EMEA - Out of home - Outdoor weathers the perfect storm

Out-of-home advertising is growing, driven by such diverse influences as high oil prices, technology and illiteracy, writes Jane Bainbridge.

Serbia: plenty of outdoor opportunities
Serbia: plenty of outdoor opportunities

Outdoor advertising is that rare thing these days, a traditional medium that has been performing well; it is the second-fastest growing medium and is expected to increase its share of the global ad market to 6.8% by 2010, according to ZenithOptimedia. However, across EMEA it is a mixed picture. This diverse region covers Western Europe, where the poor economic climate is putting media spend under pressure, to developing economies such as the Middle East and Russia, where growth is often in double digits.

Across the region, quality investment by media owners is improving inventory and, with it, outdoor's standing as an advertising medium, irrespective of the maturity of the specific country's economy. Outdoor is also helped by the wider trend of people spending more time out of home.

David Payne, chief executive, EMEA, Kinetic, says: "Media owners are putting money into the quality of locations and high-quality, back-illuminated sites. There have been technological influences on production, such as good-quality skins at relatively low cost. Outdoor can be more communicative and interactive; there's a perfect storm gathering and it's a positive one."

Barry Sayer, regional president UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa, Clear Channel, adds: "In the Middle East, places like Dubai are riding on a sea of high-price oil and there's lots of money washing around. And they're building new economies such as tourism, so there's huge building and new infrastructure, which brings with it bus shelters and sites."

In some countries, lax planning laws also allow for greater exposure of outdoor. Similarly, depending on how liberal the country, more risks can be taken with the copy.

Flexible attitudes

"In Eastern Europe, the communists marched out and capitalism and advertising have arrived. Suddenly there's a huge amount of outdoor advertising, some might say too much, and Western brands are pushing their way in," says Sayer.

"In emerging markets, you often find 'money talks' and there are more relaxed, flexible attitudes to doing things on a grander scale," says Robyn Adams, worldwide client services director, Posterscope. She adds that, in Africa, where the infrastructure is less well-established, advertising is used to help fund vital projects such as the construction of wells.

Adams also notes that major events often provide a boost to outdoor. She predicts outdoor advertising will make a step change in South Africa as a result of it hosting the World Cup in 2010.

Client interest in outdoor advertising remains strong across EMEA, but Adams says most of the work tends to be done locally.

"Whatever the media owners have you believe, there's not a one-size-fits-all pan-European solution," she adds.

Outdoor has been a key element for Nokia in EMEA. Syma Nassar, associate director at its agency, MediaCom, says: "One part of Nokia's business is mass market. Outdoor plays a big role as seeing the brand in the streets gives reassurance in the product.

"In Africa, the media landscape is underdeveloped and Nokia uses outdoor to target villages or specific areas where telephone masts are installed and mobile infrastructure therefore set up. Also, because much of the population is illiterate, you can reach them with specific creative or target manual workers out of the home. Outdoor is top of Nokia's media pyramid in developing economies," she adds.

While digital has had the UK outdoor market buzzing, innovation varies across EMEA. Mainland Europe is on a par with the UK, but other countries, especially the developing ones, lag far behind.

What will help the extension of innovative practices in the region is the spread of the big media owners and, with that increased investment, better planning strategies and improved measurement practices. Many are entering new territories, be it through consolidation, organic growth or new contract wins.

Clive Punter, chief executive, CBS Outdoor International, says: "Western European outdoor is highly consolidated; 50-60% of out of home is within three global players. It brings greater investment, stronger marketing of the medium, better research, expertise and integrity. Developing markets such as Central Eastern Europe are less mature and offer greater opportunities to expand and consolidate."

And Kinetic's Payne adds: "What is encouraging in terms of growth and outdoor outperforming other media is media owners investing in audience currencies and consistency in how they should be developed. Postar has led the way to markets such as Ireland, Sweden and Turkey to invest in similar omnibus studies."

Despite the great variances across EMEA, regardless of the culture, degree of sophistication or development of the economy, outdoor looks in a strong position. As Jeremy Male, chief executive, UK and Northern Europe, JCDecaux, puts it: "There's huge growth of specialist landmark locations in all cities and they provide a canvas for creativity and standout, and that trend is as valid in Dubai as it is in Durham."

JCDecaux Netherlands - Toyota builds Auris launch awareness

The Toyota Auris is a small family hatchback car that launched in The Netherlands in 2007. Toyota used outdoor advertising as part of a brand-building, cross-media campaign and booked JCDecaux Netherlands' biggest national billboard network to build brand awareness.

The outdoor element of the advertising ran for two weeks in October 2007 across 30 cities, with 350 panels on street furniture and large format sites. Outdoor creative was slightly different to that of other media activity, focusing on a dominant visual of the car along with a succinct message in large clear font.

The overall objective was to create as much visibility as possible and, despite the Auris being new to the market, high brand awareness was achieved during the campaign.

Post-campaign recall research found that almost half of all adults sampled said they had seen the ad during the two-week campaign. Among men, 56% could correctly name Toyota as the advertiser and 75% knew the ad was to "promote a new car or type of car".

Posterscope South Africa Diageo builds J&B's profile and sales

Posterscope South Africa worked with Diageo to launch the new J&B whisky campaign in South Africa in March 2008. J&B is Diageo's best-selling Scotch whisky in Europe and number three in the world, with South Africa one of its top five markets. The strategy focused on J&B whisky being all you needed to get a party going and used the strapline: "Start a party."

Posterscope used Scaff Tech as the key outdoor contractor for the South African campaign. The campaign used a mirror ball as the central image and theme of all the outdoor and ambient work. Building sides, billboards, wraps and roadside sites all featured creative that looked as if the ball had burst through.

Ambient work was included in which large 3D mirror balls appeared to have dropped from the sky and landed in shopping centres, airports and in front of office blocks.

The strategy was for the initial work to act as a teaser and the advertising to stimulate purchase. According to Diageo, the campaign achieved high levels of awareness with a 20% increase in sales during the period.

Sector consolidation

Clear Channel
2005:
Buys Swiss billboard company Plakatron
2006:
Buys UK premium billboard company Van Wagner in multimillion-pound deal
2007:
Acquires controlling stake in Klass Advertising, Romanian market leader in banner and neon advertising. Deal expands Clear Channel's reach in Eastern Europe
Buys Italian billboard company, AVIP
2008:
Buys Avenue Media in Ireland, which specialises in six-sheets located outside convenience stores

Posterscope
2006:
Acquires South African out-of-home business Integrator in a deal worth up to £5.6m, depending on performance

JCDecaux
2006:
A joint venture with BigBoard Group takes it into Ukraine and Russia for the first time. JCDecaux will invest in infrastructure of the estate and hold a 40% stake
EUR103m deal for Berlin outdoor advertising company VVR-Berek gives JCDecaux premium ad space in the biggest German cities
Acquires MAG International, owner of Metropolis Media, billboard and large-format media owner in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, through Europlakat International, its joint venture with Affichage Holding
2007:
Establishes joint venture with Qatar Media Services called QMS Decaux, its first move into the Middle East
Extends partnership with Group Wall to a 50/50 venture. Deal involves some asset swaps as well as establishing a national sales platform in Germany

CBS Outdoor

2007: Acquires Haveco in Ireland, a specialist media and marketing company with a sports stadium ad business

Titan

2006: Acquires Maiden Outdoor and opens an office in Ireland
Acquires Adbus and opens an office in Portugal.

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