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02 Mar 2011

Can DOOH increase brands’ budget spend?

This is an area that is currently being debated by media owners across the globe. Can we get that little bit of extra budget due to the medium being digital outdoor?

Certainly many agencies are currently feeling in a predicament over 2011 budgets. The media agencies are suffering due to the climate. Many of the top brands are reviewing their media buying accounts and agencies.

The brands have made their feelings clear to the agencies: "You have a significant reduction in budget, but we want twice the results of last year." Of course that is a slight exaggeration, yet I am certain that many UK and Euro agencies will tell me that I am not a million miles away from the truth.

This has bred a fear into agencies that has never been seen before. Well, not at this level anyway. The fear is born out of the horror of making a mistake with the client’s budget by introducing an innovative DOOH strategy. If they get this wrong not only do they have an unhappy client on their hands, but also they  run the risk of losing their job!

Trust me: this is happening in the majority of the larger agencies. They stick to their more traditional media buys because it is the safest option, not because it is the best option in accordance with strategies for their client. Let's be honest, no one has ever been sacked for buying TV, radio or press!

This is not only dangerous but it is also the way not to think. Agencies are drawn into economy as a result of the client pressure, "get it right or else". DOOH media owners then bombard them with audience-measurement data and dissection matrices, and in addition they are constantly reading how DOOH is growing in terms of spend and results. So what do they do? Run the risk of a job loss or play it safe with more traditional media?

Let's look at things slightly differently. How about we consider using the same multipliers and accelerators that took us into this get us out of this recession. They work both ways, up and down. We just need to know how to ride them with more intelligent media choices. The media sector must play its role to get this sector out of the grey area it is in.

I am fed up with people telling me that we are now seeing bluer skies; that is utter garbage. Things are no better now than they were last year. This will take at least another couple of years before we start to breathe again and even when we do we will never do business again the way we did before, never!

Thankfully for us has doubled turnover and doubled profit in its last financial year, but this was not without a serious strategy implementation, which fortunately paid off for us. That said, I am aware of other companies that were not so lucky, and they are finding it extremely difficult to stay afloat.

In order to get things moving we must embrace DOOH and demonstrate to the brands and to the agencies that it is worthy of the additional spend. We must demonstrate transparency with audience-measurement figures, not settling for the last digital-screen-versus-poster results. On the contrary, we need to push forward with innovation and interactive campaigns, which are influencing the way customers buy. This is all possible if people start doing this now. Why put it off?

We are seeing bespoke campaigns utilising screens that are extremely innovative, incorporating augmented reality, touchscreens, audio and QR codes. These are the exact tools that I am referring to.

A prime example of a company executing this mentality is JCDecaux, as demonstrated in the Gateshead MetroCentre.

Here's what the agency Ogilvy & Mather has to say about its campaign for the Ford C Max:

The campaign allows people to handle and explore miniaturised 3D ‘virtual’ models of the cars on-screen and in the palm of their hand.

The campaign, created by Ogilvy & Mather in London and digital production company Grand Visual, allows users to interact with the car simply by holding their hands up to the screen.

Virtual buttons allow the user to choose the colour of the car, open doors, fold the seats flat, turn the car 360 degrees and select demos of the car’s key features such as Active Park Assist.

Not only can this drive incremental sales, it also identifies a clear media-savvy public.

Mark Simpson at Ford said: “Using live interactive outdoor campaigns is a great way to really engage with the audience in a way that is not possible with static posters. This has enabled us to create a targeted and tactical campaign that is relevant and fun to use.” The Ford campaign was planned and booked by Mindshare and Kinetic. A very positive all-round success!

This is the level of intelligence that we all need to adopt in the DOOH sector. We must demonstrate to the brands that it is a calculated reduced risk to invest in this level of DOOH campaign activity. If you communicate the ROI effectively, you will quickly identify that the brands are prepared to spend more for this level of interactive campaign strategies.

Whether we like it or not, and I certainly do, the DOOH sector is moving forward with intelligent executions such as this one. For those who are afraid, my advice is to leave the sector. That is like trying to stop VHS evolving into the CD/DVD, it is going to happen with or without us...

Last modified on Thursday, 31 March 2011 19:07
Scott Anthony

Scott Anthony

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