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UK more receptive to OOH during lockdown

By M4G Bureau - February 05, 2021

Vanessa Eagle, Agency Strategy Partner, Posterscope, highlights the connection built between the audience and OOH medium in UK

Year 2020 obviously caused  a big shift in everyday lives and movement. For much of the year those that have been able to, approximately 30% of the UK population, have been working from home, which has caused a major shift in the way out of home advertising reached audiences. 

According to Vanessa Eagle, Agency Strategy Partner, Posterscope, this situation has created the emergence of a new phenomenon in mobility, frequently being referred to as the Donut Effect, which sees city centres quieter than normal, while local towns, villages and communities experience much closer to normal levels of mobility. 

“As significant numbers of people have spent more time at home, we’ve seen a shift in the importance people are placing on their community, local high streets, and facilities. People have started to pay more attention to their local surroundings and begun to appreciate where they live, their neighbours, local councils, and services and of course the NHS. People have discovered a new sense of community and have become more aware of and engaged with their local environment, including out of home advertising,” writes Vanessa. 

“The Mobility Mindset” research conducted by Posterscope in late September 2020 revealed that almost two-thirds of people (6 in 10) feel more appreciative of their local community and have a developed a heightened emotional connection to their out of home environment since the pandemic.

Two-thirds (64%) of respondents also stated that lockdown has made them realise the importance of their local high street, while 50% believe they have created a stronger emotional tie with their local community following Covid-19.

The research also revealed that this appreciation for the local community was having a “knock on” effect on noticeability and positivity towards OOH advertising.

Some 89% of people said that they noticed out of home advertising across any environment/format, while, profoundly, 45% said they found out of home advertising even more noticeable and feel even more positive towards it than before Covid-19.

On top of this, people’s feelings towards out of home advertisers have improved too, with 40% of people feeling even more favourable or positive towards brands that are currently using out of home than before the pandemic.

Thus, it is further building the outdoor connections with the masses. “Outdoor advertising has a strong community connection because it is part of the everyday fabric of people’s towns and cities, which makes the brands that are using it feel more familiar, creating an emotional connection with consumers in their local community. So, as many people’s worlds remain smaller and more local, a robust data and insight-lead regionally nuanced approach to planning is required, as is the need for localised tonality in creativity,", explains Vanessa.

UK, being the biggest hub of digital OOH media, carries yet powerful abilities to target the masses in specific regions, cities, towns and particular locations. 

“The flexibility and agility of DOOH also gives advertisers the opportunity to target audiences by specific moments of relevance and to adapt creative messages dynamically against any number of criteria; reflecting time, location, weather and numerous other live data sources such as pollution or pollen, time countdowns, stock levels or price alterations. With the ability to turn on campaigns within a matter of hours and change them whenever advertisers want, using multiple creative executions, there really is no other medium that enables brands to reach people in such a public, yet personal way. 2021 is set to be the year that brands will finally use digital out of home to its full potential," says Vanessa.

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