Revealing Digital Life OOH

Geny Caloisi

Over 300 people gathered at the British museum for the ‘Revealing Digital Life Out-Of-Home’ conference organised by IPA Outdoor and the OAA Digital Outdoor Media Group. The event attracted a large number of creative agencies, potential clients and some manufacturers, such as NEC Displays, interested in learning more about this medium that currently represents 12.8 per cent of the total revenue of outdoor advertising.

Mike Baker, Outdoors Advertising Association’s CEO, gave the welcome note and set the stage for a morning of presentations on the best examples of digital outdoor advertising.

Mike Nutley, editor-in-chief of New Media Age, rolled the first ball with a big question: “Who is going to be in charge of the new creative language of DOOH. Will it be creative agencies, DOOH specialists or TV savvies – given that this is a moving image medium?” The answer to this question was a mixture of the two first, but it was definitely not TV.

Mark Rose, business director of Mindshare, highlighted three main advantages of DOOH, which come from the flexibility digital signage offers:

  1. It’s relevant;
  2. It’s offered at the point of sale – it’s in the moment; and
  3. It elevates the smart things that online offers – using interaction and social networking.

There is a lot of creativity online. The use of social media and Twitter is changing the way people relate to their environment and what they do,” Rose said, “and DOOH can learn from it and use it to maximise its impact.”

Widen and Kennedy (W+K) account director Alex Rogers, shared her experience in one of what she called “the most challenging campaign the agency has been involved with,” the Nike World Cup ‘Write the Future’ campaign. This was a reactive exercise in the UK, based on the performance of the English team. Of course, success messages could have been easier to come up with – the English team’s poor performance took the W+K creative copy writers to their limits!!

Planning ahead was key,” said Rogers, “we had pre-agreed images and a template. The brief was to give Nike’s point of view on the games. We wanted to keep it positive and upbeat with headlines such as ‘Now it begins,’ after losing the first game. We were watching the games and changing the digital posters on the spot. It was very exciting!

The agency built its own content management system to allow this immediacy. “This medium is as flexible as the gamble you are prepared to take,” said Rogers.

Most interesting of all, is when you can see the results of a well thought out integrated campaign. The case study presented by Paul Connell, brand manager of Dove ‘Men+care’ at Unilever, prove that the medium can deliver top results.

The company carried out a series of researches to find out what men felt about the way they were represented in the media and what was their relationship with care products. The results showed that a vast majority of men of over 35 do not wear deo. Another thing most of the questioned agreed was that they did not feel represented by the images portrayed in advertising. “The research also showed that men are simple creatures,” admitted Connell. (I could have told them that! GC).

So, how to create a campaign that will provide rapid awareness, brand recognition and an adoption of the product? This was a multi agency effort that included: Ogilvy, Mind Share, Grand Visual, Zoom Media and Kinetic. The tag line used for the campaign was: ‘Be comfortable in your own skin.’

The fun and fast advertising videos, placed in key locations such as pharmacies, gyms and the tube, were also supported by dispensers with free samples of the products. After a mere three month campaign, run from March to June this year, the company says there was a 65 per cent rise on product awareness from its target audience, with over 2 million samples picked up.

John Willshire, chief innovation officer at PHD made some interesting observations about our relationship with the messages we are bombarded with everyday – apparently over 3000 a day. “Big is impressive,” he said, “but what people want is more to do with the daily stuff. DOOH needs to be persuasive; relevant, interactive and flexible on a daily basis.”

Before the final Q&A Jan-Paul Edwards, executive director of Futures, talked about our digital future. “As technology becomes smaller, cheaper and faster, new opportunities open up,” emphasised Edwards. “Bandwidth will soon become ubiquitous and places will become connected and ready to interact with the public and the public with each other.

He introduced the notion of semantic data, where we can create a relationship between where we are and what’s around us and how this influences what we do. Mobile phone applications can be facilitators for this.

We are not trying to be the last broadcast medium here, but the first meaningful medium,” concluded Edwards.

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