Two nations DOOH

“I want to bring our country together, our United Kingdom together…to reclaim a mantle that we should never have lost – the mantle of One Nation, One United Kingdom.”.  So said David Cameron on the day of the elections results.


Well in one way we are definitely already two nations.


If you flick through Media Week’s triumphant 30th anniversary issue in print then in the back section there are a series of features from media agencies and media owners.  In the latter, digital out of home dominates with highly optimistic outlooks described by Clear Channel’s Chris Pelekanou, Exterion Media’s Shaun Gregory, Outdoor Plus’ Jonathan Lewis and Talon Outdoor’s Eric Newnham.


According to these champions of Digital Out of Home the landscape will be awash with ‘Minority Report’ style personalisation of messages.  For broader campaigns the right time, right message and right segment accuracy of communications should improve out of home effectiveness and accountability in spades.

Shaun Gregory writes “The rise of digital out of home has been one of the most explosive industry game changers todate.”


If you live in a city that is.


For the two nations that definitely exist out there are those living with exposure to digital out of home and those who are not.  It’s yet another way in which it is very different outside the urban sprawl, and once again your experience as a media practitioner in London is irrelevant to the experience of significant parts of the UK.


A huge amount of investment is due before the full potential of DOOH to effectively drive a national campaign for a household brand is truly realised.  In addition audience data will need to be more immediate and more accurate.  The best campaigns will be served dynamically based on streams of data available with specific information from mobile networks.  The effectiveness of the outcomes of these campaigns will need equally accurate and transparent data.


At the close of last year I was one of the judges of the Campaign City Street Live Challenge where two creative teams were pitched against each other to create an ad campaign that made the most of the exciting new tech embedded in multipoint touchscreens.  It was really interesting, but for me, incredibly hard to judge.  Not just because the two ideas were so different.  Because as a media planner I really wanted to understand the metrics in order to have an informed opinion about which campaign should win.  For one reason or another (outcomes unclear, detail not comparable, sample sizes small) this proved very difficult.


To truly fulfil the potential which we can all imagine, there is a huge amount of work that the outdoor industry needs to undertake.  Can Britain’s Digital Out of Home bring our nation back together?  How long will the investment into national digital outdoor take?  Will the data about audience outcomes become available in real time to planners and data analysts so that we can truly have a currency comparable with other media?  And if so when?




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