Double Standards - How outdoor is becoming an interactive medium

campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 29 November 2012 08:00AM

Once a one-way channel, out-of-home is now using digital and data to engage consumers more deeply at scale, according to Nick Mawditt and Spencer Berwin

Double Standards - How outdoor is becoming an interactive medium

NICK MAWDITT, GLOBAL DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND INSIGHT, KINETIC

What legacy has the Olympics left for the world of outdoor advertising?

Legacy was the central theme of the London 2012 experience and it was important that some lasting benefits could come from both the lengthy build-up to the event and the significant levels of client and media owner investment. The experience showed that out-of-home can deliver. Brands should not now be reticent about being adventurous in the OOH space, for any kind of scaled event or simply by seeking to dominate the environments where communication can cut through to audiences with sustained impact. We saw loads of this across the summer.

Data is becoming ever-more important to agencies. Will near field communication be key to providing this for outdoor or is it just a fad?

Data is sourced from many places and anything that relates to people behaviour, and informs better planning and business solutions. Technology is an obvious
provider and our experience thus far with near field communication – and other download technology interfaces – demonstrates a real ability to track consumer activation by location, time of day, handset type and in relation to different content. NFC will provide one source, and other data sources – from the census to Postar’s imminent release – will provide incredible depth around our behaviour and will deliver real accountability for the way people activate their purchase decisions. And, of course, with data comes insight and the added capability to unlock OOH’s return on investment reality.

Why should outdoor be a decent part of any brand’s Christmas campaign?

Many reasons, not least that most of us will be out on Britain’s high streets and in malls and supermarkets making purchase decisions. Whether showrooming or just gathering ideas, 90 per cent of us shop in the traditional way. OOH can amplify the seasonal message and, increasingly, drive flexible messaging around product ideas or sale offers. The dynamics of retail are shifting and the strongest are surviving. But we are still a nation of shoppers and, not only is OOH proven to play a crucial role at the purchase end of the customer journey, it is also the last window of influence for the majority of purchases.

Is outdoor behaving like a leader in the media industry? Could it be braver?

Media owner investment, planning insight, significant growth in 2012, a continuing digital revolution and connected and mobile audiences are all producing exciting new creative opportunities. Campaigns from Nike’s #makeitcount to EE’s visual use of digital OOH  
on the day of its 4G launch – with many more in between – all characterise the real benefits of the medium. OOH embraces social media, the smart device, content, interactivity, location and traditional branding mechanisms. It is accountable and the industry will demonstrate even greater buying flexibility in the coming years. But there is always scope for brands to be braver.

In a year when outdoor was high profile, what is the most valuable lesson that the medium has learnt?

The medium hasn’t been afraid to innovate, from NFC trials and national interactive campaigns to environment dominations around the Olympics. We learnt to value our product and stick to our guns across a very uncertain Olympic regulatory environment. Value, impact and innovation will continue and the technology media revolution impacts OOH significantly. We can and must be flexible on campaigns but not afraid to fly with those great ideas. They showcase the medium at its best.

SPENCER BERWIN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SALES, JCDECAUX

What legacy has the Olympics left for the world of outdoor advertising?

During London 2012, outdoor enabled brands such as Heineken, McDonald’s, Visa, EDF Energy, BP and Deloitte to dominate communications at major outdoor transport hubs. Brands deployed giant wraps, billboards and digital screens to "own" media spaces, and this trend of "ownership" is an important legacy of the Games. As EE’s one-day ownership of media space showed, brands can now "own" entire parts of cities from one day to one week or even longer. Brands will soon be able to own the creative heart of UK outdoor, the newly digitised Cromwell Road.

Data is becoming ever-more important to agencies. Will near field communication be key to providing this for outdoor or is it just a fad?

Near field communication is here and growing massively. Our first two national NFC campaigns have just gone live, with Nestlé linking to a competition on roadside sites and Sony offering consumers exclusive music downloads in malls and on roadside. Research from our "Testing the Near Future" project showed that new technology is fuelling the public’s appetite for outdoor advertising that provides interactive experiences on the move. Consumers were overwhelmingly positive (78 per cent) about the experience, citing the ease of use of NFC. We worked with 13 major brands on the trial, with Unilever’s Richard Brooke saying that NFC offers an opportunity for out-of-home to create a rich and deeper engagement with consumers.

Why should outdoor be a decent part of any brand’s Christmas campaign?

Outdoor enables brands to "own" the high street and the journey to the shops, influencing purchases. Seventy-eight per cent of adults will visit the high street/mall to buy Christmas presents this year, yet only 15 per cent will have a shopping list (lower still at 12 per cent in malls), making outdoor the critical last window of influence before people purchase. The TV and press market is hugely cluttered with press circulations in freefall, yet outdoor has some of its highest audiences at Christmas. The scale of digital outdoor now offers a new, exciting opportunity to run tactical, time-sensitive and animated Christmas content.

Is outdoor behaving like a leader in the media industry? Could it be braver?

Yes, we could be braver. Content is king and I think outdoor will move towards greater content creation in the future. During London 2012, we worked with Powerade on a digital outdoor campaign that incorporated the responses of commuters. This content partnership was a first for outdoor and could be a taste of the future. We ran 19 polls across 40 days to curate the content for our screens. We’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg and brands should realise that they could "own" this content. The ability of consumers to interact with outdoor through their smartphones could lead to outdoor moving from being a business-to-business to a business-to-consumer medium.

In a year when outdoor was high profile, what is the most valuable lesson that the medium has learnt?

I was struck by the fact that Jessica Ennis was hailed in every press and TV interview as the "poster girl" for the Olympics, underlining the power of the traditional poster. The Olympics showed that the brands that used outdoor in a highly visual way on a large scale reaped the rewards. According to YouGov, 62 per cent of Games visitors noticed outdoor advertising and 52 per cent agreed that outdoor advertising added colour and vibrancy to the city. The Olympics showed that outdoor is integral to city life and the rise in new technology will only increase this.





This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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