By Thomas Hobbs | Journalist

November 30, 2022 | 6 min read

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Leaders from Waze, Yahoo, BCN Visuals and Publicis Media explore the next frontier of OOH media innovation and the data underpinning it during The Drum’s Media Summit.

Creating OOH advertising that isn’t contextual won’t be impactful

Creating OOH advertising that isn’t contextual won’t be impactful

By enhancing the user journey – rather than distracting from it – brands have an opportunity to unlock the real potential of out-of-home (OOH). For OOH campaigns to succeed, they must foster trust with consumers and add to the experience in a contextually relevant way.

Speaking at The Drum’s Media Summit 2022 on a panel looking into the future of OOH, Waze’s UK country manager Ru Roberts said that brands who create OOH campaigns that cause distractions to someone’s journey, rather than actively enhancing it, are at risk of causing more damage than good.

“When someone is using a sat nav in their car, they want to get to their location with the least amount of stress,” he explained. “So, if you are putting brand advertising within that experience it must be natural and create more solutions than problems. The moment you create distrust with a misleading or annoying OOH advert, it’s basically game over.”

Whether it’s an impactful billboard on the side of a motorway or seeing an experiential brand activation within a sat nav, the car is among one of the most “intimate” settings to take in advertising, said Roberts. Therefore, brands must be delicate in their approach.

“The car is such an intimate space, because you’re not just fleetingly seeing an ad,” he continued. “A brand has the opportunity to spend minutes if not hours with people during their car journey, so the opportunities to make an impact emotionally are plentiful. That’s a rare thing. You cannot be too forceful in such an intimate setting. You need the right approach.”

Changing perceptions of OOH

One of the biggest issues around OOH as a channel can be convincing brands and marketers that it has the same measurement opportunities as conventional digital platforms, according to Stephanie Gutnik, global head of DOOH at Yahoo. She tellingly revealed: “A lot of brands still look at out-of-home like it’s hundreds of years old and outdated!

“As an industry, it is up to us to really educate advertisers and agencies about what can now be done with out-of-home. From a technological perspective, there’s a lot of data that can now be applied for audience indexing and measurement, so we need to change the perception that we’re old school as a channel.”

One of the best ways of doing this is by showing how OOH can cross over with social media platforms, according to Lina Maggi, head of OOH at BCN Visuals. “We recently did an out-of-home campaign for an auto brand that got 15 million views on TikTok,” she explained.

“You have to remember that out-of-home is one of those few advertising mediums where people will see it, photograph it, record it, and then want to share it with their friends.

“This means that even if you only have a space booked for four weeks, there is a whole life outside of the digital out-of-home campaign, where you can keep the storytelling alive. It’s important to look at things under that type of lens.”

Marketers as the architects of OOH

Curtis Weir, OOH group director at Publicis Media UK, advised OOH marketers to look at themselves more as “architects”. “It needs a lot of architecting, it needs a lot of thinking about discipline. That's where the challenge really comes from it,” he explained.

“By advertising around Europe's biggest landmark, it's not necessarily going to drive immediate sales up, but it will maybe drive a lot of media and on brand perception. You have to architect things and design your media experiences within the environment to really succeed in out-of-home.”

Having the last word on the panel, Waze’ Roberts advised marketers not just to take on the mentality of architects but to be totally aware of context. He concluded: “Whether it's a static out-of-home experience or a digital on the move experience, we have a good understanding about what the audience cares about and what they are doing in that moment, right?

“That means context is key. If you’re creating OOH advertising that isn’t contextual then it won’t be impactful.”

Watch the full video above for more key insights, and check out all the content from The Drum’s Media Summit festival here.

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