Media on the move

Consumers spend more time than ever before out of home. How should advertisers reach the growing mobile market? David Parsley reports.

Media on the move
Media on the move
A social phenomenon has taken place over the past few years and it is one that advertisers and brand builders would be foolish to ignore. People are spending more time away from home and, thanks to improved technology, are more accepting of and more susceptible to outdoor advertising than ever before.

Consumers are increasingly on the move and in a place where you want them to view or even interact with your brand. The "Media on the Move" era has arrived. The question is: as people spend more time away from home, how can brands catch them on the move?

Here we consider the key areas and show how, from radio to free newspapers, advertisers can prepare to grab ever more eyeballs.

The outdoor ad is the most traditional form of advertising away from home. However, outdoor doesn't just mean posters any longer, as David McEvoy, marketing director at JC Decaux, explains: "We predict that outdoor advertising will grow faster than all other media, apart from the internet, in 2008.

"The reason is because outdoor is where the audience is going. We spend 50% more time away from home than we did just a few years ago."

The mobile internet allows us to move around much more while keeping in touch with home or the office. But the mobile phone now also has functions similar to a mini computer, and so holds great opportunities for outdoor advertisers.

While we are unlikely to see an end to the six-sheet or bus stop poster, these sites will evolve and make more use of modern technology.

For example, there is an increase in short message service (SMS) connections on posters, as people use their mobile devices to check out what they have just read on the ad at the bus stop or shopping centre.

Poster sites across the country are also being enhanced by the arrival of the moving image. McEvoy explains: "We are starting to see LED screens on the underground, at the roadside, in airports and on bus shelters. These allow advertisers to target the precise times of day they want their ads to appear, and the deals can be structured to reflect peak times of day, such as commuting hours."

He adds: "Outdoor used to be seen as the last option, but it is now taking money from TV. If you have displayed your message properly, people will take down the internet address or sign up for the SMS service to find out more."

David Walsh, marketing director at leisure centre sales house In Situ, says: "You can catch people's attention during their drive to and from work, but you will only grab them for a few seconds. We focus on leisure centres, where users are a captive audience for around 100 minutes. Our sales were up by a third last year and we are seeing a shift from two-week campaigns to much longer-term deals."

Black cabs are also attracting the attention of the advertising world. While cabs have long offered a good spot for ads on the outside of taxis, brands are now looking to capitalise on the high dwell-time sites inside the vehicles.

Nigel West, director at Cabvision, has 1,000 screens among London's 20,000 black cabs. Of this vast network, only around half are highly used, since many cabbies work part time. However, Cabvision has seen such demand for its product that it is expanding the network to 3,000 screens in London by the end of 2008, and plans to move into Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.

Cabvision offers a selection of channels, from business news to comedy. While these channels can take traditional advertising, a company can also take over its own channel in order to push its brand to passengers exclusively.

West says: "Clients are increasingly paying for channels. For example, IBM and Full Tilt Poker have done exclusive deals with us to use cabs to show their offerings to passengers. Interactive technology is already available, with Bluetooth messages sent to passengers' mobile phones.

"We can also offer targeted ads via a global positioning system (GPS) chip in the system. For example, there will come a day when your cab is a few hundred yards from a McDonald's outlet and an ad is triggered on the screen in your cab. The ad could offer you a Bluetooth token for you to take in and get free fries or a burger."

Mobile internet and downloads
Our mobile phones are not merely for making calls any longer: many people spend more time using their mobile to listen to downloads, surf the web or check their e-mails than they do actually making calls.

These mini computers can be used to download offers or gain more information from poster sites. But they can also be used for pushing brands via MP3 and MP4 downloads. Telegraph Media Group is arguably the newspaper industry leader in media on the move; with its integrated news operation, the company offers users the chance to interact with the brand in almost any location.

Executive director of the Telegraph Media Group Dave King, who heads the company's digital operation, says: "We have a straightforward strategy. To be successful, you have to give the consumer what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Once you've achieved that, you can look at commercial benefits such as sponsored podcasts. We have extended our brand across all platforms and, as a result, have eight million people interacting with us each week.

