Double Standards - 'Location and relevance are the key words here'

campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 05 July 2012 08:00AM

Advertisers are warming to the idea of integrating content into their out-of-home campaigns, but relevance to consumers should be the focus, two experts advise.

Antony Ceravol: founder and chief executive, Ecnlive

Antony Ceravol: founder and chief executive, Ecnlive

ANTONY CERAVOLO. FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ECNLIVE

- How and when should editorial content be used in out-of-home media?

Internet-connected digital out-of-home screen networks have created the opportunity to add a new dimension to brand campaigns. Advertisers, agencies and media owners need to consider how editorial can add value to consumers' daily lives. So you need to ask questions such as: is it topical? Is it timely? Is it relevant to a location and is it useful?

- Consumers generally look at posters for a short time - what kind of content works best?

It needs to be simple and effective content, which can be easily absorbed. But the key to effective content is for it to be "live" and relevant to the audience and location. Time of day and potential mindset are also important factors, as is relevancy to the brand. There needs to be a clear and credible reason for the brand to be providing a particular type of information. For example, sports results could be connected to a brand's existing sponsorship relationship.

- Are advertisers buying into the idea?

We've found that, when clients see live content in action within a brand campaign, they immediately see the potential for their brand to add value to people's daily experiences. They understand that advertising can be very effective when working in conjunction with quality content. Advertiser-supplied content and integrating messages with live feeds is a very effective communication channel and pretty unique to out-of-home. Advertising is much more effective where there are high empathy levels with content and, in terms of brand strategy, the two can be closely integrated.

- Are there examples of successful out-of-home campaigns using content?

IBM's Wimbledon campaign is a very recent example of this. IBM provides live score updates and facts blended with creative that change according to the result or stage in a match. It's informative, relevant and engaging content, showing IBM's association with Wimbledon and technology, while providing our audience with great entertainment. Eurostar also ran a very effective recent content-driven campaign with us to promote the launch of its Amsterdam service. What we have seen is more briefs from brands looking to supply content, usually by embracing the opportunity for "real-time" communication.

- Does the integration of editorial mean that some parts of the out-of-home sector will evolve into a kind of hybrid media?

It is possible new categories within the digital out-of-home sector will emerge, but the environment and quality of media and editorial need to be right. I'm not sure there is much call for it in locations where people are moving rapidly. So you won't be seeing content across every digital site, but clearly certain locations and networks have the potential to take a more sophisticated approach to engagement or interaction and, as such, may come to be regarded differently by audiences, brands and agencies.

- Is location critical to deciding whether content is suitable for an out-of-home campaign?

Dwell time in front of digital screens varies from seconds to minutes depending on the location, and some locations are simply too cluttered to work - so content won't work everywhere. The key opportunity is delivering information that is relevant to people in a specific place or situation. In a sense, digital out-of-home can play the same role as a smartphone - supplying useful, relevant content to people on the move.

CAROLYN NUGENT, HEAD OF DIGITAL, KINETIC

- How and when should editorial content be used in out-of-home media?

Location and relevance are the key words here. Editorial content naturally works well in locations where there is longer-than-average dwell time, such as rail, underground and airports, and where consumers are looking to fill dead time. Sharing of user-generated content such as Tweets, texts and photos is also growing in popularity in these environments.

- Consumers generally look at posters for a short time - what kind of content works best?

Useful content such as up-to-date news, weather or entertainment work well. Typically, they are relatively brief and easily consumed by the waiting audience. Sky News has done this very successfully for a number of years on the Transvision screens in railway stations, for example. Relevant location-based content works too, such as sponsored travel updates or Time Out's promotion of where to go in the capital, delivered to the XTP screens on the London Underground.

- Are advertisers buying into the idea?

Yes, they are starting to recognise the potential. Many advertisers will have existing online content that can be easily fed to a digital out-of-home screen. Among those leading the way are IBM, which has been providing live scores from the Wimbledon tennis championships for the past three years across a number of relevant environments, including airports and offices. In a different approach, American Express has recently been providing tips on quirky things to do in London to potential customers as they wait for their trains at rail stations.

- Are there examples of successful out-of-home campaigns using content?

Yes, and it is encouraging to see the diversity of use. Last year, Warner Bros streamed the premiere of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 to Transvision screens at London rail stations, entertaining commuters with live footage of the cast and fans in Trafalgar Square. TomTom ran a long-term tie-up with Amscreen on screens at petrol forecourts, providing the latest travel and road-traffic data, relevant to their location. Other advertisers including Nike and ITV have used digital out-of-home to communicate scores and immediate reaction to football and rugby tournament results. We expect to see more of this across the Olympics this summer.

- Does the integration of editorial mean that some parts of the out-of-home sector will evolve into a kind of hybrid media?

This is already happening. Transvision and XTP at rail and Underground stations respectively, Amscreen in convenience stores and ECNlive in the premium office environment are all examples of established and successful digital out-of-home networks offering a hybrid of content and advertising on their screen networks. And it's growing: just this year, a new channel, Renew, has launched in the City of London offering a mix of content and ads on newspaper recycling pods.

- Is location critical to deciding whether content is suitable for an out-of-home campaign?

Location is critical. Mobile interactive technologies such as near field communication allow consumers to download content, offers or vouchers straight to their device, via a simple poster. Where that poster is located is key, as you need high dwell time to interact. But, as it is a personal interaction, sites also need to be at eye level, so transport hubs, bus shelters, malls and other high-throughput, pedestrian-level locations will work best.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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