Pulse Creative exec talks candidly on how great advertising content can be found outside the mobile screen

Robin Garton talks candidly on how great advertising content can be found outside the mobile screen

Pulse Creative's, executive creative director, Robin Garton has outlined that by informing, entertaining and giving the audience quick, effective pieces of content, in the form of posters, it could lift the rose-tinted glasses where people see online as content's only source.

Before taking on the role as a judge for The Drum Creative Out Of Home Awards, Garton talks ardently about content and advertising merging, how OOH posters are a “simplistic expression of an advertising idea” and how print OOH isn't the ‘dying medium’ it is perceived to be.

What is innovating OOH this year?

We have started to treat OOH as more of a content piece of media. Content and advertising are increasingly merging, but a lot of content led work tends to be online as that's where people believe it lives. But, there’s always been the option of using traditional media to provide entertaining content.

If you look at TV advertising there was a time when ads felt more like entertainment, and over time we have let TV ads get worse and become more of a hard sell - turning the ad break into what is now a nightmare that people try to escape.

Using posters to inform, entertain and provide people with short, sharps bits of content is where we’ve been heading for our clients. As an industry, we shouldn't see the web as the only place where content lives.

What do you think are the key OOH trends?

The crucial thing with OOH, and the reason that I love posters, is that they have always had to be the purest expression of an advertising idea. If something works in a poster, the likelihood is that it will work anywhere.

The key to good poster advertising is simplicity and landing an idea quickly as possible. That has always been the case, and remains true for digital OOH. Digital posters are often used to carry too much information. I think people got excited by what they could do. We are now heading back to what we should do.

What is the current mood in the OOH industry?

The industry is increasingly thinking digital (and video) first and that's where marketers are spending their money. Because posters are seen as a print medium, they are suffering to some extent. It's easy to lump them into the ‘print category’ but posters are the biggest screens you can advertise on. If you see them as a screen (while keeping the messaging simple) rather than a poster, then the opportunities are endless.

What is the best OOH work that you have seen?

The poster work that always comes to mind when I think about great posters is the iconic White out of Red Economist campaign.

One in particular that springs to mind is, "I never read The Economist. Management trainee age 42." That was really just a lovely, simple piece of writing.

The BA poster at Piccadilly with the boy pointing at planes as they flew past was DOOH used brilliantly.

Can traditional OOH work side-by-side with digital?

Just because you have a digital screen, it doesn't mean you have to go and turn a poster into a movie. In fact you probably shouldn’t. What it does mean, is that you can be immediate. You can change your message by the second. The message doesn't have to be in the form of a swanky video or be so complicated that you have to watch 10 seconds of it to get it.

You can be completely traditional in that you can have one word or one image on the screen at a time but DOOH allows you not to have just that one word there for 12 days straight. There is always the option to use digital in a traditional way but to move more quickly between messages.

Do you think that location tracking is changing OOH?

Yes. The key to more effective advertising is to make it relevant to the consumer. We are hit by more and more messages the whole time, and the thing that people respond to most is relevance. And location tracking is key to this. It puts OOH closer to what is being achieved with advertising on the web.

As a judge for The Drum Creative Out Of Home Awards, what do you want to see from the entries this year?

I'd like to see simplicity of thought and beautifully expressed advertising ideas. That is what posters are about.

I think that too many of the awards ceremonies, at the moment, are awarding peculiar briefs, or unusual products/challenges, rather than great innovative, creative thinking. As UK creatives, we all face the same challenges of how you make a car, a beer, an airline, a supermarket etc stand out from all the rest. We all struggle with those briefs on a daily basis.

What I want to see is people who have suddenly done that differently, taken one of those briefs that we have all looked at (and struggled to find a new direction on) and done it in a new and unique way. And made me feel like I wished I had done that.

What advice would you give to this year's entrants?

I will be looking at how the poster itself communicates. If the explanation that comes with the entry is what makes the poster work then I don’t think that's enough. It's got to stand there by itself and communicate.

I know people have to do long entry forms but really what it comes down to is what's there in front of us. You’ve done the hard work in writing the poster, you don’t need to sweat the entry.

How important are these awards to the industry?

Posters are a crucial medium to the industry because they require simplicity and a clarity of thought that no other medium can rival. They are a really good creative discipline. So OOH awards will always be respected. The Drum is becoming increasing influential within the industry - I think these awards will continue to grow in stature.

Garton is a judge for the upcoming Creative Out Of Home Awards. OOH continues to be one of the most effective forms of advertising, which continues to deliver impressive results for brands and agencies.

The deadline has passed but extensions are available. To arrange yours, please contact Emma Mercer at emma.mercer@thedrum.com.

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