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JOM – Outdoor, Out of Home and Mobile Media

The Journal of Marketing session, held at the Michelangelo on 12 Feb, saw host to a discussion about, Outdoor, our of home and Mobile media.

The panel included:

  • Ashley Dewat – Channel Strategy at Ogilvy
  • Barbara Cooke – Acting Executive Director of the OHMSA
  • Jacques du Preez – MD of Provantage (Pty) Ltd
  • Kevin Kirby – COO of ComutaNet
  • Lyn Jones – Marketing Manager of Continental Outdoor Media

Jeremy Maggs lead the discussion, and came out guns blazing. Here is the overview of all the questions:

Why is Ambient media still relevant?

There are new platforms out there however the outdoor space drives consumers to the new platforms.

Someone has to drive those consumers to the many plethora of different options. (Lynn)

We know that with above the line media, it’s getting harder to reach consumers, and more ineffective year after year.  Out of home media can’t be switched off, and you are exposed, always.


Is there quantifiable research?

There has been some research, but the medium has grown faster than most.  We look at the numbers and the members. As a proportion of the media mix, we have grown immensely. (Jacques)

Kevin’s opinion is that these mediums have less wastage.  It’s a media category that requires for more work and studies to be done, so it makes it more difficult.  Homework must be done – targeted media must be researched well.  You need to know who the audience is, and what they want and above all, you need to understand what the creative concept it about.


Barbara – The bigger picture is that around the world, we are seeing fully integrated advertising research thus we can have payment by results. SA doesn’t have that yet, but it is on its way.  Tenders are out today (12 Feb), and will be looked at internationally, also best practice proposals will be looked at.  It has taken so long because the industry hasn’t focused on growing the whole industry, but rather the slices of it.

Digital is becoming the most flexible media.


If all of the research has not been available and going out for tenders, why is it only being done now?

Lyn – Research has been done, and is good, but looked at the industry in a segmented view, and didn’t look at out of home in its entirety.  We need to get to the stage where we measure the whole industry.

Have you been disadvantaged not having the full holistic research available?

Yes, but the industry needs to take responsibility.  The industry needs to take control, as they feel they have funded the research of other platforms too, and would rather take the research for out of home completely on our own.

What tough Q should brand managers be asking of the industry?

Investment and planning tools are needed. The expectation they should have, is to come up with the tools, and the planning to facilitate the spend.

Barbara, what would you say is the current perception of the outdoor industry?

I have no idea what they are thinking, but I would like them to think that it’s an exciting industry.  I think this is possibly THE most exciting medium, as it is growing so fast due to the population becoming more and more mobile.

The youth especially are spending more and more time outdoors, from clubs to bars, to generally outdoors.

Is pricing is unstructured due to supply and demand?

The industry is facing many challenges due to pricing, but you will get people who would want to undercut.

It is about creating value, and people are prepared to pay for quality.

Most members offer good value, but people need to ask the right questions. You need integration, and there is a premium for good exposure.

The price discussion has to follow the strategic discussion.


How does the client know which site is best?

It’s all about knowing what the strategy is behind it.  You need to be able to match your offer to the strategic environment.

How do you know where the good sites are?

Immerse yourself in the market – get out there and find out where you would like it to be.  GoogleEarth is helping a lot with this, and gives a visual element to the market.

Each sites needs to be measured, and it can be told how many people pass that site a day.  There are empirical ways to gate it.

Barbara – The outdoor industry is not the different to any other industry – know your consumer.  So reach and frequency must be measured against a target market.  It needs to be measured on a continuous basis. The mantra is “know your consumer”.

Do media agencies have the upper hand?

The issue is that both owner and agency should be wanting to add top added value to the client’s objective. The problem comes in, in the lack of transparency in the funding model.

It’s difficult to manage, as from an economic point of view you want to be in the game, but you have to be guided from an ethical stance.

Transparency is definitely needed.

A price war is healthy, this is a free market, and the outdoor industry is freer than anybody.  But the consolidation of buying points have become very narrowed down.

Where is the industry going?

Firstly from an outdoor perspective, every marketing point is based on location, through all mediums.  This industry is going to continue to grow.

Outdoor is constantly evolving.  It is going to grow as the population grows more mobile.  Technology will start melting in more, with a digital input.

The right creative use must be encouraged.

New infrastructure development gives many more opportunity.  It provides opportunities to target audience in a more integrated and upmarket way. But the industry must have a positive engagement with government, to help them understand what is possible.

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