51st FEPE Congress 2010, Beirut

Guest Contributor, John Ellery

170 delegates from 29 countries have just returned home from a most excellent 51st FEPE congress. Ziad Baroud, the Minsiter of the Interior and Municipalities of Lebanon opened the Congress, and welcomed all the delegates to Beirut.

John Ellery, FEPE Vice‐President / Executive Director

Watts Wacker, a well knows futurist from the USA provided a key note presentation with a review of how technology has affected us all and what impact this has had on our relationships and the environment. Looking ahead he can see some positive signs for our medium as we develop with digital solutions and how there will be more green elements playing key roles.

Barry Sayer analyzed ‘Is the Billboard dead‘ and concluded that it is very much alive, particularly with Digital and Green awareness growing.

Francois de Gaspe Beaubien from ZOOM Media ‐ Canada gave us an excellent and in depth view of the trends that our competitive media have been experiencing around the World ‐ and concluded that OOH is in a very good position to grow as press and TV audiences decline . OOH is the second fastest growing medium to the Internet.

Lorna Tilbian from Numis Corporation UK provided us with a very thorough insight into the financial trends of the major companies in the Advertising medium. This set the scene for how lessons have been learnt from the previous market downturns.

Rachel Bristow, Unilever, and Stuart Williams, Sony Pictures represented two clients that spend sizable sums of money in OOH. In addition to confirming the value of OOH they pointed out we still have areas in which to improve, increased flexibility being one, and a greater awareness of the need for Green initiatives another.

Some excellent work for Fiat from Maxus MC2 in Italy was described by Massimo de Cesare, and the delegates enjoyed seeing the very creative way that our medium has, and is being used by Fiat.

Annie Rickard from Posterscope treated us to a review of how the medium is developing and how we need to work together, and with other media, to grow OOH. We are now selling audience – not just panels.

Steve Ridley Kinetic‘s new Global CEO encouraged us to view OOH from a fresh, new and different perspective.

Luigi Errico ‐ a specialist in Italy, Fosbury, expressed the need for us to continually strive to improve the quality of displays for our clients. Quantity is not the answer.

We were fortunate to have 3 key local speakers from the MENA countries ‐ Roy Haddad from JWT, Edouard Monin from Ipsos and Eli Khoury ‐ M+C Saatchi shared some very interesting facts and examples regarding OOH in the markets in the Middle East and North Africa region. The medium is establishing itself and is proving a valuable communication channel.

From FEPE ‐ Eric Marotel ‐ CEMUSA shared with us the very interesting history of the Street Furniture contract in New York. Karl Javurek – GEWISTA presented many innovative solutions that the OOH industry is now providing.

I gave a brief overview of developments in the Transport Advertising field, and with Florian Waltz summarized a new project – WIKIOOH – where we hope to provide Industry information for as many markets as possible Worldwide.

Christian Kauter explained how the ‘spoof’ advertiser Ali Kebab became famous in Switzerland, and resulted in proving how effective our medium really is. In a similar vein Antonio Vincenti showed some great work that our hosts – Pikasso had worked on ‐ with ‘Win the Yellow’. Again this initiative generated much interest and awareness in the OOH sector locally.

A neat exhibition area with 6 exhibitors provided a focal point for delegates to gather and network. We thank Ayuda Media Systems, Daktronics, Formetco, Hewlett‐Packard, Open Scrolling and Prismaflex for their involvement and support. Each exhibitor had a 15 minute opportunity within the program to share a new development with the delegates.

The social program was not to be missed and we enjoyed visits to Byblos, and Baalbeck with plenty of history to absorb. Lastly the hospitality we enjoyed in Lebanon was top class ‐ good food ‐ good wine and a very friendly welcome.

Our President ‐ Christian Kauter summed up the 51st Congress by commenting that this has been one of the best FEPE meetings for some long time. We are entering a Golden age for OOH. We need to increase our co‐operation with our clients, promote our medium by selling audience not panels ‐ the importance of digital is growing ‐ now it accounts for 1.5% of sales and is growing. As an Industry we need to produce guidelines for operators and Authorities to indicate what is acceptable and unacceptable.

Christian stated that Spain with be the location for our 2011 Congress , and lastly thanked Lidija and her team, and particularly Antonio and his whole team at Pikasso for providing such a well organized and effective Congress for us all to enjoy.

John Ellery
FEPE Vice‐President / Executive Director

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