July 24, 2012

Carat’s Adrian English hosted last week’s OOH panel session alongside the big guns of out of home advertising – Spencer Berwin, MD of JC Decaux, Matthew Dearden, CEO of Clear Channel, Simon Harrington, Marketing & Business Director of CBS Outdoor UK, Chris Forrester, Commercial Director of Primesight, Mark Greenstreet MD of Aevolve, Richard Morris Deputy MD of Carat UK and the MD of Posterscope, Glen Wilson. @lexie_brown reports.

First on the agenda was the hotly debated incharge period of OOH, which apparently exists purely for convenience. But this two-week window is no longer convenient in our ‘always-on’ culture where consumers expect to see targeted, responsive real time information.

In just over five years, 20 per cent of outdoor panels have been converted to digital which allows for much shorter lead times. Campaigns can go from booking to live in a matter of hours. This allows our clients to be reactive, whether it’s to a breaking news story, the weather or how many gold medals GB have won that day.

In terms of emerging OOH technology, the panel was most excited about NFC. It is behaviourally familiar and it has a seamless user experience, but the current barrier to this technology is simply availability. If the iPhone 5 incorporates NFC we expect to see the tipping point for this technology.

We will undoubtedly see all OOH panels digitised in the future. However, it’s important to remember that when new technologies are introduced this doesn’t instantly mean out with the old. Books and magazines still exist alongside e-readers and linear TV exists with time-shifted viewing. In OOH there will still be great value for clients in a simple paper poster where a single snapshot can evoke great emotion. Remember the Wayne Rooney poster for NIKE?

As this progression of technology evolves we will see OOH communication involve into a transactional interaction. According to the Metro’s National Urban Life Panel, 45 per cent of urbanites have taken action as a result of seeing an ad on a poster or screen and 28 per cent have searched for the advertised product online. However, to achieve such interaction advertisers mustn’t forget the value exchange, advertisers are still competing for consumer attention and they still need to give them something in return for their time.



  1. Naren Patel Says:

    Good piece, however less that 1 % of all outdoor sites have been converted to digital- but they are high value locations so they now bring in 15% of all revenue

    • lexibrown Says:

      Thanks for the correction Naren. Surprising that only 1% of OOH panels have been digitised.. hopefully this will rise significantly in the next few years and they will become more commonplace.

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