Much has been said lately about the out-of-home industry, particularly about Street Posters. The sector that usually doesn’t get talked about, because we dare not utter the word (whispers) guerrilla.
It’s a unique space. When done well, it’s high impact, urban focused and eye level out-of-home at its best. Problem is, there’s not a media channel left that could operate under such ambiguity and still make schedules.
I don’t like what I don’t fully understand. I like data. Facts, figures and a strong argument to back up any client spend. Moreover, I am a great believer in the power of out-of-home and want to see it grow. I’m its biggest fan. If OOH was a guy, it would be my Bruce Willis. Not because he’s rugged and a little bit edgy, but because he’s awesome. Period. (if you think Bruce Willis is too old, then you can hazard a guess as to how long I’ve been in the industry). So when the CEO of VMG, Michael Fishwick, asked me to help bring the Revolution360 Street Poster network out from the shadow of more “grey area” options in market, I was excited to be a part of such a positive change.
Having been buying out-of-home media across the UK and Australia for most of my career I have seen the industry evolve at pace. To catch up, there are four key issues the Street Poster industry needs to address.
1. Responsible behaviour. Not every out-of-home media operator needs to be part of the Outdoor Media Association (OMA), but every operator does have a responsibility to the market, our clients and the public to provide civic utility and dispose of waste responsibly.
2. Consistency and quality assurances. Guerrilla formats by very nature don’t allow for consistency of quality. One site does not look like another due to the lack of fixed locations.
3. Data for planning. Without investment into audience data and understanding audience mobility, campaigns are being planned based on outdated traffic figures (at best).
4. Verification. I question how without a network of fixed locations, how can anyone guarantee posting and how is that posting verified?
Unlike some operators, Revolution360 had already addressed the first two issues, by operating in fixed locations with government contracts based on requirements of civic utility and solid corporate social responsibility programs. The next logical steps were data-for-planning and addressing the question marks around verification, which has taken significant, but much-needed investment.
There are still pockets of the industry that need work. Until operators are forced to take a more responsible approach, it will always remain, in my eyes, a grey space that as a buyer or client, you should be wary of. Ask yourself when booking your next Street Poster campaign: Does this company invest in its product, the public space it operates in and do they behave in a responsible way? If not, the rest probably doesn’t live up to the hype either.
I am pleased to say we have bridged the gap between a product stuck in the 80s and the “now” out-of-home, and urge other operators to do the same if they feel they have the legitimate portfolio to allow for it. We need to work together to create a more standardised offering that is in the best interests of our clients and the industry.