Unfortunately, the news we have to report about the outdoor side of the out-of-home advertising business is not always that positive. Ironically, while the sector – both digital and conventional – is flourishing, especially in comparison with other parts of the ad world, it seems to attract more enmity than its counterparts, from both consumers and governments.
The consumers speaking out against outdoor advertising are, to be sure, a small minority: most people have better things to be getting on with. But the attitude of some authorities to outdoor is more concerning. Take, for example, one of our top news stories this week, where we recount the new policy in Beijing which will prevent the advertising of luxury brands (and that’s shorthand for “western luxury brands”) out-of-home.
There may be a logic behind China’s desire to curb the adoption of western lifestyle values, though it’s probably a futile one. But even so, why single out this medium alone? Perhaps it’s the visibility of outdoor – one source of its strength – that in cases like this, and the long-running U.S. disputes over digital billboards, is also its Achilles’ heel.