Personal and relevant
Data also has a transformative ability to elevate a generic message to something far more personal and relevant. Consider how Cadbury leveraged its Premier League association via live scoring on DOOH screens, how Bank of Ireland provided local housing availability and pricing to promote its mortgage offering, or how McDonald’s and Guinness have integrated online polls to further engage customers.
Data also tells us the physical shape of society has shifted. A mixture of the changing nature of audience behaviour, clearly manifested through the pandemic over the last 12 months, and the evolution of the infrastructure of Outdoor advertising, means the traditional lines of differentiation between brand and activation on OOH are blurring.
The path to purchase is as much mental as it is physical and location marketing must reflect shifting audience behaviour. The pandemic has led to new audience behaviours relating to work, shopping and leisure.
How people live and how they interact with their local community has positive implications and opportunity for location marketing. Independent research studies carried out by Ipsos MRBI over recent months speaks to OOH’s power to build mental availability and influence consumer behaviour and, ultimately, their actions.
OOH is not just posters and screens; it is a TV, a gaming console, a content portal, a path to purchase, and much more in-between – and it is the marriage between OOH and mobile that forms the critical heartbeat of that versatility.
The computers we carry around with us enable in-the-moment response, but only if the value exchange proposition and prompt is compelling enough. By tethering our handsets to our OOH activity, we will see a continued acceleration of technologies that enable OOH advertising to be both shoppable and sharable. OOH has always been recognised for its ability to drive footfall into retail outlets, but more and more it has proven to be also exceptionally well equipped to prime digital advertising and drive customers online.
We are seeing increased interest in technologies that bridge the virtual and physical worlds via OOH, such as QR codes and AR. As consumers spend more time consuming online via mobile and the majority of mobile is consumed out and about, the opportunities for brands to drive immediate response are obvious. Furthermore, there is a renewed opportunity for special-build productions and experiential activations in the OOH space to drive brand fame across both the real and virtual world.
Out-of-home is changing and adapting technology to make better advertising for clients. And of course, great leaps in technology, societal transformation, and innovation are often borne out of crisis; so finding new ways to heal our cities and communities is needed now more than ever.
As a media channel with a tangible physical presence in public spaces, the OOH industry has a significant role to play in this. PML Group partnered with Nestlé this year to produce Ireland’s first ever OOH campaign on 100 per cent recycled paper; this is a commitment Nestlé has made for all campaigns going forward. Media owners are constantly looking to implement energy-saving measures to power new and existing formats. In 2018, JCDecaux, ESB and NTA joined forces to reduce the carbon footprint of Ireland’s bus shelters by 88 per cent. Clear Channel has successfully tested a solar bus shelter lighting solution for its shelters.
While initiatives such as these are very welcome, the commercial model for OOH advertising has contributed to the green agenda for many years in Ireland. OOH advertising of course contributes to the provision of public transport services while the NOW Dublin bikes scheme is a partnership involving OOH media owner JCDecaux and provides more than 1,600 bikes to the city.
As we enter the latter half of 2021 and into a post-pandemic era in the coming years, I truly believe out-of-home advertising has all the assets to build brands, influence consumers and drive response. It is the ultimate creative canvas, underpinned by proven classic formats such as billboards, bus shelters and T-sides.
Its ability to deliver digital innovation at scale and layer on relevance and context, and to amplify online and other media means it is delivering sophisticated mass marketing solutions for clients. OOH and its practitioners must apply the pent-up creativity of 2020 to a channel now so enhanced by data driven, dynamic solutions. We see ourselves as architects of OOH’s future, a future that will be fuelled by technology, data, collaboration, and good old-fashioned creative thinking. We can’t wait.
Inside Marketing is a series brought to you by Dentsu and Irish Times Media Solutions, exploring the issues and opportunities facing the world of media and marketing. For more information, visit irishtimes.com/insidemarketing