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Bridging the Gaps – A Deeper Look into the 54th Annual FEPE Congress


WallDecaux’s “hello ooh” ad

There is a lot to do and see when passing time in Berlin. Attractions such as the Reichstag building, Brandenburg Gate and of course, the Berlin Wall, beckon visitors from across the world. Case in point, President Obama made a speech the first day of the FEPE Congress right outside the Hotel Adlon and several lucky organizers of the event dined alongside celebrities at a restaurant nearby. Amidst all of the historic buildings and star spotting, however, it was still difficult to miss the ads by WallDecaux situated across the city that welcomed delegates to the FEPE event. The message was a clear and simple “hello ooh”, and it was an underlying note over the duration of the conference. Hello Berlin. Hello OOH. Hello future!

How, when and where we are consuming media has changed before our eyes. William Eccleshare, CEO at Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, made a simple yet true statement about the magic of OOH in that it reaches an audience receptive to messaging, unlike viewers of TV or readers of a magazine that do not wish to be interrupted. As agencies continue to understand this reality, there has also been a change in media planning, moving from a linear model to one that is connected and dynamic.

Dynamic features can be looked at in several ways. Digital out-of-home is a segment of the OOH space that is now a norm. It was referred to in every presentation and according to the April 2013 IHS Screen Digest, is the fastest growing media, having increased by 281% between 2007 and 2012. To put that into perspective, online growth was 69% during this time frame. Such an increase should not be seen as mutually exclusive. Instead of DOOH growth being a hindrance to that of online and vice versa, the two media should instead complement each other so that when executed properly, a campaign using both will see positive results on each end.

While the decreasing price in technology (a phenomenon that speaker Magnus Lindkvist fittingly dubbed “IKEAfication”) has enabled DOOH to flourish, it has also made mobile phones one of the most important factors of an integrated campaign. Bridging mobile with OOH and other traditional media will be the key to the success of all. As cross media exposure increases mobile use, smart phones are being viewed as the prime way to convert one-to-many forms of media into one-to-one.
Mobile is an amplifier, allowing consumers to share OOH content with their social networks, interact with and contribute to this content and satisfy an advertiser’s ultimate objective – making a purchase. CBS Outdoor’s “Interactive Europe” study saw that 77% of people reported doing something after viewing OOH and 24% made a purchase as a result. With 75% of urban audiences having a smart device (up from 56% last year), the search for a prompt to facilitate the mobile-OOH connection is greater than ever. QR codes are not doing the trick and while NFC (Near Field Communication) is more convenient, many consumers are unaware that their phone offers this feature.

SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) amplification with (D)OOH offers tremendous potential to an industry that commands only 6% of media investment, but there are issues that need to be resolved prior to seeing an increase in spending that will justify time spent with OOH and its value to advertisers and consumers. The mobile gap will take time to resolve in a way that can be agreed upon by OOH providers and makes sense to consumers. There is also the shared problem of OOH regulation which was discussed by Dominic Lyle of EACA, Rosanne Caron of OMAC and Ron Graham of Media on the Go. Outdoor companies are negotiating directly with the government to address the problem and are inclined to remove their signs when efforts are unsuccessful. To prevent this gesture of defeat, national OOH associations must unite to better represent their members’ interests.

Finally, the Festival of Global Media 2013 reported that 75% of advertisers agree that agencies are not set up properly to deliver a truly integrated marketing plan. This is of utmost concern to all players in broadcast media, given that integration is the key to mutual growth and success. Just like a few mobile companies in the UK allied to form WEVE, a force strong enough to tackle the mobile industry’s greatest issues, so too do concerned parties in the OOH realm. If suppliers, integrators, distributors and creators cannot look beyond their own interests, bridges will not be built, and bridges are necessary, for Berlin has more than even Venice.

Berliner Dom

Part I of the 54th Annual FEPE Congress review can be found here.