OH! Awards: The Economist magazine, in late April, stated emphatically that out of home advertising used to be the dull end of the industry. This is no more. The reason behind the change is simple – the digital age, writes chairman judge Reinher Behrens.
The article says: “The falling price and improving quality of flatscreen displays means that static posters printed on paper are being replaced by snazzy digital commercials with moving pictures, sound and sometimes interactive features. As some advertising media, especially newspapers, see their audiences fade, streets, airports and other public spaces are becoming crowded with more potential viewers than ever, as people continue to move to cities and travel more.”
So the shift to digital means that a worldwide trend is emerging– there is greater out of home advertising spend. The figure sits at $26.4 billion – an increase of 8,3% – in out of home spend in 2011 alone.
This brings me to say that South Africa can take advantage of the exciting and evolving out of home advertising medium. There is much untapped opportunity in the sector, particularly in encouraging greater participation from clients, agencies and media owners. Yet, the out of home advertising industry in this country faces numerous challenges, and to achieve unique, original and superbly creative ads seen elsewhere in the world, we need to step up a gear.
The OH! Awards is a perfect platform for the out of home sector to encourage as well as showcase the best and world-class creative talent.
It is advisable that we build a stronger relationship with advertisers to encourage entry into award categories at next year’s OH! Awards event. We could hold workshops, glean inspiration from the Cannes Festival outdoor media winners and then showcase great outdoor ads on the OHMSA website.
I envision media agencies building up strong portfolios of work, which in turn feeds the desire for creative agencies to step up their game.
Next year, we ask that proper, high-res, professional pictures be submitted. Try and make the creative as close to leveraging the potential of the medium as possible. For instance, when submitting work in the airport media category, ensure it closely relates to travel, departures, arrivals and movement.
The Economist article points out the future of out of home advertising is rosy and holds much potential in truly engaging consumers and taking the media industry to a new and exciting level. Let’s all be part of this by ensuring that we support worthy initiatives such as the OH! Awards.
Reinher Behrens, Group Chief Executive, McCann WorldGroup.