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‘Done well, DOOH primes other media channels’

By Rajiv Raghunath - August 11, 2023

There is an increased industry demand for unique content and immersive audience experiences, says Phil Hall, CEO – UK, Ocean Outdoor, in an interview with Rajiv Raghunath.

Phill HallOcean Outdoor is a forerunner in the application of cutting-edge DOOH solutions such as DeepScreen® to introduce compelling advertising opportunities. This year you launched DeepScreen® Alive. How are these offerings shaping up from the business perspective?

Ocean is a premium OOH business and constant innovation has always been a driving force for us. It’s been a tough couple of quarters for the ad industry generally and DeepScreen® and DeepScreen® Alive continue to be important to our offering. In a strong OOH market they fuel growth and in tougher trading times they protect revenue for us and our landlords. Revenue from augmented reality campaigns has grown sharply and we predict this will continue.

There is an increased industry demand for unique content and immersive audience experiences which put DOOH at the centre of the wider media plan. Done well, DOOH primes other media channels, a message reinforced by the release of our five Neuroscience studies. 

Our ‘Art Of Outdoor’ proposition is that premium digital out of home networks are less powerful if you don’t have the right sort of content to show on them. But when you do, the value, delivered beyond the physical screens alone is quite remarkable, especially on social media. 

As Ocean expands its business footprints across geographical markets, are you seeing the scope of setting up iconic DOOH media assets in multiple markets?

There’s no doubt that iconic assets grab the limelight. The Ocean approach of Ask For It By Name is being successfully replicated in the Nordics and the Netherlands where our investment in premium networks and iconic assets continues. Where we go next depends on how well a location, destination or new market sits within the Ocean premium portfolio.

With DOOH networks expanding everywhere are you seeing scope for globalisation of this media channel?

In the short term, no. The nature of our medium should always be local and built from the ground up. We select site by site to ensure the best locations and results for our advertisers. There is such variation in technology, measurement and use of OOH across the world that true globalisation seems unlikely. Importantly, we have to be driven by demand and the vast majority of client spend is still national or regional.

However, we are not a parochial medium and I do think there will be expansion in two areas. Firstly, there will be more collaboration across markets between OOH businesses. This is good and healthy. We have a developed market in the UK but we are always learning and there is fantastic innovation out there, especially in the Asian market. Secondly, I think all OOH businesses with a footprint in multiple territories need to make buying as seamless as possible for clients. For instance, clients can now buy all of Ocean’s Westfield estate across Europe in one simple and effective buy rather than having multiple conversations across territories. We have also launched ‘The United’ with our partners Branded Cities in the US – a way to build instant global fame with screen domination of the Piccadilly Light in London, The Moxy in LA and key screens in Times Square in New York.

Ocean Outdoor has been associated with major events like the Olympics. Do you see live events creating greater audience engagement?

Without a doubt. We have been the exclusive OOH partner of Team GB since 2012 and we know that running their fan zones and providing an arena for brands to connect with consumers through content on a big screen works wonders. This is being successfully replicated across our other Ocean territories. It’s not just the Olympics - our Ocean Labs team have built events around other major events like Wimbledon too where audiences can watch the action live.

Using the screen to trigger consumer engagement is increasingly popular with our advertisers. Ocean recently hosted an AR digital treasure hunt on its large format screens supported by an experiential pop-up and sampling activity at Westfield London in the UK for Lacoste Superheroes. Engagement was high, with 92,000 unique visitors, almost 24,000 users opting in to marketing, 49% of people redeeming a free sample and more than 24,000 gifts redeemed.

From the creativity perspective, (with DOOH) is the creative quotient of DOOH advertising going up. What is Ocean Outdoor’s approach to this?

The creative quotient is definitely rising. It’s been great to see the increased quality and quantity of DOOH work coming from the creative community. This creativity doesn’t just look good – it works, something supported by our latest Neuroscience study which shows how DOOH primes and optimises social media campaigns, elevating brand relevance, brand salience and authenticity.

Neuroscience has already established the priming effect of premium DOOH on mobile devices. Now we can demonstrate what happens when DOOH transcends the physical screen and becomes the content for brands’ social media campaigns.

DOOH content across social media unlocks significant value, delivering well beyond the priming effect of physical DOOH alone. Advertisers spend big budgets optimising social media campaigns and this priming is a serious benefit, proving DOOH is a vital ingredient when used to make big brand statements and mark important moments which by their very nature are incredibly shareable.

Our approach is to continue to introduce new formats like Headliner, a super-premium cinematic package giving agencies and advertisers the opportunity to deliver long form creative on DOOH in the UK and Nordics.

And let’s not forget the role of classic formats like the unique advertising sleeve surrounding London’s historic landmark Marble Arch which launches next month and will help pay for its restoration.

Creativity in OOH is at an all-time high and our mission is to continue to innovate and find new ways for brands to connect with consumers in a safe, unmissable and unskippable environment. 

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