Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Three sectors that will win big with OOH advertising’s recovery

By Artjom Jekimtsev, CEO & Founder of Adverttu

The days of household stasis are fading fast. As lockdown eases week by week, more and more people are leaving their personal cocoons to embrace the outdoors. High streets are opening up, leisure spaces are welcoming visitors, and reopened workplaces are seeing commuters return to the roads.

This regained mobility equates to more people pounding the pavement, rocking the roads and engaging with out of home (OOH) advertising.

Addressable audiences did soften throughout lockdown, however this temporary trend is in reverse, with audience numbers rising steadily and consistently, and with the next wave of economic action coming in July, it’s a trend that will continue over summer.

This presents a decision to brands. Double down on digital or reengage out of home advertising? Reactivate paused outdoor campaigns or perhaps invest in the medium for the first time?

Kicking down the front door

The best advertising has always blended impressive creative, memorability, relevance and location. The L word is crucial here. Brands should be where customers are. Realistically, where do you expect people are going to be in the coming weeks?

Netflix overindulgence, digital weariness and a lack of outdoor activity have made people eager to venture outside. It is worth noting that OOH advertising didn’t vanish during the pandemic. Plenty of people, and therefore potential customers, were still on the streets as key workers and volunteers kept our country moving.

The sudden pause in advertising activity that occurred was more a case of CMO-induced hibernation as companies protected cash reserves. Now that many brands have passed this immediate fire-fighting stage, many sectors are tapping into OOH with newfound enthusiasm.

Three sectors that stand out in particular are:

  1. FMCG
  2. Takeaway / Fast Food
  3. Media

Feisty FMCG

FMCG companies have always been big believers in OOH’s value, using the medium to boost engagement alongside in-store campaigns, drive new product launches and compete on a national scale.

OOH was, more often than not, a major supporting channel rather than their chief advertising outlet though. Store activation typically drew more spend because of the captive audience, yet shopping has transformed into something far more functional in 2020 and it will be for some time.

With shopper attention focused on one-way-systems, consciously deciding what products to physically touch and the return of the weekly grocery shop versus impulse convenience-based shopping, in-store attention spans are limited at best.   

Yet, despite this, products haven’t dulled in any way and they are still as marketable as ever. The approach simply needs to change.  

One of the most frustrating aspects of new-normal shopping is queuing to enter a store yet this actually presents a positive for FMCG – a conveyor belt of people primed to buy, outdoors in a safer environment, alert and aware of their surroundings.

Brands can capitalise on this situation with high street out of home media, recurrent transit advertising that passes by those queuing again and again, and small-form street furniture at eye level.

FMCG companies could cheekily acknowledge the situation with humorous advertising or simply shout loudly about why their product is better than competitors.  

Talented takeaway and fast food

Look at the demand for McDonalds when drive-ins started reopening. The queues were backed up like Glastonbury’s entryway.

This sector is a no-brainer for OOH. For starters, people are far more likely to take food home after a nice day out than visit their local supermarket for dinner ingredients, though after a long day walking around a lake or a socially distanced picnic with friends, they still need reminding what they could fill their stomachs with.

Brands can play on these hunger pangs on the road or flood a popular outdoor destination with targeted advertising, complete with an attributable promo that enables accurate measurement and stronger return on investment.

Marvellous Media

Media companies like The Economist were already enjoying sustained success with creative out of home campaigns prior to COVID-19 and as the world has changed publishers have played an important role in defining the global narrative.

This responsibility, married with OOH’s ability to astound and entertain, gives publishers ample opportunities to be bold, eye-catching and different. Media outlets have always been fans of their own stomping ground – print publishers promote themselves on paper, digital equivalents gravitate to digital and social media.

There’s the time for a truly blended approach, one tapping into the scale of OOH alongside the intimacy of digital and familiarity of print.

A publisher could recreate their latest issue across HGVs, DOOH, billboards and digital formats or a newspaper could create a roving fleet of branded vehicles that act as direct advertising as well as a contactless payment distribution network for anyone walking past.

It’s this creativity and sheer range of applicability that makes out of home advertising so timeless and why these sectors, amongst many others, have the fortune of using a proven advertising medium already aligned to society’s new normal.