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Is OOH media the new connector in our disconnected world?

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Is OOH media the new connector in our disconnected world?

By Rick Robinson, OOH Media Executive, Public Speaker, Author, Sculptor

We thrive and survive out there IRL, amongst the herd, focused on the pursuit of our personal missions – work, errands, social calls – living mostly in our own heads.  Simultaneously, we are aware and extra alert of the shared experience happening around us.  We collectively navigate visual cues, common markers, simple courtesies, thoughtless rudeness, anticipated traffic flows, sometimes on repeated routes and others on new journeys.  The experience is concurrent, we are in it together, relying on an unspoken interdependence. Yet, somehow, in our “connected” digital age we can feel surprisingly alone.

The act of processing the unspoken language of the streets is what binds us.  A unique level of listening that works like glue. Red Light/Green Light, Walk/Stop, on-premises store signage, way-finding messaging, the rhythm of the crowds, people and cars – interpreting and responding to this constant visceral reality links us via proximity and frequency.  Reminds us we are not alone.  Reassures our survival.  Proves humans are social by nature.

Standing out in this rapid-fire visual triage is OOH media.  Abundant, fixed, vulnerable, omni-present and evergreen.  Messages of purpose both commercial and public.  We consume OOH together.  We internalize uniquely yet we are all triggered as a condition of entering and engaging a public space – stand-by, walk-by or drive-by.   We know if we’ve seen OOH that others have as well.  If it’s humorous we wonder if those around us are in on the joke.  Did it make them laugh?  If it’s intriguing, we want the crowd to know we “get it” too.  And if we don’t get it, we’re curious of what’s wrong with us.  What don’t we know?   OOH is communal, social, sharable, and it connects us. The medium and the message are the common references that unite us.  Think of it as mass intimacy.

The brisk investment in public facing digital screens is quickly accelerating the relevance of the medium.  This is happening in concert with classic printed OOH.  Each instigates the power of the other – a character foil of dynamic contextual moments versus statements of commitment and ownership. In both cases, messages are available for delivery with immediacy and precision.  As a result, we have trained the pubic to look to OOH for what’s new and of the now, placing the medium firmly in the pulpit as the voice of the cities it serves.

The public as an Investor and citizen of open space demands participation for brands, local government, venues and art.  This merger of content and context has produced unexpected outcomes.  Media now helps brands inform art, and in return art similarly informs brand aesthetics, while both draw from the same toolkit in hot pursuit of a desired response from the public forum.

There’s a rising sense the medium now belongs to everyone, and constituencies of all types want their voices heard.  The state of the OOH nation is clear. An idea truly hasn’t arrived in the public consciousness until it lives in the tapestry of the OOH ecosystem. A very, very good thing for the industry.

It’s unequivocal – OOH Media is the new connector in our disconnected world.


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