Out-of-home is the perfect platform for brands to show courage in 2023
For The Drum’s Deep Dive into out-of-home (OOH), Ali MacCallum of outdoor advertising specialists Kinetic makes a case for the medium as the perfect home for brands making a stand in tough times.
Is out-of-home a natural home for brave brands? / Towfiqu barbhuiya via Unsplash
Whatever the economic outlook, the role of advertising doesn’t change.
While there are thousands of columns and academic papers about the merits of brand building v sales activation, at its simplest level, good advertising works by creating a preference that builds share of wallet.
When wallets are stretched, advertising must work harder to communicate why a brand is worth every penny. We don’t need a crystal ball to tell us that next year will be challenging for both advertisers and the public.
Out-of-home (OOH) has already weathered two years of Covid-related restrictions. It survived not because of luck, but thanks to over a decade of investment in digital screens and the technology that delivers advertising to them, giving OOH the resilience and capability to continue to reach audiences during lockdown – and emerge stronger.
As we look ahead to 2023, this ongoing investment, coupled with OOH’s traditional strengths, gives us reasons to be optimistic for a year of growth.
OOH has always delivered reach. In fact, national campaigns deliver more inclusive reach than any other channel. Inflation in TV advertising, matched with declining audiences, make OOH a natural choice for brands looking to reach mass audiences.
Of course, there is more to advertising than mass reach. It is OOH’s ability to deliver mass-personalization, at scale, that will deliver more value than ever to advertisers in 2023.
Context at scale
Consumers expect messages to be more tailored and relevant. OOH can achieve that by delivering cost-effective reach in a sophisticated and targeted way. Investment in dynamic digital means that the medium offers the ability to combine context and location to activate shorter-term messaging, flexing to adapt to changes in mood and mindset.
OOH has the flexibility to recognize that audiences aren't mutually exclusive, and they change throughout the day, week, month and year. In 2023, we want the OOH industry to reinvent community beyond location. There’s a huge opportunity to build on the advances we have already made in targeted reach.
The last few years have been tough. Covid and lockdowns have meant some people are struggling to connect with society, with minority groups finding it more difficult than the mainstream to find a sense of belonging. According to Mindshare, around half of the LGBTQIA+ community feel their worlds have shrunk so much that they do not know what to do with themselves (54%) and they feel they have lost touch with who they once were (47%).
OOH is the most inclusive advertising channel. It exists to provide public utility first, and advertising second. By its nature, it’s for everyone. The opportunity is there for OOH to engage diverse audiences in a way that no other channel can. According to WPP’s Consumer Equality Equation report, if brands get just 1% of people from minority ethnic groups to change their spending habits, this equates to over £2bn ($2.45bn) short-term growth opportunity in 2023.
A matter of trust
In a climate of economic uncertainty, and where fake news and dubious claims by some brands circulate on the internet, OOH is a medium the public trust.
Big, bold advertising gives consumers the confidence that the brands they invest in today will be here tomorrow and are worth spending their money on. OOH has no editorial, it offers a public declaration and enables brands to provide transparent messaging and reassurance. Digital screens powered by investment in programmatic provide the agility to react to real-time events.
It's no accident that OOH is used so widely for government communications. When social media companies look to build trust in their platforms, they turn to out of home.
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While technology has made OOH resilient, we must not forget the sheer creative power of the medium. At its best, creative OOH has always been a combination of the latest and best techniques and applications from the art, science and innovation communities, nicely combined to accommodate any creative request of context.
Done well, creative executions on a small number of OOH sites have generated huge volumes of earned media and broken into mainstream news, demonstrating how combining and layering creative techniques can produce impressive results.
Last year, Marmite’s special build campaign for its limited-edition Chilli Dynamite generated 194 million impressions and £650,000 ($795,000) in earned media, delivering sales five times higher than previous limited-edition releases.
Let’s be bold, and let’s be confident. The next twelve months will be challenging. Brands need to show courage to continue to reach their audiences and seize growth opportunities. OOH offers the perfect platform.
For more on OOH's past present and future, check out our Deep Dive hub.
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Kinetic Worldwide is the world’s largest planner and buyer of Out of Home media and the global leader in understanding how brands can connect with people’s lifestyles and the environments they engage with.Find out more