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Digital is the future of outdoor advertising. Or is it?

Apr 5th 2012, 08:10

Digital is the future of outdoor advertising. Or is it?

FMCG brands have a plethora of media available to them for targeting consumers. They also have the important responsibility of choosing the right media to fit their target market’s profile. In addition to this, digital technology has weaved its way into all types of media, giving FMCG brands greater flexibility in designing content and better control over creative delivery.

In outdoor advertising, billboards are no exception to these rules of engagement.

Whether using digital or print in outdoor advertising, billboards done well get attention and grab consumers. Adverts delivered on this largely one-dimensional medium are well suited to consumers’ fast-paced lifestyles of today. Furthermore, a brief solved on a billboard is a brief solved for all other media.

While FMCG brands rely on both static and digital outdoor media to reach their markets, digital technology is changing the way brands perceive this medium as a whole.

Because digital billboards are only made up of pixels the production costs, apart from the creative, are virtually zero.

“The technology dramatically increases the value of individual outdoor boards (by allowing multiple advertisers to share the same space, while maintaining non-digital rates per advertiser) and giving advertisers much more flexibility and impact for their rand,” says Lyn Jones, Marketing Manager at Continental Outdoor Media, South Africa and Africa’s largest outdoor advertising group.

Outdoor digital advertising adds another layer of flexibility and control in delivering creatives, in that marketers can target audiences with new messages at different times of day or at a particular time in the year, making dynamic content delivery the norm.

This type of custom scheduling means that messages can be screened when consumers are in a particular mindset, increasing their likelihood of acting in the desired way.

Digital billboards present endless opportunities for marketers to deliver engaging content; overshadowing the space limitations of vinyl and print. A classic example of such engaging content is the “Melting Magnum” outdoor campaign conceptualised by Continental Outdoor Media for its Citilite range last year. Here, the creative was styled to look as if molten chocolate was dripping off the billboard frame.

The cost-effectiveness, flexibility and quality of digital outdoor advertising clearly point to its continued growth and popularity in outdoor advertising; perhaps making print and vinyl billboards redundant in future.

But in spite of these many benefits “the future of outdoor advertising still hangs on the importance of the creative message, whether traditional, or digital”, concludes Lyn Jones.

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