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Jason Cotterrell spoke with 12Ahead about the evolution of DOOH

In your opinion, how far has out of home advertising come over the last 10 years?

“From paper and paste to data and digital, Out-Of-Home (OOH) advertising has come a long way in the last ten years. It has gone through many incarnations, from posters using lithography and roadside paper billboards, to bus wraps and digital screens.

Exterion Media launched its first Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) screens back in 2001, and since then advances in both digital displays and back-end technology have enabled brands to tell dynamic stories better than ever before. More recently, brands have taken advantage of the growth in social media to drive brand interaction with consumers. Coca-Cola, for example, is running an OOH digital push for its #ChooseHappiness campaign using Twitter to display mentions of the hashtag. The campaign is running across 300 digital sites in London, including on the London Underground for the rest of the year.

Supported by data and greater connectivity, digital is driving OOH growth worldwide, and the UK continues to lead the way with campaigns using innovative technologies that were unthinkable, even five years ago.”

How is out of home advertising being driven by the growth of digital?

“Mobile data is one of the OOH industry’s biggest game-changers. Without the true realisation of mobile in the Outdoor space, the OOH industry will always remain partially static. OOH and mobile must therefore work as complementary mediums, helping connect consumers to brands wherever they are.

At only eight years old, the iPhone has grown to become an essential for many consumers. Smartphones have become the bridge between a range of physical assets and online, via technologies like QR codes, NFC and beacons. In line with this trend, we partnered with Proxama and Transport for London to integrate Bluetooth low energy beacons to over 500 buses across London, capable of delivering discounts from local retailers to passenger smartphones as they travelled through the city. Consumers are now able to connect with local brands and receive information directly on the latest deals and products, all thanks to beacon technology.

Increasing amounts of data, combined with new technology, means that OOH is innovating rapidly. We can now provide truly bespoke experiences for consumers through the use of unique and interactive creatives, and in turn create memorable, personalised experiences.”

There’s been quite a bit of talk about engagement, particularly when it comes to the Millennials. How is out of home advertising going to new lengths to engage with Millennials?

“The Millennials are bringing with them a change in the way media is traditionally consumed. Facebook’s survey on consumer behaviour is testament to this, revealing fast-scrolling millennials consume ads 2.5 times faster than the Boomers. Brands need to invest in visuals that will capture a market which refuses to be attentive.

Earlier this year Battersea Cats & Dogs Home launched #LookingForYou, a campaign which interacted with audiences in an outdoor environment. In order to get the attention of passers-by, the visuals needed to be striking. Using Digital Out-of-Home, the creative of a dog was programmed to follow passers-by who had a leaflet handed to them containing a special RFID tag. The leaflet activated Barley - a former Battersea dog, on the digital screens throughout Westfield Stratford City and followed them from screen to screen. This is a great example of how DOOH campaigns offer the ability to attract attention by using a series of interactive images and videos.

Millennials are the consumers of tomorrow, and marketers will need to adjust their strategies to suit the preferences of this generation. The future of OOH will be driven by focusing on the consumer experience, not on the screen. Our team knows you have to start with the man on the street, in the tube or on the bus. Campaigns need to be built around a connected, technology-enabled experience rather than just the format. This also means that creative content is more important than ever – to hold the integrated campaign together.”

Adidas 360 wrap


Exterion Media is renowned for its display sites on the London Underground, what opportunities can advertising on the underground open up to brands?

“Exterion Media’s London Underground sites are a creative playground for brands, offering inventive and immersive possibilities for engagement. Of particular note is our 360° wrap offering, which is currently in action at Oxford Circus. Ubisoft Entertainment recently deployed the 360° immersive experience for commuters travelling through Oxford Circus tube station, promoting its new Assassin’s Creed game, Syndicate. The campaign transported commuters into the game with the use of DOOH and vinyl wraps that stretched across the floor, walls and ceiling.

With a captive audience at their fingertips, brands are utilising our creative solutions, digital screens and ability to ‘own’ London Underground stations to create lasting brand impressions.  Recently, Adidas deployed a station domination at Knightsbridge to promote its Stella McCartney range, and  for its Chaos campaign earlier this year used the 360° wrap at Oxford Circus  to create a powerful, immersive brand experience for consumers, inviting people to ‘cause chaos’ and ‘destroy order’ with their new football boots.”

What do you think is next for Out-of-Home?

“Using data, the OOH advertising industry has the potential to become the most powerful media environment of all. The smartphone boom is giving citizens an opportunity to engage with OOH through mobile, in turn allowing brands to reach customised audiences in real time.

The DOOH platforms will therefore drive advertising consumption across the globe, whilst allowing for greater accountability and measurability on campaign effectiveness.

Also, a better grasp of data and partnerships with major players like Google will allow OOH to meet one of the biggest demands from advertisers today: targeting demographic clusters. Two paradigms have to come together: an approach to data that enables advertisers to get the right insight to identify and target the customer clusters; and consumers increasingly driving the advertising message through their ability to interact, feedback and engage with brands.

Marrying both will increasingly be the difference between winning and losing the battle for exposure.”

Blog written by Jason Cotterrell, first published on 12Ahead