OOH – The Broadcast medium for Summer 2020

With the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors back open for business, we’re seeing huge steps being taken back towards the familiar. We’ve coveted the things we take for granted, like going out for a coffee, and seeing friends and family. The next phase is now in full swing and having tried the pubs, people are feeling the need for a change of scene, and the British Staycation is back. Unprecedented demand is accelerating as foreign holiday restrictions are slow to lift and we’re already seeing the consequences with roadside audiences across the UK in the ascent.

OOH Recovery Strategy Amidst Changing Consumer Behavior

With Out of Home audiences returning, the focus shifts to brands and how they can drive effective recovery messaging. The economic rationale for advertising in crisis has been clearly engaged and recovering businesses are looking to drive branding, trust and activation messaging – many just signposting the fact they are open for business and taking the opportunity to welcome back their customers.

Brits are more eager now than ever before to travel and go on holiday. Talon research from the end of last month shows that visiting friends and family remains a priority (77% consider this the most important “release” activity), and this is already reflected in some of the travel data for the UK regions. With 69% of Brits tending to take a UK holiday (ABTA), this will shift to 85% this summer with a third of those normally going abroad (and perhaps more) likely to switch to UK trips in the coming weeks. This will bring an increase of 10 million people to the UK roads – a surge in numbers already reflected in recent headlines with UK holiday booking quadrupling on the recent super Saturday and some UK holiday companies announcing a Staycation booking every 11 seconds.

Our Ada intelligence data platform is already picking up increased audience mobility. Not only are roadside audiences virtually back to normal, particularly in the regions, we’ve noticed a recent 20% increase in travel to the South West, one of the largest staycation areas. Audiences are very keen to get away and we know where to target them. This is great news for brands as we can identify locations currently experiencing the largest traffic and effectively find those additional 10 million staycationers.

Meanwhile from our research, 60% are looking forward to expanding their non-essential shopping, particularly going out to bars and restaurants, enjoying takeaway experiences, then shopping for clothes, home furnishings and technology. 40% also say they will spend more on considered, big ticket purchases, including cars and property, signalling that many are ready to resume where they left off and seize the opportunity to spend.

Brands are very much returning to the advertising market. In OOH, brands like Guinness, O2, McDonald’s, HSBC and many others have seized the moment to communicate to an increasingly mobile audience. Out of Home advertising has not gone unnoticed during lockdown, over half appreciating OOH’s sharing of vital information around the pandemic (up +10% since the height of lockdown) whilst also seeing the channel as more trusted (up +14% to 57% and even higher among 18-24s – up +23%). Social media in the current environment is seen as trustworthy by just 40%.

All this means a post lockdown reappraisal of media channel audiences could see OOH emerge as the broadcast channel of choice, particularly for younger audiences, and for the summer and beyond.

Whilst we relied on TV and streaming content back in those difficult months as a welcome relief from Zoom and not going anywhere, I think programme and content fatigue has well and truly set in – not least in the extended football season, and not just for Spurs fans like myself. The relentless stream of Premier League matches has left us with players, audiences and those crowd noises going through the motions and one perhaps now distracted by haircuts, family barbeques, shopping and staycation planning.

For the Summer, brands could consider fully integrated campaign activity, with a channel like OOH leading, not just supporting. Broadcast messaging remains critical to reach and maximise audiences. Now more than ever. OOH allows contextual and location messaging, and we’ve seen the impact of these in lockdown for brands, the Government, the NHS and charities, which have kept OOH relevant and prominent.

As live TV audiences fall causing linear and commercial viewing to underperform even in smart TV households,  the loss of Love Island, the Euro’s and a stream of new content to match the likes of Normal People and a personal favourite like Narco’s, the opportunity for a more integrated advertising approach taking advantage of the flexibility of digital OOH has truly arrived.

Staycations, shopping and the continued growth of roadside audiences mean brands can navigate the difficult road to recovery using the real world community experience that is driving OOH to the summer broadcast media as we go out more, for longer and that much needed change of scene.

Luke Willbourn is Chief Client Officer at Talon