Out of home is the oldest advertising medium. Its rude health reminds us that, as digitisation creates greater choices for marketers, the role of the agency remains as it ever was – to establish and exploit the clear and present business opportunity.
We are in the business of growing business, and outdoor plays a crucial role in helping brands grow. Last year’s analysis of the IPA Databank by Les Binet and Peter Field showed that campaigns using outdoor are becoming more effective, increasing our clients’ chances of achieving a sizeable business impact. Talon’s effectiveness work with Benchmarketing has shown that the medium is paying back in new ways, driving direct response in one instance, multiplying the impact of other channels in the next.
Why is the oldest of media platforms becoming more effective? In a time of fragmented attention, great outdoor campaigns address what we at OMD see as being the key challenge for brands – earning the right to communicate with consumers who are more demanding, diverse and dispersed than ever before. With them in mind, we have seen brilliant examples of how outdoor can add genuine utility or entertainment to the environment. Think of Google’s Voice Search campaign or British Airways’ "#lookup".
As the makeup of our nation changes, outdoor can reflect with brilliant precision the ever-more diverse audiences with which brands seek to communicate.
While audiences are dispersed and fragmented in other channels, outdoor engages the nation in bold, challenging ideas from the likes of Paddy Power, or Channel 4 with its Paralympics campaign.
We should reserve special praise for campaigns that hit the payback sweet spot: creating value for the client and the millions of consumers we engage every day.
Aki Mandhar is managing director of OMD UK.
As a judge in the Campaign and Clear Channel Outdoor Planning Awards 2017, she will be looking for... "work that works".