A Time of Revolution (16/06/17)

A Time of Revolution

OOH must earn its place as a core media buy

Primesight’s Rubbi Bhogal-Wood shares her thoughts on this year’s FEPE Congress

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.

This piece was originally published on the Outsmart website.

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