEPE congress of the world’s out-of-home (OOH) markets who met in Stockholm last week. Yet these are indeed times of significant change as marketers are challenged with the requirement to choose which channels can be trusted to be most effective in helping them build their brands and grow their businesses.

FEPE president Matthew Dearden was clear that the ‘right to win’ cannot be assumed but must be built upon four pillars of: Making the case for OOH in a digital world; Taking the digital revolution out-of-home; Making OOH easy to plan, buy and deliver; and Reclaiming the creative crown.

The theme of revolution was central for Nancy Fletcher, CEO Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and Sean Reilly, CEO Lamer Advertising as they shared key insights into the American marketplace, which is benefitting from $7.6bn of investment in advertising estate and has been rewarded by an all-time high of 28 months of consecutive growth. Fletcher and Reilly highlighted how the industry had collaborated with a clear vision to increase its share from the current 4% and grow by an additional £10bn by 2021. A single proposition of making OOH a core media buy for advertisers will be driving the initiative.

As cities globally are striving for smart status OOH is an urban medium that is growing in strength and investment, reaching a wealthy and young audience; OOH is in prime position to become the leading media channel harnessing connectivity.

William Swayne, Global President of Carat focussed on the opportunity afforded by DOOH to integrate seamlessly with the everyday lifestyle choices made by consumers and sit alongside the apps they use to download music while waiting for their train journey, check in online before arriving at the airport, or selecting a book to read on the summer beach holiday. He noted that we need to be better at creating, collating and sharing data which can form the basis of an executed campaign as this becomes integral to the ability to provide more effective solutions for clients.

The arrival of InLinkUK from BT (following from LinkNYC) was cited as being a leading development bringing smart cities to life by integrating digital advertising with a free 1 Gb Wi-Fi offering allowing consumers to stay connected wherever they travel in the city.

Despite being a digitally focussed client, Barry Louth, Sky TV’s Head of Media Planning, focussed on their reliance on the classic 48 sheet format to showcase their breadth of brands and programming. Together with Paul McCormack, Head of Planning at Rapport, he explained how in the UK they are utilising the industry measurement tool Route to form the smart foundations of their mass coverage strategy which can only be delivered using a base of classic frames which offer strong value in relation to the more high profile DOOH sites. He warned the industry not to forget the power of the cover classic sites provide, which are central to Sky’s media plans.

‘Smarter as Standard’ was the challenge from Talon’s Managing Partners Adrian Skelton and Nick Mawditt, speaking on how optimised data was at the heart of enabling OOH to earn the right to win. Better planning, smarter audience targeting, understanding what consumers are doing within the vicinity of digital OOH screens, combined with improving the flexibility in purchase access will provide brands with maximised efficiency for their OOH investment.

This year FEPE introduced the inaugural Creative Award Nominations, for the best global creative works, from classic special builds for Angry Birds to the humorous giant Australian underwear brand BONDS’ campaign that showed two characters reacting to dynamic live weather feeds and how that affected conditions in the ‘male,’ ah-hem, ‘undercarriage.’

With creative-focussed presentations from Dino Burbridge (WCRS) and Helen Weisenger (Outdoor Plus), it was clear the importance of creative was high on the agenda.  Celebrating and encouraging the best creative use of OOH was also picked up by the OMA (the Australian trade body for OOH) as they unveiled the third edition of Open3, a premium coffee table book which brings together an inspiring collection of global creative works.

This worldwide congress also heard from the African, Indian and Russian continents all of whom are engaged in revolutions in their respective markets.

Noomi Mehta, Chairman Selvel One Group spoke of how India is the best placed country in the world to lead the OOH revolution. A young population and a burgeoning middle class who are spending more time than ever outside the home are flexing their economic muscles. Industrial corridor investments connecting India’s big metropolitan cities will drive 10 new airports being built in the next 12-18 months.

‘But what comes after India?’ was the opening question from Emeka Okeke, CEO at Media Fuse Dentsu Aegis Network in Africa. There are 1.2 billion people on the continent, living in urban areas with a mean age of 19.5 years. To support this it already has a well-developed and highly mobile media scene, and with Glo 1 – a super high capacity undersea fibre-optic cable network – on the way, they’re set for data explosion. Combined with their programme to develop Digital OOH assets, Africa will help fuel the economic double digit growth that began in 2015, making it well placed for advertising growth on a huge scale.

No media advertising conference would be complete without a programmatic discussion and the cross-industry panel discussion of media owners and out-of-home specialists confirmed that this topic is right at the front of the Agenda. All agreed that they were navigating their way forward in using technology to make the medium more accessible and more efficient. That none of the panel were prepared to put a timescale or target in the public domain was a clear indication of the complexity of bringing a technical revolution to an established medium, but their intention to follow that path was clear.

A revolution is a time for change and a time for the many. The 58th congress concluded with incoming president Tom Goddard leaving no-one in doubt that the out-of-home medium is united globally in its struggle to ensure that OOH is best placed to consistently be a core media buy for advertisers.

The 59th congress will take place in Sorrento where the progress of a year of revolution will be marked.

