Outdoor sets its sights on a 10 per cent share

As befits an industry enjoying its status as the fastest growing

medium in display advertising, delegates at the Outdoor Advertising

Conference in Barcelona last week left with an upbeat message.



At a time when TV advertising is stuck in the doldrums with no growth,

the Outdoor Advertising Association can boast a hike of more than 21 per

cent on 1999 and spend in the first quarter of 2001 was up more than 19

per cent on 2000.



"At the last Outdoor Conference in Madrid three years ago, outdoor was

taking 6 per cent of the advertising cake, it is now taking 8 per cent

and we have our sights set on 10 per cent," David Pugh, the managing

director of Maiden Outdoor, said.



But Unilever's worldwide head of media, Alan Rutherford, was one of the

medium's fiercest critics. He called for the industry to think of itself

as a brand, and for closer contact between creatives and

contractors.



Rutherford also called for common practices among European

contractors.



Despite a spate of consolidation which has seen the emergence of

JCDecaux, Clear Channel and Viacom (the parent company of TDI) as the

three main players, he claimed that pan-European planning in the medium

was unnecessarily complex: "The UK is the most complex outdoor market in

the world," he said.



Responding to Rutherford, David Pugh referred to several examples of

media owners and specialists working together - new research from the

Henley Centre and the Billett Consultancy, which were both jointly

funded by the OAA. But he conceded that the industry needs to work

harder on proving the effectiveness of outdoor.



Ken New, the non-executive chairman of the industry's measurement

system, Postar, revealed two changes to the system. First, that it will

be extended to cover other outdoor media, not just roadside panels.

Second, that a new product, Postar Lite, will enable agencies and

clients to see how posters fit in with other media plans online.



Robert Campbell, the executive creative director of Rainey Kelly

Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, said he would like to see closer links between

media and creative factions. He said: "Clients should make agencies

jointly accountable for the success of the campaign."



Two other speakers - Mike Moran, Toyota's commercial director, and

Jeremy Bullmore of the WPP group - called for higher creative standards.

Moran said: "The growth of pan-European advertising has led to a

dumbing-down of the creative process." Bullmore said: "A poster that

no-one can decipher has to be the ultimate waste of money."



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