How programmatic is changing the out of home sector

Programmatic has disenfranchised creative out of home / Tobias Moore via Unsplash

Out of home (OOH) is an important part of the marketing mix. As a highly visual medium, it offers instant stand-out and kudos for brands but is being disrupted by programmatic and digital out of home (DOOH).

DOOH has allowed for significant growth; Kubient, a full-stack digital audience marketing platform, claims to be introducing the first real-time bidding solution for digital out-of-home advertising sites.

The Drum Out of Home Awards 2019, the jury came together to discuss the current status of programmatic out of home.

A cautious route

Sophie Pemberton, group strategy director, Talon Outdoor said OOH has been cautious about what has been working online.

“It's a completely different channel. It works in a very different way. The audience consumes it in a very different way, and we shouldn't just adopt something that works online because we've adopted the main all word programmatic.”

Talon is actively testing programmatic solutions in that space and looking at what works and what doesn't. She added: “We need to figure out whether it works for clients and agencies before just jumping in.”

Digital programmatic has disenfranchised creatives, claims Dino Burbidge, an innovation coach, Sky, who is impressed with location targeting in OOH. “It can be very direct and it sits in the heart of the community. If you then start going down the same route as online did, you tend to start having generic adverts that move away from smart local thinking. It's a bit of a warning.

“I've seen how creatives say they don't care, just give it to the graphic designer. I want to work on something more interesting stuff over here because programmatic has basically just killed my input into making smart stuff.”

Programmatic education and opportunities

Jurors including Burbidge and Ross Neil, deputy executive creative director, VCCP propose that programmatic is a creative handcuff which requires training to handle.

From a client perspective Stacy Gratz, global media director at Bacardi, says you can get creative with data signals: "It's one of the more creative media outlets that we have. Data opens up the possibilities with creativity.”

Burbidge says creative aren't necessarily trained around data use. “They want a beautifully crafted campaign that really hits home. If you start [programmatic] training, it's then the digital creative side that sees the benefit.”

Curtis Weir, OOH group director, Publicis Media adds that these innovations are new ways of creating value for customers, audiences and clients. “We're doing things we couldn't five years ago. Programmatic sits low in the value chain."

Burbidge says: “We need new solutions to allow us to continue that delivery of creative and contextual moments. When we're looking at various ways of being able to dynamically deliver a creative that is relevant to that time and location alongside this type of trading. Because if you trade with complete blindness, in terms of creativeness that's not going to be a great idea for many cases.”

Retrofitting OOH

Many agencies repurpose press ads for OOH. Pemberton still sees it as a channel that is predominantly offline and static, even though screens are getting more technologically advanced.

Michelle Langelaan, marketing director, VIOOH expressed that programmatic technology is attracting new budget OOH: “It's never going to be like the other channels where 90% of it is traded programmatic. But that's what's actually really exciting about it. You're still going to have those amazing creative campaigns.

“It's one of those few industries that has exciting changes ahead."

Jason Fletcher, executive creative director, McCann Worldgroup concludes that OOH still one of the purest creative mediums where you might have two seconds to grab some attention and get people to think.

“Let's make sure we're doing that type of creative work, that we’re [media owners, creatives, media buyers, clients and OOH owners] working together to understand the data and the media placements. Let's not feed the ecosystems that are leading to a lot of bland work at the moment.”

The Drum Out of Home Awards 2019 took place on November 21. A full list of the winners can be found here. Register now for 2020.

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