OOH: Part of the Solution

We don’t know the duration or severity of this crisis. But we are certain of this: out of home media is part of the solution. 

OAAA is focused on what we can do to help the industry sustain through crisis and be ready to grab opportunity in recovery. Our medium is part of the solution for:

  • Advertisers
  • Government and communities
  • Public health

Out of home is nimble, as fast or faster than other media in changing copy. While the industry is encountering significant shifts, many advertisers remain engaged and visible in their markets. They are relying on out of home media to communicate essential messages and adjusting their messaging to reflect the times.

For sure, this is a challenging time for brands, and any advertising effort needs to balance the desire to connect with consumers and remain top of mind with the need to strike an authentic and appropriate tone that reflects these singular times.

We’re seeing brands both big and small change their advertising messaging to phrases like “we deliver” and “we’re open,” promoting convenience, health safety, community support, and entertainment.

“Publix is hiring,” the Florida-based grocery chain says on billboards. Others, like Sarpino’s Pizzeria, are emphasizing the safety and convenience of purchasing their pizza during the crisis.

Many others, like Coca-Cola, are using their out of home ad space to inform the public and support current social distancing measures.

Stott Outdoor Advertising posted important messages in the context of today’s crisis in northern California: restaurants are open, a local AC business can kill germs, and an uplifting message from Evans Furniture:

As states and localities issued orders to stay at home (for good reason), they exempted essential businesses such as grocers, banks, hardware stores, and more.

Government and Communities

OAAA template that supports designating out of home media as an essential business function. A key reason is because we communicate messages for other essential businesses. When Lamar Advertising Company asked the State of New York for clarification, the State said Lamar provides an essential business function.

When California Governor Gavin Newsom launched a robust multi-media campaign (“Stay Home. Save Lives”) he cited out of home media as a bilingual communications platform:

“More than 450 digital billboards and outdoor advertisements are visible statewide in both English and Spanish thanks to Clear Channel, OUTFRONT Media, Veale Outdoor Advertising, General Outdoor, VisCom Outdoor, iKahan Media and M Entertainment.”

Connecticut Governor Ned LaMont thanked Barrett Outdoor Communications, Lamar Advertising Company, and OUTFRONT Media for communicating prevention messages statewide.

Public service, in good times and bad, is our proud tradition. I just re-read a letter from America’s first secretary of Homeland Security (Tom Ridge) thanking the out of home industry for “ensuring that Americans are informed and prepared” after 9-11.

Public Health

OAAA is proud of recent collaborations with the Ad Council during this crisis. With your help, support for the Ad Council’s Coronavirus Response efforts has driven more than $32 million and counting across donated, earned and social media, and the messages have been seen over 1 billion times, in just the first two weeks. These numbers speak to the ability of out of home to convey critical, lifesaving messages to communities at enormous scale and speed.

Starting this Wednesday, April 8, OAAA will be partnering with the Ad Council on a new industry-wide movement to amplify one message: #StayHome. Save lives.

The #StayHome movement was conceived by the Ad Council together with Google and the leading advertising, media and marketing trade associations, building on the recent #AloneTogether platform. The focus of the ongoing effort will be to disseminate one unified, consistent, impossible-to-miss message all across the country about how to stay safe and save lives, promoting the kind of behavioral change that slows the spread of COVID-19.

We have been working closely with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When the public-health message changed, to emphasize social distancing, that new message was quickly included in the out of home media rotation. Thousands of out of home units nationwide have displayed approved CDC tips, starting March 11, and the CDC says your out of home displays “look amazing.” New messaging reminding people to wear a mask in public has just been added to the available assets.

One of the first executions appearing on out of home formats was a Spanish-language screen in the Washington, DC, transit system (Metro).