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How Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Methods Positively Impact the Climate Crisis

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Publisher’s Note:
Here is Dash Two, a media-buying agency located in Culver City, California, sharing thought leadership for the OOH Industry. Thank you Dash Two Founder, Gino Sesto and author of this article, Rodolfo Queiroz.

Reign In Climate Costs by Switching to Digital Out-of-Home Advertising

by Rodolfo Queiroz, Media Director, OOH, Dash Two

As the 2022 hurricane season’s unpredictability confounds meteorologists, we’re reminded of the severity of our current climate crisis and the need to find ways to address it. Previously, traditional advertising methods helped to fuel climate change through the chemicals and industrial pollutants generated during the printing, production, and distribution of promotional materials. And while “going digital” doesn’t deliver a complete solution, it beats the heck out of the old methods. Traditional outdoor advertising carries as much environmental blame as other forms, but switching to digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising can help companies reign in their climate cost. 

How OOH Impacts the Environment

So why (and how) does OOH advertising affect climate change? Many static modern billboards are made from PVC, which is manufactured using toxic chemicals that produce high quantities of hazardous waste. These billboards are then transported on vehicles from production to the placement site during a journey that uses fossil fuels and sends out carbon emissions. 

Adding insult to injury, print billboards typically only get used once, after which they are transported (unsustainably again!) to landfills, where the PVC and any other plastic components languish until the end of time. Moreover, printed billboards usually need to be illuminated for night visibility, requiring high volumes of electrical power for traditional lighting.

Benefits of Switching to DOOH

As OOH advertisers increasingly change up their creatives to embrace digital options, there’s lots of buzz from environmental organizations about DOOH also being unsustainable. So-called “green screens” may not be the panacea for every climate problem, but they offer multiple benefits all the same:

  • Reducing a company’s carbon footprint. DOOH eliminates the air pollution and use of fossil fuels involved in transporting raw materials to manufacturers and the finished billboards to their final physical location. Of the almost 351,000 billboard advertising displays in the U.S. in 2021, less than 10,000 were digital. All the rest used chemicals and toxic supplies in the production process, and generated waste products that must be transported and disposed of afterward. 
  • Decreasing energy usage. It’s true that digital billboards also require a power supply to operate, but with a little forethought and a financial investment, most advertising locations can be powered by solar or alternative energy methods. Digital billboard advertising doesn’t need the same degree of illumination that a two-dimensional printed product does, so they typically use less energy. 
  • Minimizing waste. In addition to reducing the amount of waste ending up in landfills, DOOH equipment is mostly reusable and often recyclable. Digital billboards can be reused time after time to display programmatic content, including community and government messaging in times of need. And with some mindful material choices during manufacture, the hardware can either be made from recycled materials, or recycled afterward to use in other ways. 

DOOH offers marketers additional benefits over traditional outdoor advertising, such as the flexibility to change creatives instantly to meet demand, run content in real time, and attract audience attention with animation and movement. 

message for Movia Media

Working with Eco-Friendly Media Owners

With DOOH advertising spending estimated to grow from USD 2.7 billion in 2020 to USD 3.8 billion by the end of 2023, the industry is a financial powerhouse. As such, marketers carry a lot of clout. With thousands of media owners available to choose between, they can insist on working with eco-friendly parties wherever possible. This includes property owners offering digital displays erected on EV charging stations, and those with solar-powered or wirelessly-connected hardware. 

These efforts will not only reduce costs and improve sustainability but will also boost customer loyalty. Data from IBM shows that 80% of consumers consider environmentally sustainable practices important and prefer to support businesses that follow them. 

Targeting an Eco-Aware Audience

It’s not all just about the advertisers, though. Reigning in the climate costs of OOH advertising can also be achieved by producing greener products and targeting them at an eco-aware audience. Examples of audience groups that prioritize sustainable thinking include:

  • Consumers aged 35 to 45 years living in rural areas, with a medium to high level of education. They are dedicated to sustainable and eco-friendly living, and place sustainability at the top of their list when deciding where to buy products and services. 
  • Gen Z and Millennials from urban, higher education backgrounds, who prioritize innovation and forward-thinking. According to Statista, 72% of Millennial and 65% of Gen X parents teach their children about environmental sustainability. 
  • Corporate audiences in the B2B environment. Many companies these days have embraced sustainability values for their organizations, and using eco-friendly vendors is a factor in realizing their goals. 

Identifying the target audience correctly is key to any company’s success, but so is knowing how to resonate with that audience. And if your audience overlaps with any of the examples listed here, then targeting them with eco-friendly advertising is a ticket to winning them over. 

Give Yourself a Reason to Celebrate

As we move further into the 21st century, climate issues are going to be top of mind for business leaders. Switching from traditional OOH content to digital enables advertisers to contribute to reducing emissions and other climate costs. It can also boost a company’s image in its marketplace, showing customers the business is environmentally aware and socially alert. Why not give your company something to celebrate by minimizing your marketing department’s environmental footprint with a shift to DOOH? 

For more information on how environmentally friendly OOH advertising can help you achieve your revenue goals, please contact us today

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of OOH Today or imply endorsement.

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