Deliver clear messages on OOH

[23 July] Media consumption has been changing rapidly in recent years, and the Covid-19 pandemic has had a part to play in that. Print titles are struggling and in the last few days, Q magazine has ceased production and The Guardian has dropped some of its weekend supplements. Internet usage in the UK peaked in April 2020, with 18-24 year olds spending more than five hours per day online (OFCOM). Throughout the height of lockdown, Out of Home wasn’t the first choice for many advertisers, despite the number of people still visiting retail locations. Now that traffic and people movement is largely back to normal, we’re seeing a return of many familiar brands, in addition to new advertisers who are taking the opportunity to gain market share.

Losing faith in social media

In a global news consumption study from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, research has shown that people all over the world have lost faith in most content-driven media including TV, online news, messaging apps or social media. Only 26% said they trust some of the social media platforms at all. In the UK, OFCOM research found that 29% of people have come across false or misleading information about Covid-19 in the last week, down from 50% in the first few weeks of the pandemic.

At a time when we’re experiencing a health crisis, social unrest, a global recession and claims of Russian interference in elections around the world, honesty and trust are key. Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer Report found that 81% of consumers said “trusting a brand to do what is right” is a deciding factor in their buying decisions. 83% of people in Northern Ireland agree that it’s important that a company acts ethically, and 27% of people here exclusively purchase from companies whose ethics they agree with (TGI NI 2019). Brands have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to act ethically and consumers have a strong desire to know about those credentials.

OOH is impartial and accountable

Out of Home remains impartial, and yet accountable. There are multiple checks in place to ensure campaigns aren’t misleading or delivering inappropriate content. The increased flexibility on DOOH places content in a ‘right time, right place’ scenario, helping to protect young or vulnerable persons. From online adverts appearing next to less than desirable content or fake news, to click farms falsely inflating analytics, it’s clear that Online isn’t always the most accountable.

You’d be right to wonder why Google needs to advertise. Over 1 billion people worldwide use Google and its products and it’s become genericided (Google that one), but they’ve been on DOOH in London. The Irish Sun is also launching an OOH and radio campaign to broaden its appeal to new audiences, while maintaining existing readers. When brands with such high profiles and market share want to engage with audiences, they choose Out of Home.

OFCOM reports that around one quarter of people responding to their Covid-19 news and information: consumption and attitudes study agree with the statement, “I am confused about what I should be doing in response to the Coronavirus”, an increase from 17% at the end of March. Three in ten of 16-24 year olds agree with the statement.

Clear messaging is key, and Out of Home can deliver the cut through.