It’s Coming (Out-Of) Home – World Cup 2022 And OOH
Announcement, September 2022
As we progress through 2022, the upcoming World Cup now looms large on the horizon and has just started to come into clear view as the regular football season gets back up and running.
As you may well be aware, the World Cup takes place in Qatar between November 21 and December 18, later this year.
There are lots of questions around the morality of the location; more questions about the timing, in the middle of 'normal' European and other seasons; and even some questions around which country will be runners up (it's coming home..!).
But there is absolutely no question that since the last World Cup, in the summer of 2018, the world is a very different place.
For a start, the last tournament was held - very successfully, to be fair - in Putin’s Russia; secondly, of course, we were still 18 months away from even the beginnings of Covid; and after the then-recent royal wedding, everybody still loved Meghan Markle!
A very great deal has also changed in the last four years in the world of advertising media opportunities - particularly mass-reach broadcast media - and not all for the better.
As one example: Advertising opportunities on television have been adversely affected by the massive growth of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video (notwithstanding recent drop-offs), alongside the launch of Apple TV, Disney+, Paramount + and others. In particular, younger audiences are nowadays much more difficult and much more expensive to reach on tv than when Croatia broke English hearts back in 2018.
As another example: The long-term severe declines in circulation and readership of newspapers and magazines across the board have continued, and whilst some online versions have been journalistically and commercially successful via eg charging paywalls, they certainly haven’t replaced the impactful advertising opportunities gone on the back of the millions of lost sales.
But there is one advertising medium where pretty much everything has grown, developed, and improved in the last four years, namely Out-Of-Home (OOH).
For the purposes of brevity, the following is merely a top-line summary of some of the beneficial changes to the medium since the summer of 2018 but in combination they provide a very potent rationale for OOH being a huge opportunity for advertisers this autumn ahead of, and during, the upcoming World Cup.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, supply of digital OOH screens has massively increased: Route now measures 12,500 digital screens, versus just 5,500 in 2018. And remember that each of those screens offer 6 advertising opportunities.
And of course, those digital screens offer the ultimate in flexibility of deployment: numerically, regionally, by proximity, by day of week, by time of day, etc etc.
Importantly that growth has been across all formats and all sizes so any strategic or creative aim can be addressed by DOOH; be it long term brand-building, short term sales driving, and anything in between.
Furthermore, the creative opportunities are similarly limitless. It’s an area still under-utilised (with, arguably, buyers and sellers both a bit to blame) but one that could be incredibly powerful for topical and reactive messaging (eg after a 6-0 England victory in the semi-final!).
With this growth in supply has come very significant cost-efficiency benefits relative to other media. OOH is not suffering from the ‘lower audiences = higher costs’ problems of other broadcast media, indeed the opposite is true.
If the above all leads to very beneficial ‘buying’ opportunities for this Autumn, then the other really significant and really important area of development since 2018 is that of ‘planning’.
The OOH media owners and, in particular, the specialists, have invested very significantly in planning tools and systems (and have some very talented people managing and applying them). Available time doesn’t allow a thorough breakdown of all their capabilities but suffice to say they each brilliantly combine various data sets to allow any advertiser to pinpoint exactly who they want to reach, in the right place, at the right time.
This can include radius data, location data, mobile retargeting, existing sales information, independent third party data, etc etc…..and is all cross-referenced with the OOH audience data provided by the ever-excellent ROUTE research programme that serves its industry so well.
Add to this the opportunities to deploy budgets with automated and/or programmatic trading systems that were only really being talked about four years ago, then OOH really does look like the medium to lead the charge for awareness, impact, cost efficiency and effectiveness in and around the 2022 World Cup.
One final point to reiterate. The World Cup in Qatar will be, of course, in the prime pre-Christmas shopping period, so whilst audiences across the OOH estate will be as high as ever, being able to reach audiences on the high street and in shopping centres, who expect footfall to increase by around 31% across November and December, should be a particularly attractive and powerful proposition for advertisers.
Indeed, working with Limited Space, we know that 43% of people are planning to watch every or as many games as possible, with 39% agreeing they are likely to purchase a world cup related product. With varying Kick-Off times across multiple peak shopping hours (10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm), further investigation has shown shopping centres as becoming a key environment during the tournament; 30% will use it as a place to mee friends, 22% will use it to purchase items that will enhance the viewing experience and 17% using it as a place to shop before watching games. In fact, with the winter weather not providing the best backdrop for the pint-throwing antics of outdoor beer gardens or fan-zones, 14% will actually use it as a place to watch games; perhaps those looking for the comfort of crowds to either ease their pain or magnify their elation.
Whilst I was at Outsmart, the OOH marketing body (prior to the last World Cup), we suggested that there were four drivers that made the medium more powerful than ever before, and than any other medium: Impact, Action, Relevance and Creativity.
However true that was then, it is far, far truer now.
Impact, Action, Relevance, Creativity.
(I’d also suggest it is what England need from their midfield in Qatar, but that’s another discussion!).
Alan has held senior positions in all areas of the media industry over the past 35 years. He worked at AMV.BBDO full service creative agency; PHD and MEC media specialist agencies;
Associated Newspapers (on the advertising sales side); and more recently was CEO of Outsmart, the Out-of-Home trade marketing body, overseeing it’s rebrand and relaunch. He has
also worked for 2 years in the Venture Capital world, as part of a team overseeing investments of cash and media inventory combinations to start-up businesses. Alan joined LSL as a Non-Executive Director in the Autumn of 2016.