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OMAC’s IGNITE Heats Up the Canadian Out-of-Home Market

There’s no question that Canada has a lot of land to work with when it comes to out-of-home media. Many of its cities are victims of urban sprawl and workers undergo an average commute time of 65 minutes (2010,, a period when consumers willingly seek distraction in the form of advertisements and entertainment. It should thus be surprising (even though it is not) that the out-of-home industry still has a lot of room to grow when it comes to promoting its benefits and attracting increased ad dollars and awareness. No wonder there was so much enthusiasm surrounding IGNITE, the Out-of-Home Marketing Association of Canada’s event intended to spark ideas and excitement about OOH while showcasing its possibilities.
OMAC’s last conference took place in 2011 and focused on the research and return on investment side of out-of-home. The head of BrandScience, a marketing and business effectiveness consultancy, spoke about how the ROI of OOH has been increasing compared to other more heavily-financed media, where it has been flat or declining. It was also shown that OOH enhances the ROI of alternative media when included in a media mix. The event attracted over 100 attendees despite taking place the morning of the season’s worst snow storm.
This year, a reported 340 attendees spent their morning chatting to exhibitors and listening to brief, yet powerful presentations made by influential actors in the OOH industry. Several of the companies possessing booths are already mainstays in Canadian OOH, such as Newad, Pattison, and its digital division, Pattison OneStop. Other enterprises, like the Outdoor Advertising Association of America member, OutdoorLink, took the opportunity to extend their understanding of and prominence in the Canadian market.
OMAC’s collection of agency and advisory councils (there are a total of eight across Canada) suggested that IGNITE should demonstrate how marketers are making use of OOH in an environment where it can be difficult to keep up with advances in technology and demand for cross-channel integration – and the event’s host of speakers did just that.
Attendees were given positive anecdotes and advice from the likes of the CN Tower’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Lisa Tompkins, who explained Edge Walk’s augmented reality OOH campaign and Hope Bagozzi, the Director of Creative and Media for McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, who reminded the audience to respect all media and what they were created to achieve. Stacey Knight, JCDecaux UK’s Director of Digital, delivered clever and captivating examples of what JCDecaux UK has achieved through DOOH and Dmitri Melamed, GM and VP of Production at Fourth Wall compared the film, Minority Report, to today’s DOOH capabilities. At the end, he invited the crowd to think about non-invasive and rewarding ways to execute proper “technological handshakes” and emphasized that Canadians are in the infancy stage of incorporating technology into OOH.
“One of the biggest challenges for the OOH industry in Canada is that it represents less than five percent of total advertising dollars,” said Rosanne Caron, President of OMAC. “These types of events are great to champion the industry, provoke people to embrace change and ignite a real passion for the medium and its development.”