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14/10/2019 - Views

Channelling your brand Out of Home

The OOH industry has taken strong and simple messaging into its upfronts showing an industry in great health and in tune with a clear message for clients around long term branding working in unison with short term activation.

Clear Channel and JCDecaux took very different approaches in their recent upfronts, but the conclusions we can draw are very aligned. Out of Home is in a strong place; growing, evolving and bringing a simple and highly relevant message to brands seeking success.

JCDecaux’s event launched new Brand Gap research that posed some important questions for branding and advertising and the relentless rise of digital media. 

The study highlights the gap between what we know as media practitioners and what we do. Digital channels are used and recognised for activation; but too many brands are using them for brand building. The result is a characterised by the latest BrandZ study that shows a decline in brand value among the UK’s top 75 brands. A “collapse in effectiveness” was cited. Something that is unique to the UK market.

The gap itself has become too big to ignore, but the voices for change are getting louder. Around half of advertisers surveyed are trialling new channels that can do both brand building and sales response. Another 30% are beginning to move money (back) into brand building.

The research – which launched a charter for change: longer term views, better measurement and boardroom accountability – also revealed key factors now determining the success of brands. Measured consideration is the “golden metric” that can help close the brand gap along with a creative approach rooted in attention.

Lumen Research’s eye tracking observations sat well alongside the findings. 82% of viewable digital display advertising is not seen (a £30 billion global ad investment), but OOH can prime consumers already exposed online, achieving 50% more attention.

Facebook picked up this theme showcasing research which highlighted the value of integrating messages across media channels and that OOH was the best fit for social media campaigns. You can read more about this here, but combining effectiveness and audience efficiency is becoming more important – particularly for brands using online.

JCD’s focus is on a two-screen future, with digital OOH developing aggressively (a 70% + growth in impacts over two years that is also seeing more effectiveness and smarter contextual messaging). The industry is well placed to adapt; full motion, creative synergies are testament to the ability for brands seeking the combination of brand and activation strategies, as Talon’s own cross-industry 4th Space research into social proved last year.

Clear Channel picked up on the digital theme at their own upfronts event last week. Their own 2020 expansion was positioned in the context of wider OOH growth and their ambitious build - of three screens per day - will deliver a 325-strong D48 Billboard Live network.

Clear Channel also showcased their Platform for Good sustainable community initiatives, showing a braver, self-confident side of OOH that is very fitting for today’s brands.

Billboard Live incorporates the introduction of vertical meadows, installed directly to every newly built large-format screen, each containing hundreds of plants, enhancing bio-diversity within its community, reducing air-pollution and aesthetically improving its surroundings.

Continued Adshel Live rollout to 3000 screens will support its newly designed, environmentally-conscious bus shelters, including a living roof, solar power, recycled materials and low-energy lighting.

This certainly presents the right environment for brands, something the keynote speaker at the JCDecaux event from the Ehrenburg Bass institute brought back into focus.

Her evidence-led thesis concluded that brands only grow by expanding the size of their customer base. To acquire customers, they need to drive both mental and physical availability by projecting their distinctive assets.

This is best delivered as part of an integrated media channel “meal”, rather than a merely a menu where you select channels individually.

OOH’s digital growth – a channel very much “on the up” according to the Brand Gap – means OOH offers a strong blueprint to help brands really harness the social and digital marketplace. This has become a consistent message that the industry is behind and well placed to deliver.