"As an industry, I believe, we have forgotten the power of repetition. Effective communication isn't small. It isn't cheap. It isn't once."
"Advertising isn’t supposed to be private. It’s supposed to be overheard, shared, stumbled across and discovered."
"And then there’s advertising’s past. The intrusive, inflexibile and mute billboards. They feel like throwbacks to the old way of doing things. A flat image with an unyielding rule that the consumer can take in no more than eight words (unless they’re Economist readers). How boring. How old school. Until you remember 2015's ‘Shot on iPhone 6’ campaign. Simple, traditional and utterly un-missable pieces of art in the urban landscape."
"Out of Home is the oldest medium of all There’s still huge power in the public message – the power of the public comment. It’s a big thing – it’s why people get married in front of an audience of 150; it gives a public sense of commitment."
"We've chosen to use digital to make everything more efficient...but we've forgotten how to explore and discover. It's a loss of serendipity and we've lost a lot of the humanity. We're becoming very reliant upon digital and the internet to make us incredibly efficient and we're losing out."
"The beauty of OOH is that it can double as a TV screen, a social feed, a camera, a vending machine, a download site, or a purchase point."
"OOH is constantly evolving, and its ability to integrate so brilliantly with new technology is one of its main strengths."
"Media changes, driven by digitisation, have left consumers facing a tyranny of choice—yet OOH is a channel that can still deliver huge audiences, and can increasingly do so in creative and engaging ways."
"The Out of Home sector has been tremendously resilient throughout the recessionary years, showing consistent growth driven by its fundamental benefits. In an ever-fragmenting media landscape, you can still reach pretty much the entire population, all at the same time."
"Out of Home is booming right now: OOH is the most ubiquitous media – you can’t turn the page, change the channel or switch it off, and Out of Home continues to integrate itself brilliantly with other new and innovative technologies."
"Posters decorate the world "
"Speed of change is all around us and no more so than in the rate at which advertising investment in traditional posters is being transitioned to include a far more flexible Out of Home canvas; the digital poster."
"I love OOH because the diversity of opportunities makes it a realistic option for almost any client. Add to this the ever growing possibilities for new innovation and it’s a media channel that is truly exciting to both agencies and clients alike."
"As DOOH becomes more “digital,” it becomes more agile, richer, and better able to play its part in a big idea. As a plugged in medium, DOOH can be the active element in a multi-layered campaign. It can create buzz, break news, invite interaction, and help to drive content and discussions online. Great DOOH campaigns are ones that sit comfortably within the wider brand strategy and capture the imagination."
"By its very nature, Out of Home’s remoteness from the consumer living room, from the office, and from the home computer, has made it a natural bedfellow of mobile marketing."
"OOH inhabits a wonderful space in which we benefit from a rich heritage of memorable, iconic campaigns and a truly exciting future unfolding before us. A broadcast medium that just keeps getting better."
"DOOH is a really interesting storytelling medium, beyond advertising. It allows you to touch and feel and interact in a way no other medium does. That's the real beauty of it, and usually overlooked"
"Show me any brief, for any client and any campaign and I guarantee that OOH will be able to have a justifiable role to play as part of the media solution. That role maybe big or small; local or national, classic, digital or both, large format, small format or anything in between... but it will be justifiable and worthwhile. There isn’t any other medium that can replicate that claim, or indeed come anywhere near doing so."
"London’s very large public transport network carries a great deal of OOH advertising. As a result, London alone has 170,000 advertising sites, more than 40 per cent of the national total. This makes London the most valuable city for OOH advertising in Europe and among the most important in the world."
"Digital OOH networks are multi-sensory and with the development of touch technology things are moving fast. Stimulating the senses more creatively generates social shares, great PR and awards."
"Central London will undergo a transformation and cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds will get even brighter and more connected"
"It makes sense for the most welcomed and least intrusive media to deliver presence for brands interacting through the media"
"OOH remains the flexible canvas for which a guaranteed audience is never too far away"
"OOH may be the oldest medium, yet it has shown remarkable resilience in reinventing itself"
"Smarter brands are contextualising their ad messaging, reaching a target audience when it matters most and can change behaviour"
"Poster sites really are the last true broadcast medium capable of near universal reach"
"Immediacy, targeting and excitement are what DOOH can offer that other media can't - its just very very cool.The opportunities are endless"
"The combination of classic and DOOH should be an intoxicating mix for any marketing director"
"Out of Home is an accountable, measurable and effective media for advertisers"
"Reaching people in the right place, at the right time is still Out of Home’s biggest strength"
"Posters are the purest and most effective form of communication"
"I would advise marketers using OOH not to see a poster as a Wikipedia entry, think of it as a piece of art"
"OOH engages hard to reach audiences on the move with inspiring and innovative communications"
"Using data to plan OOH enhances campaign performance by up to 200%"
"London is the most valuable city for OOH advertising... and among the most important in the world "
"Super premium digital Out of Home is one of the quickest ways to get into the conversation and make your brand famous"
"For a brand to live, it needs to appeal not only to the people who buy it, but also to the people who know about it "
"Media isn’t about the number of impressions you make. Media is about the power of the impression you make."
"In advertising, we have the power to change minds, change beliefs and change the world"
"DOOH offers deeper engagement than other media, more of a story and feedback"