Out of home advertising’s importance during the time of social distancing

Authored by Jim Wilson, Talon CEO – US

Among advertising mediums, Out of Home has always held a distinct advantage when it comes to reaching large numbers of people with a simple message. From the world’s best-known blue-chip brands to government agencies to nonprofit organizations, OOH is a powerful medium for delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time.

During times of crisis and uncertainty, OOH is especially valuable and holds a significant role in helping society and the business community navigate unique challenges. As the coronavirus began infiltrating the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used digital billboards across the country to provide tips for improved hygiene and social distancing guidelines in the hopes of slowing the spread of the virus.

With the pandemic now tightening its grip across the U.S., the OOH industry has the opportunity to reprise its role in keeping the public informed as government authorities and health officials escalate their efforts to confront the disease and enact new mandates. From digital and mobile billboards, sidewalk displays and a range of other screens, OOH can help disseminate important information and instructions to the public as the continued fight to flatten the curve ensues.

The pandemic has already wrought havoc on the economy, dealing small and local businesses a particularly harsh blow. Many are attempting to persevere and press forward with some semblance of normalcy, which includes maintaining marketing and advertising activities.

Impacted businesses can rely on OOH to ensure the public is aware of their continuing presence and provide valuable information such as hours of operations or real-time information regarding availability of essential goods, like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Grocery stores, gas stations, delivery services and restaurant owners dealing with their new reality of being a takeout and delivery business can use OOH to connect and engage with consumers. Larger organizations can even use OOH to spread messages of support and encourage the community to patronize local businesses during their time of need.

Even in these unusual times, with quarantine and shelter-in-place directives, people will continue to be exposed to OOH. They will see OOH screens as they venture out for groceries, household supplies, medicine and, let’s face it, for their sanity. Those in urban areas may even see screens or mobile billboards from inside buildings and homes. As the battle to suppress the virus continues, the OOH industry stands ready to leverage the full power of the medium to help businesses and communities overcome this crisis and thrive in its aftermath.