How technology will affect the nature of outdoor

By Derek Manns and Andy Corcoran, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 02 June 2011 12:01AM

Clear Channel and UM London creative chiefs describe how the use of technology will transform the nature of out-of-home advertising.

DEREK MANNS - HEAD OF CREATE + COLLABORATION, CLEAR CHANNEL

- How are you working with clients and partners to push the boundaries of out-of-home?

The Create + Collaboration team was set up to work in partnership with clients, creative, media and specialist agencies, and reflects our commitment to extend the boundaries of out-of-home through creative, digital and technological developments. Focusing resource on the creative execution is not the traditional approach of an OOH media company, but has been integral to our desire to broaden the scope of the medium. Our collaboration with creative agencies and technology partners has provided new and exciting ways for brands to engage with their audience.

- How is OOH integrating with other media?

Outdoor is already becoming a more tactical, dynamic and integrated solution through mobile and digital platforms.Whether it's live updating creative, or linking to social media through mobile and online, brands are now able to have a conversation through OOH, deliver engaging brand experiences, provide content and drive audiences online. Near-field communications, in particular, is now making headway for mobile, and is included in the latest Samsung Galaxy S Android phone, and rumoured to be in the iPhone update. With the news that Google is accelerating the launch of its "mobile wallet", the evolution of mobiles into payment devices is only going to increase opportunities in OOH.

- What's the most interesting campaign you've worked on so far this year?

Beck's Beer has a strong history of pushing the boundaries for digital and the interactive use of outdoor. This year marked the 25th anniversary of its successful Beck's "art label" initiative. To celebrate this landmark, a Beck's "art crawl" took place in pubs and bars in Shoreditch. People in the area were able to check maps on Clear Channel's bus shelters to find participating pubs, check-in on Facebook and have a chance to win artwork by famous artists. We installed digital six-sheet screens in bus shelters in Shoreditch that played interviews with artists that people could listen to using their own headphones. The campaign, created by Mother with planning and buying by Vizeum and Posterscope, integrated OOH with other media and demonstrated the powerful combination of social media and OOH.

- What do you predict will be the next innovation in outdoor?

Interactivity will be the next focus for outdoor, but you will see it in many forms. People will be able to get what they want, when they want it, through touch-screens with data capture, incorporating eye tracking, mood tracking, augmented reality and gesture-based software. People will interact with brands while they are out and take away memorable experiences. They will interact via mobile apps with GPS and image recognition software to link to online content or instant vouchers to drive purchase in proximity to store.

- How do you see the medium in five years - traditional OOH vs digital OOH?

Digital is extending the role of outdoor, not replacing the traditional poster. It works in tandem with poster to deliver content and brand interactions. Digital OOH networks will continue to grow and integrate with wi-fi, location-based apps and smartphone technology, and digital technologies will enable us to communicate in such diverse ways that OOH will start to grow its share of the marketplace.

ANDY CORCORAN - HEAD OF IDEATION, UM LONDON

- How are you working with clients and partners to push the boundaries of out-of-home?

Our team at UM London takes an ideas-led approach. In our agency structure, ideation is positioned between strategy and planning, making it much for us to push boundaries. If each campaign idea is unique, each execution needs to be able to deliver this too. Out-of-home is no different. I also see a crucial role for OOH media owners in the idea formulation process, which has had a hugely positive effect on our campaign success to date. And UM's "curiosity lab" helps us partner with cutting-edge companies, like Tangibal and Three60Ventures, to explore the new frontiers of OOH.

- How is OOH integrating with other media?

Social media integration in OOH is still in its infancy, so it's something we're pushing back to media owners, as well as trying to build it into our campaigns. Though there is a lot of buzz around Quick Recognition or Tag codes on posters, this only engages a small crowd, and the QR reading technology is still not standardised or pre-loaded onto smartphones. Checking-in using location-based applications, however, could provide real value for motivated consumers. Integration into other media will also be enhanced in channel planning - Postar II will let agencies plan OOH in a similar way to other media, rather than price per panel.

- What's the most interesting campaign you've worked on so far this year?

The last 12 months has seen UM do some of its best work with OOH, and it's great to get recognition for it. We've launched a new biscuit brand for Burtons using 100 per cent outdoor, and seen the high street OOH domination of H&M continue. Both of these are very bold strategies compared to sector behaviour, and have demonstrated the continuing value of using the medium in new and different ways. To be honest, I didn't even work on the campaign that most excited me this year - Lynx's "AR angels"- just because it was not another OOH special for the sake of it. Another great piece of work from Grand Visual - the YouTube views of what is a small number of people interacting with the advertising will probably end up pushing one million views.

- What do you predict will be the next innovation in outdoor?

OOH tooled up with gesture-based systems, together with a return path. It would allow advertisers to communicate to a large number of people, and encourage interaction to a self-selecting motivated minority. As Xbox Kinect's agency, it's front of mind for us. This technology offers us the opportunity to tailor adverts to match age, gender and mood - young male and female film releases could share the same site and target the relevant passer-by.

- How do you see the medium in five years - traditional OOH vs digital OOH?

I don't think digital will overwhelm traditional just yet. IPM believes digital will probably edge closer to 25 per cent within five years. The London 2012 Olympics may provide a revenue boost to help the situation. I'm still a fan of traditional sites. Judging CBS Outdoor and Campaign's "Long Copy Challenge" last year opened my eyes to the enthusiasm there is for great copywriting in OOH, devoid of digital bells and whistles.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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