As customers head outside, OOH carries on ‘new potency’ as devices burn out


As the one-year anniversary reaches COVID-related lockdowns in the U.S., the OAAA and The Harris Poll’s “Consumer Insights & Intent: Q1 2021” report shows that OOH (Out-of-home) advertising could come back to greater prominence in the marketing mix as some customers start commuting and embrace outdoor activities more, especially those in major cities. At the same time, digital device burnout has resulted in increased attention paid to OOH ads and less awareness of digital ads, a trend that is likely to continue as the pandemic persists.

In a press release, John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, stated, “People are eager to make up for a lost time,” “They’re looking to get back out into the world with a vengeance. Brands should meet consumers where they are, which will be anywhere but at home on Zoom.”

The study also indicates that OOH could be successful with customers who, particularly among millennials and Gen Zers, have increased their use of tap-to-pay, QR codes, and augmented reality (AR). In particular, more than 40 percent of respondents are interested to learn through tap-to-pay apps and QR codes about special sales or deals available. Similarly, 78% of millennials are searching for safe outdoor activities, while 82% of Gen Zers are looking for outdoor dining options, offering more areas where OOH advertisements could be successful.

This shift forward into OOH and away from at-home activations on platforms like Zoom has been marked by several recent marketing campaigns. A multi-channel campaign was launched by Dole Packaged Foods to raise awareness of food insecurity and the negative effects of improper nutrition on personal health in several cities through outdoor projections that resemble the labels of nutrition facts on packaged foods.

After the channel suffered setbacks during the early stages of the pandemic, the rise in attention paid to OOH advertising comes after losses that could be reversed by the trends in consumer behaviour reported in the OAAA report, including 75 percent of consumers who are tuning out digital device ads due to increased time spent in front of screens. The survey evaluated 1,000 U.S. adults in a representative sample and was conducted from Jan. 15-20.

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