"There are two clear advantages for advertisers. We can put together and deliver solutions to ensure all the elements of the campaign work. And as we have more methods of reaching readers, we can vastly increase advertisers' reach."

While most of us have radio at home, more people listen to radio outside the house than inside. And the way that we listen is changing fast. Nathalie Schwarz, new business and corporate development director at Channel 4, believes radio advertising remains one of the key methods of getting your brand in front of potential customers. She says: "The mobile phone has revolutionised radio listening. No fewer than 47% of FM listeners use their mobile phones to listen in."

While FM may seem somewhat arcane in today's digital age, it still provides a tremendous opportunity for advertisers.

However, as Paul Fairburn, head of digital platforms at Global Radio, explains, technology is heading towards a more "pick and mix" approach to radio listening.

"You can conceive of radio groups bringing out their own digital players where you can download your favourite bits of many shows and package them together to effectively create your own show," he says.

"While stations may charge for this, there could also be a free option where ads are targeted at users, based on the type of snippets they have downloaded. This is the future: it is only a matter of time before somebody invests in such a player."

Indeed, C4's Schwarz has already looked into launching such a device. "We've been talking to device manufacturers with our partners," she says. "These devices can be the size of credit cards and, I agree, are part of the future of digital radio."

Commuter papers
From the paid-for broadsheets to the new breed of free newspapers, publications such as Metro, thelondonpaper, London Lite and City AM have revolutionised the commuter read. Catching commuters either on their way to work or on their journeys home can prove a valuable investment for advertisers.

If you are trying to sell your business solution to the business managers and owners in the Square Mile, you can take an ad in the City AM business freesheet.

Or, if you are looking to promote a new film release or bar opening, then the two London evening freesheets offer more than a million readers looking to relax after work. And wraparound ads allow brands to effectively pay for a moving poster.

Although still a small part of the market, commuter papers have survived long enough to show there is sufficient advertiser demand for their unique communication method.

The upshot of the increase in outdoor advertising is a world where our mobile phones may become pocket billboards, and where the poster at the bus stop is offering us a free pint of the latest new and cool lager.

What is for sure is that the old and the new will work together in the new advertising arena to create an all-round messaging opportunity. Consumers will see the brand and then interact with the brand through their phones. It makes you wonder how long anybody will bother to advertise in your home.


With British consumers spending more time out of the house, there is growing evidence to show advertisers and brand managers that the outdoor environment is an increasingly important area in which to display their messages.

The population's out-of-home habits, as revealed by the IPA TouchPoints survey, have changed an enormous amount, helping to boost revenue from outdoor advertising by 51% since 1994.

The TouchPoints survey reveals that 20 to 34-year-olds spend more time outdoors (eight hours) than they do awake at home (7.5 hours). At 10.44 hours a week, this age group also spends the most time travelling, particularly by car.

As for 15 to 19-year-olds, this group spends the least amount of time at home (6.3 hours a day) compared to eight hours out of the house. During the week, their movements are largely defined by a school timetable. On Saturdays, the age group is out and about from 10am, with a peak exposure to advertising at 7pm.

The teen consumer is also the best disposed towards outdoor advertising, with an appreciative audience of 30.7% and almost 55% saying they notice it.

Over the age of 35, the balance between time out of home and time spent awake at home begins to tip. The TouchPoints survey shows that consumers in the group spend 7.6 hours a day out of home, compared with 8.3 hours awake at home.

By the age of 50, time spent out of home drops hugely. People in the 50+ bracket spend 10.4 hours awake at home and venture out for only 5.8 hours a day.

Meanwhile, CBS Outdoor's Consumer on the Move UK study shows that outdoor's impact on the London commuter is dramatic.

While London commuters feel there is too much advertising on television, they welcome it on buses and on the Tube, with 97% preferring Tube ads. And 75% of respondents reported they have moved closer to a Tube ad to read it properly.

No less than 58% of Tube users have followed up an underground ad, and a massive 91% are so familiar with the ads that they notice when a poster is changed.

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