Don't confuse personalisation with contextual relevance, agree panellists on digital-out-of-home event

Are you creative enough for DOOH?

With new technologies gaining steady pace with more opportunities for advertisers to reach consumers anywhere, where does that leave digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising?

Following the disappointing lack of DOOH entries at this year’s Outdoor Lions, a conversation commenced at Clear Channel's DOOH event, in association with The Drum, to debate how the industry needs to get better at using DOOH, in the context of data and technology.

Speaking at Cannes Lions, speakers from Clear Channel UK, Grand Visual, Karmarama, and Talon acknowledged the lack of presence but spoke about driving more creativity through providing contextual relevance to the consumer.

“This emphasis on personalisation does bother me a bit. I'm not saying that we should not be using precision to target consumers but stumbling across new stuff which is interesting is really important in terms of how people learn about brands,” said Talon’s CSO, Andy Tilly. “When I use Spotify, I find bands that I've never heard of before and that's really important. It's finding the balance between the two elements.”

When it comes to DOOH advertising experiences, Hannah Matthews, managing partner at Karmarama says agencies should be thinking about the “human element” when it comes to personalising experiences.

She explained: “Even with hyper-targeted contextualisation and personalised communication, you still want that empathy and engagement. It should not just be one part of the mix.”

You have to marry the two, added Louise Stubbings, creative director at Clear Channel UK. “DOOH is an emotional buy. If you hyper localise the advertising to people in a small location and then creatively scale it out – it can be really impactful.”

A big challenge in the industry is creating authentic relationships with consumers and not spamming them with irrelevant content. But most advertisers get caught up on the personalisation bandwagon when it should more accurately be described as spamming.

For Neil Morris, CEO at Grand Visual, the misguided language used is a big problem. “Is it personalisation? No, it’s not because it’s targeting one person. Are we trying to be contextual and deliver deeper communication? Yes. It’s not a rush to implement personalisation – there’s still work to be done in terms of understanding how DOOH works in a digital integrated campaign.”