Ebony + Ivory’s latest industry session saw representatives from JCDecaux Africa discussing innovation, dynamic digital and accountability trends within OOH.
“There’s so much already that OOH players can assist clients with in terms of data that can support strategic and quantifiable outdoor recommendations, based on demographics, psychographics and points of interest,” Lelanie Butler, head of sales: digital and innovation, for JCDecaux Africa, emphasised.
“Now the beauty is that out of home is measurable. We were always like, as I say, the poor donkey in media, where we couldn’t actually measure it. Not anymore.”
Where imagination meets technology
Advances in tech have allowed the OOH industry to reach a point where players are only limited by a client’s imagination. Now it can be described as, “where imagination meets technology”, says Butler.
An amazing case study was shown of a takeover of Waterloo Station in London, England to promote the new Jurassic World movie.
“We need to start thinking just a little differently about how to take the same money you would have spent on everything you usually do, in a little bit of a different way to get a different reaction,” Butler believes.
However, a takeover like the one at Waterloo Station doesn’t come cheap. While OOH players can work with different size budgets, ultimately you get what you pay for.
“The Waterloo takeover; they actually had a year in advance to work on the takeover,” says Butler. “We in South Africa hardly ever get the luxury of time and planning from client side, but their cost was also one million pounds. So to do a takeover like that in South Africa, you’re probably looking at a R3 million to R5 million budget.”
Incorporating more CSI solutions
Another trend that Butler is seeing in OOH advertising is that private sector clients are looking for more and more ways to connect with communities and how they can link their brand to a community problem with a solution.
Nuno dos Santos, creative head of JCDecaux Africa, then took attendees through some campaigns incorporating digital interactions, which surprise and delight people. This includes augmented reality, virtual reality, live video feeds, data feeds, and mobile interactions.
Marcellus van der Merwe, JCDecaux Africa’s digital manager then stepped up to dive deeper into digital capabilities with OOH advertising.
“Traditionally, people just give us regular campaigns, they give us a piece of creative which we pop on a screen and it runs for two or three months. It would run and achieve a certain goal, which is great and there’s still definitely scope and a market for that. But we want to move to dynamic campaigns,” he says.
And he adds: “This means using different elements to trigger different creative, because ultimately you want to speak the right message to the right person at the right time. There’s no point telling someone about an ice-cream when it’s five degrees. There’s also no point in telling someone about coffee when it’s 35 degrees.”
Weather conditions are one element that can be used, while another is manual updating, where clients are given access to manually change the text on a board, keeping it up to date and relevant.
Social media integration is also becoming more common, though the caveat to this is that anything that gets posted is first vetted by the client and then by the OOH owner. Data driven ads, for example live sports updates, are another option.
Working in unison
Van der Merwe’s key takeaway message is, “All the media types out there can no longer just work in their own silos. They’ve got to all work together… It’s a great way of tying the messaging all together and completing the circle of media”.
He and Butler also stress that understanding a client’s objectives for their campaign and the budget they are working with is crucial from the very beginning. This leads to the creation of an optimised, yet within-budget, campaign. The tech must also be adapted to make it more familiar and applicable to the local client’s brand and its story.
“Most of the clients are testing the waters with innovation, so we are not being slapped with the biggest budgets, but we have made a lot work in small- to medium-sized budgets,” says Butler.
Restrictions and regulations
While clients and agencies can pitch any out of this world idea for an OOH campaign, there are still some limitations, mainly due to regulations from owners of spaces, e.g. malls, airports, transport terminals etc.
For example, JCDecaux’s recent Survivor billboard, being a roadside event, needed event approval, and sign off from JMPD and the City of Johannesburg.