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Creative Works Brand Strategy #advertising

Is this the summer of OOH?

By Lucy Cutter, Head of planning

GroupM OOH


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May 7, 2024 | 7 min read

With festivals, sporting events, and plenty of shopping opportunities on the horizon, Lucy Cutter at GroupM OOH says now is the time to remind clients of the power of out-of-home marketing.

Three people sit on the grass at a festival with a big top tent in the background

This summer provides plenty of opportunities for OOH advertising / Aranxa Esteve via Unsplash

This summer looks set to be a big one. From annual favorites such as Wimbledon and Glastonbury to the Olympics in Paris, the Men’s European Football Championships kicking off in Germany, and the Champions League final in London.

With such an action-packed summer ahead, now is the perfect time to remind brands of the vital role out-of-home (OOH) plays in reaching huge numbers of people in the real world – at moments when they’re active, together, and in a good mood.

Life outside of our homes is an integral part of our daily routines. Our nationally representative Alfresco Life UK consumer survey tells us that 82% of individuals value the time they spend out and about, attributing it to uplifting their mood. Meanwhile, 72% of respondents explained they value real-life experiences more than online ones.

This research chimes with recent trends that indicate a collective effort, particularly among younger audiences, to reduce screen time and embrace real-world activities. Millennials, in particular, are increasingly prioritizing their health and wellbeing (77%) and exploring new hobbies (61%).

Whether it's hitting the gym, grabbing drinks with friends, attending cultural events, or simply enjoying a movie night out, people are increasingly opting for real-world engagement that promises entertainment and social bonding. So, it makes sense for brands to integrate themselves into leisure and social environments, tapping into the human desire for connection and enjoyment.

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Bricks and mortar still strong

Despite disposable income remaining tight for some, the appeal of in-store shopping remains strong with 95% of us still shopping in-store at least once a week. With 75% of fashion purchases still made in-store, physical shopping experiences remain important to many, especially among younger demographics who view shopping as a social activity. Brands should actively target these groups within shopping environments to leverage the power of shared social experiences.

For online brands, establishing a visible presence in the real world is crucial for building trust and consideration. When times are tough, OOH’s status as one of the best channels to build trust becomes more important than ever, offering a tangible connection with consumers.

Food shopping also presents a ripe opportunity for brands, with a large portion of the population engaging in weekly in-store visits. The proliferation of digital screens in-store and at the point of purchase opens new avenues for targeted advertising and consumer engagement.

The commute has changed, but the audience is back

Commuting patterns have changed post-pandemic, but over 80% of us are still commuting to our workplace at least three days per week. Even among those working from home, over 90% leave their home at some point during the working day.

According to out-of-home data providers Route, around 50m entries and exits are recorded every week on the London Underground according to TfL and Global, and we saw these numbers rise in 2023.

You might think that most commuting takes place Tuesday to Thursday, but numbers are actually spread fairly evenly across the week, with 17% of all journeys taking place on a Friday.

On railways too, the story is a positive one. In 2023 rail commuters surpassed pre-covid numbers according to JCDecaux’s research Portal to Cities. As a result, OOH in the rail environment saw an increase of 7% in audience impacts in 2023.

So, with life continuing to be lived outside, leisure, social, shopping, and travel environments all have a big role to play for brands in 2024.

However, it’s not just where you see an ad that matters, but who else is seeing it too.

The ubiquity of OOH advertising ensures that brand messages reach large and diverse audiences. This phenomenon, known as cultural imprinting, enhances the impact and memorability of advertising campaigns by embedding them into the fabric of daily life.

In a nutshell, this summer presents a prime opportunity for brands to capitalize on the real-world power of OOH advertising. By embracing the human desire for social connection and experiential engagement, brands can forge meaningful connections with consumers and elevate their brand presence in physical locations.

With strategic deployment across multiple environments and a keen understanding of consumer mood and behavior, brands can leverage the immense potential of real-world interactions to drive growth and foster lasting brand affinity.

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Creative Works Brand Strategy #advertising

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GroupM OOH

GroupM OOH 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...

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