This month we welcome Vasco Perestrelo, CEO of MOP (Multimedia Outdoors Portugal) Lisbon, Portugal.
- You worked in music, television and advertising before joining Multimedia Outdoors Portugal (MOP). Can you tell us about this background and how it now relates to your position at MOP?
Since my childhood, I have always had a big interest in music – playing guitar since age eight – and entertainment in general (TV, cable, but also advertising, tech/Internet, etc). So when I took my degree in business, I always thought, not to go to the normal areas everybody went after university such as banks/finance or marketing of fast moving consumer goods companies, but instead to try to apply what I’ve learned in the areas that interested me.
As you mentioned, I think my background shows it very clearly: marketing in a music label (BMG), then in a cable company (TV Cabo/Portugal Telecom Multimedia), then in advertising with Euro RSCG (today’s Havas) and now MOP.
- Who owns MOP? How large a staff do you have? Do you have more than one office?
MOP belongs to a private equity called Explorer Investments and I’m also a small shareholder.
Before restructuring, we were a staff of around 150 but now we outsource all operations, and only have a staff of about 30 people.
- MOP’s website shows more than 60 examples of various creative installations and events for clients. Is this a way of ‘marketing’ MOP?
We position ourselves as Out-of-Home experts instead of only OOH advertising experts, which we think that’s what our competitors are. The reason we do this relates to our transportation expertise.
As one of our main partners is the main Portuguese transportation companies and we have with them what we call a 360º agreement where we handle everything from advertising to promotions, experiences, events, etc., we are able to offer products beyond simple advertising like events, below-the-line marketing, and more.
I think this positioning is very meaningful today, as it has helped us to always try to figure out solutions for the client’s brief, in spite of it being advertising or an experience. It helped us be more in sync with client’s needs, innovation, digital trends, and more.
- I see that MOP won a ‘Best Out-of-Home Advertising Company” award for the fourth consecutive year. Who chose MOP for that award? What does it mean for MOP?
It means a lot as it is the main prize of the Portuguese market and is given by all players within the industry from agencies to clients including everyone in between (producers…).
In fact, before we acquired MOP, this prize was always won by JCDecaux, so I see it somehow as the market validating our strategy.
- A large part of MOP’s website is devoted to Cannes Lions and Eurobest. Could you tell us about your involvement in these and how long you have been involved?
We’ve been representatives of the Lions Festivals (that includes Cannes Lions and Eurobest) since the beginning of having MOP. It was part of a strategy to increase MOP’s awareness in the market and its stakeholders.
Due to its worldwide presence, JCDecaux’s awareness was huge, so we needed to create other solutions to show ourselves. I thought that the brand Cannes Lions could be a good way to get there. It proved me well.
As a representative, we act as intermediate in the relationship between the Portuguese advertising market and the festivals, as well as doing some local competitions (Young Lions, etc.). So it basically puts us in connection with our direct (media agencies and clients) and indirect (creative agencies, producers, and others) associates in a ‘meaningful and creative way’, different to the day-to- day basis.
- Why do you devote so much of MOP’s website to Cannes and Eurobest rather than their having their own Portuguese websites?
Because, as I’ve said, I think our Cannes platform gives goodwill to the MOP Brand when perceived by our clients and as it is part of the brand, should be in our website.
- How much of your personal time is involved with Cannes and Eurobest? In the past two years, has MOP been nominated or won at either of these competitions?
I’d say, on average, 10% of my time is dedicated to this (maybe 50% in the days we do events or a competition).
The role of a representative is to value and communicate the Cannes Lions values in each market: valuing creativity, valuing and embracing new people and young people especially. Therefore, the role of a representative is not to compete, but to help and motivate the Portuguese players to compete, and also to go to the festival and learn with the program (which may be the most interesting and complete program in the world today).
We particularly relate to the Young Lions competition where Cannes Lions awards the best young creatives in the whole world. From our track record, we’re the third most awarded Young Lions country, which makes us very proud and very enthusiastic for the future.
- MOP offers a mix of digital and traditional OOH with 15,000 advertising faces in 77 locations. Tell us about the different products. How many of them are digital?
One of our main differentiation points is our range of different products. We’re the only Portuguese operator in three main segments: transportation, ‘street’, and shopping malls. We were the first (and still the only) to have a digital mupis (adshell) format in Lisbon (the main Portuguese city) and the only ones with a Smart City solution (with a tech pod that gives a cultural agenda, news and transportation mapping solutions to the citizens/tourists) – and that was before New York’s LinkNYC.
- What measurement system(s) do you use for your Digital Out-of-Home screens and why?
Unfortunately, Portugal’s OOH is somehow late on metrics, and with the economic crises of recent years, we’ve kept on being late. However, OOH still has an average 12% to 15% share when compared to other media, which is very good by any measure.
- How often do your clients ask for interactivity on the DOOH screens? Can you give us a recent example of a client’s use of it?
Although our TOMI ‘s platform has big interactivity potential (we call it ‘power ads’), clients have been slow in using it. This relates to consequences of the economic crisis that decreased the amount of advertising investments, as well as the will to innovate.
Last year, with the Portuguese economy starting to rebound, we began feeling some vibe and some clients starting to use it. A good example is a milk brand, Lactogal’s Vigor, that streamed a series of live concerts it sponsored through the TOMI platform. Another example is the Volkswagen brand that used the mapping solution to find the best car store nearby.
- What company do you use for your content management? How long have you used it, and why did you choose this company?
We have our own people doing it. With TOMI, the idea is to give people news and a cultural agenda with a local but also quality filter. We came to a conclusion that only we ourselves could create and maintain these filter criteria where they should be.
- In addition to your OOH and DOOH advertising, you have MopAct, a separate division handling sampling, events and other experiential marketing. Tell us about MopAct and its role, and would you give us an example?
MopAct deals with marketing below-the-line: active contact with the audience. It goes from distributing flyers to creating a specific event in a subway station. For example, one of our main clients is Vodafone that does all kinds of events and experiments to activate their sponsorships.
- I notice that you speak four languages as well as a smattering of several others. What does being multilingual mean for the growth of a company like MOP?
I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘must have’ attribute, as we only operate in Portuguese-speaking countries, but in a more and more global world, it’s a convenient tool.
- You are also very much a mentor to startups and entrepreneurial businesses in Portugal. Please tell us about this. Has MOP ever acquired any of the startups or entrepreneurs that you have mentored?
It comes as a follow up to my interests. I think it has to do on what gives me pleasure. The tech and startup world has always been of major interest to me, so it’s a very good way to keep me updated, as well as to offer my expertise to these young people. It’s not very different to how I related with music, entertainment or advertising with the Cannes Lions.
And no, until now we’ve never acquired any of them.
- We notice other Portuguese and Spanish-speaking companies seeing potential expansion and growth in South America. Do you have plans for MOP to expand beyond Portugal? If so, where and when? If not, why not?
OOH is a very established business in all major developed markets. Therefore, we reduced the possibilities of expansion to where we could make a difference: Palop countries (Portuguese speaking countries) with whom we have a cultural history.
We made an acquisition in Mozambique that we’ve already sold, and because some of these countries are passing through economic and/or political challenges as we speak (in the cases of Brazil, Angola, and others), we don’t intend to expand in the short term.
- And what are your thoughts/plans about expansion through partnerships, mergers or acquisitions?
Concerning other countries, we’re in an on-hold position right now. Concerning companies that could relate to our business in topics like digital, technology, algorithmic search, etc., we keep an open mind to analyze opportunities.