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Rick Robinson— ‘The new masterclass of OOH planners will unlock the perfect mix of digital and printed format’

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This post, written by Rick Robinson, is underwritten and sponsored by Circle Graphics

by Rick Robinson
Chief Creative Officer in Residence, OAAA

The OOH media narrative these days is knee deep with the abundant benefits of digital messaging in public space. The drumbeat speaks to programmatic, real time audience metrics, 3D, NFT’s, speed to market, and many more accolades. Clearly, DOOH is faster, more efficient, there’s nothing to print or ship, and it’s of the moment, right here, right now. Digital is the future. Print is not. That’s the story.

Except I don’t think anyone has told the public.  They remain only interested in what personally moves them.  They want advertising that earns the right to occupy their public space.  They don’t respond to specific formats in and of themselves.  They respond to timely, well-crafted messages presenting in relevant places, regardless of format.  The smartest OOH planners know this and will always model and deliver a finely tuned campaign matrix of printed, digital, experiential, temporary, permanent, mobile, fixed, or opt-in formats.  They seek to create a harmonious merger of content and context where the power of the whole resonates over the clinical sum of its parts.

“Everything is a screen…

As Chris Beresford-Hill, President of North American Advertising at Ogilvy, recently noted on the Influenced by OUTFRONT podcast “Everything is a screen, there’s a kiosk that’s a screen, mobile is a screen, TV, yet a (printed) billboard is tactile, truly part of the landscape…it’s up there for a period of time, people pass by constantly, and it has tremendous value for brands”

“Part of nailing OOH is seeing it as a total canvas with each format playing the role of different colors on the paint palette.

More assertive to this end is Kevin Bjelajac, VP Creative Marketing at Paramount+, when he tells us Part of nailing OOH is seeing it as a total canvas with each format playing the role of different colors on the paint palette. It’s the orchestra of digital in concert with printed formats that makes OOH so very powerful”

Both quotes are about the total experience out on the streets. With this understanding we are moving past the DOOH vs. OOH didactic.  Going forward, we can agree there is nothing like the dynamic power, speed and precision of DOOH. Equally, there is nothing like the visceral gravitas of classic printed OOH.  In the end, it’s not about one or the other.  It’s about both.  Together. Each making the other stronger. It’s super important this planning mindset continues to emerge and evolve as a standard.

As the pandemic shifts to an endemic, the challenges to grab impressions in our attention economy will continue to become more acute.  With consumer optimism rising, we should expect an increased desire for brands to visually intercept the public when they are out of their house.  Andrew Simon, CEO of the cohort-driven platform Goldfish Ads, sums up the scarce commodity of human attention with their tagline – “0:03 is the new 0:30” – redefining the common advertising “spot” down to three seconds.   This future vision for quick, targeted impressions tees up the rationale for more OOH.  What’s more, new audience data best informs location-based, one-to-many media, making the full toolkit of OOH formats valid for next generation planning.

Referencing the 2021 OAAA OOH Creative Best Practices Guidelines – “At its core, OOH should be approached as the elemental expression of an idea, the backbone from which a broader ad campaign can flourish.”  Truth is, from the media planning POV, we have witnessed the elemental expression of most any idea come to life when the wide variety of OOH shapes and sizes are planned to maximize the message.  We also know this is a fluid practice, without a single perfect solution. Each market offers up a unique set of OOH weapons and accompanying tactical benefits. Some inventory is all about audience and place, other moments shout out size, ownership and dominance.  We embrace proximity, context, experience and attitude assets, allowing them to drive unique inventory selections, often at a premium. And when avails tighten and shift, or creative timelines get pushed, even the most thoughtful, highly iterated OOH plans will get thrown upside down.

Gifted OOH planners juggle all of this and somehow make the Rubik’s cube work every time. They are my heroes; The inspired, curious and relentless professionals who marshal the totality of OOH messengers and help creative ideas thrive in the people’s space. They are the new masterclass of OOH planners who will unlock the perfect mix of digital and printed formats.

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