Liveposter Meets Tim Bleakley

Do you think dynamic in DOOH makes a difference to a campaign? If so, in what way?

There’s a huge amount of difference dynamic can make to a DOOH campaign, and it’s certainly become more prevalent. Obviously data, context, be it behavioral or environment, all of them make a significant difference. The key however is not to do it with a core creative idea where there’s a genuine added benefit to a campaign being dynamic. Sometimes it can be a very simple data driven idea that makes the media more efficient, it just means the data decides when the ad is going to be triggered, that’s a very basic use for it but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the copy needs to change in any fantastically creative way but its better use of the medium. In other instances you can actually enhance consumer engagement with the ad.  I would say Tate, the campaign that was all about data linked to weather, great works of art, all with fantastic weather scenes in them then depicted exhibitions on the Tate. That’s a great example.  I think dynamic campaigns are an absolute core part of DOOH but only use it when it’s going to enhance everything that you do and not for the sake of doing it.

Tim Bleakly

CEO Ocean Outdoor

Why do you think dynamic still only represents 10% of all digital campaigns in the UK?Do you think brands really get the potential?

Well if you think about it, I think 10% of all digital OOH campaigns are dynamic is actually quite a big number. There’s three points, I think there’s still a lot of lethergy and strategic planning in the creative process. Theres still a lot of screens out there that don’t necessarily have the capability for companies to interact with the hardware and the software, which makes Liveposter and other companies in your space to make those things happen. I think the third thing is just getting the message across to advertisers takes a lot time. Some advertisers are still booking the same media plans year on year, technology is doubling its capabilities every 2 years, and why is that? Perhaps they don’t have time to think about these things and often people like to do things that are really safe. I think the answer is some brands have started to recognise how important it can be, but they’re still in the minority. Actually, dynamic would form about 70% of all the entries this year for the digital creative competition. I think that’s a good reflection of the change but there’s still a huge amount of work to do but it takes time. In the grand context of the medium it’s still very early days, and all of us have got to collectively evangelize to get the message across.

Tell us a bit about the Ocean Outdoor Awards – what are you looking for in a winning campaign?

Our judging process if key – we have had some fantastic support over the years by the judges, particularly the OOH specialists. But if you come through our judging process, in that room you’ve got creative minds, media minds,  and then you’ve got hardened OOH specialists. So your idea has got to have a fantastic creative core to it, some strong strategic thinking, and then if you’ve got a fantastic creative idea that has got some technical capability that you think is going to make something happen, you’re then dealing with people who work in the sector who know if it’s got a chance of happening or not. It’s a very exacting process and I think that’s one of the things that’s held the competition in. People know if you come through that process you have been judged by all of the different tiers within the advertising chain, all of those disciplines. You can’t afford to fault on one. It could be a great creative idea but it’s pie in the sky and never going to happen, and the outdoor guys are going to say it’s just not possible. If it’s a great media idea but it’s got no core campaignable idea that’s creative for the brand within it, the creative guys are going to say what makes this idea fly? You have really got to beat a really hardened group of people who are all specialists in every discipline in the advertising process.

Do you think the Ocean Outdoor Awards will help drive the dynamic market beyond the awards itself?

Great question! I can hand on heart say I think the competition has come a long way to definitely driving greater use of dynamic, and other technical capabilities of the medium right across the sector, and we are hugely proud of that. We have invested over 1 million pounds in B2B marketing as a challenger brand to drive the sector, it’s almost become an obsession for us here and this time of year it takes over the whole business to pull off an event like that. Genuinely, I think it has. What tends to happen each year somebody comes up with an idea that’s not really been done before and if it has done in a tiny way and they enter the competition and the idea is good enough it wins and then obviously the campaign goes live and ultimately gets a lot of PR and then what you find is the following year is a lot of similar awards enter the competition that have picked up on that idea and of course more of those ideas end up on the streets. So there’s a number of examples of that, the very first winner British Airways was a live feed from St Lucia. Live feeds now within the sector, live feeds of content from events and that sort of thing, absolutely commonplace, it was rare back then.

The 2013 and 2014 winners were Twitter with Topshop and Nokia, the use of social media and Twitter interaction with campaigns for digital out-of-home is absolutely commonplace. I think another really interesting one is Women’s Aid who won it with the facial recognition idea and that was a campaign that went global went on to win a Cannes Gold. I would say a third of the entries this year involved facial recognition, well there’s no way if Women’s Aid hadn’t of won that award, got that Cannes Gold, got that publicity that the consciousness of the ability to use facial recognition to do funky things on digital screens. The unique thing about the competition is what drives dynamic use and other use in the sector is we’re not awarding something that has happened, we’re awarding the art of the possible. Somebody that wins are then shortlisted and we work with them and their stakeholders and make it happen, it then happens and attracts global PR. The work then gets entered again along with everyone else for all the other work that’s happened around the world, you get this kind of multiplier effect on something that came from a very embryonic, small idea.

What are your predictions for the DOOH market in 2016?

Tough question actually. I think we’re going to start to see more multiscreen campaigns, by that I mean campaigns that are planned with multiscreen activity. By that I mean the link between DOOH and mobile, I think that’s going to become more commonplace. I also think you’re going to start to see more dynamic campaigns that are less stunt orientated and more networkable ideas, so they’ll go across multiple cities and multiple countries. I think we’re also going to start to see more clever and relevant use of content, so I think content is going to be one of the next big things.