Common currency, standardisation of OOH will spur growth of highly diverse African OOH markets: Celia Collins
By Rajiv Raghunath - February 04, 2022
Celia Collins, General Manager Africa, Omnicom MediaGroup shared her perspectives on the African OOH market in conversation with Tom Goddard, President & Executive Chairman, WOO in the virtual Africa Forum organised on Feb 3
The Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on the African continent, like it had been across the globe, but OOH is one of the mediums that has stayed strong throughout. Stating this in her discussion with Tom Goddard, President & Executive Chairman, World Out of Home Organization in the virtual Africa Forum organised by WOO on February 3, Celia Collins, General Manager Africa, Omnicom MediaGroup said “We did see various countries dip and those were the bigger countries like South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. But a lot of the markets didn't have the lockdown that we saw in South Africa. Most of the other African countries were just on curfews, so a lot of the trading still happened.”
Celia pointed out that African OOH markets have seen “quite a massive increase in spending on OOH in Q4, and in 2022 we are hoping to exceed the 2019 level.”
Responding to Tom’s observation that “from a distance, we tend to see Africa as one mega market, but I'm sure there are large variances,” Celia said “seeing the African continent as one is a big mistake, which some brands do. We've got so many different regions with so many different dialects.” Even in terms of population size, Nigeria has triple that of South Africa. She said that if the diversity of the African continent is not kept in view when planning for OOH, that would contribute to sub-optimal outcomes for brand campaigns.
When asked which are the fastest growing OOH markets, Celia said that “Nigeria is definitely one, with Ghana as the other major West Africa market. Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda are also massively growing markets. We saw a lot of investment going into southern Africa markets such as Mozambique, Zambia, and Namibia.”
Celia said that in some of the countries, governments are seen to impose stringent controls on OOH and “we've seen increases in council tax of over 300%”. She underscored the need for standardisation of OOH advertising norms across Africa. To this, Tom added that “Certainly, standardisation is one area that will bring the industry forward”.
In keeping with the diverse range of markets in Africa, advertising brands are also seen to be unfurling a greater number of pan-Africa OOH campaigns. “We are definitely seeing an increase in multiple markets. I mean, if you look at singular briefings, as an entity, I would say may be 30% of briefings only have one country on and about 70% are becoming pan- Africa. What we are seeing is a lot of the brands branching out into the regions. And I think this is going to grow. When we look at Africa on the drive to sustainability and the drive to make their own products and also incorporate global products, that 70% is actually going to be near 90% in the future. And I would say by 2023, we should be seeing that coming together.”
On the need for a common currency for OOH audience measurement, Celia said “If I look back about five or 10 years, I would say we were much stronger in audience research. When I did my pan-Africa media reports last year, out of 21 countries, only three countries had any credible OOH type of audience research and that sits outside of South Africa. We know that South Africa has been beating that drum and really trying to get that research out and make a credible going forward. What we do need to do in Africa is come to a common standard and actually take it forward across the continent. What we do see without the research is that global companies will not invest as much marketing budgets, if they're not able to get the return or at least know how many people they reach right now.”
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