I couldn’t sleep last night, not because of the wind or some nagging worry about all the usual ‘life stuff’, but oddly enough because I was thinking about how I think we should start presenting plans for arguably my favourite ‘medium’ outdoor. Yes I am that weird.
For a few weeks now, Craft has been kicking around the possibilities and routes into creating a longer thought piece around outdoor advertising and the implications for brands and businesses. But given some of the announcements at the Snap Partner Summit yesterday, and the conversations we’ve been having with a range of people, it felt right to at least give a sneak peak into one area that we think is potentially interesting for how we strategically think about this ‘channel’ and the way we lay it out in comms planning.
As technology continues to push the boundaries, and blur the lines between the physical and virtual, we need to consider how we present outdoor planning with; brands, creative agencies and perhaps even the partners we have on those plans.
The parameters of geography, of context, reporting and beyond are all undeniably important when considering out of home, but for now let’s chunk it up a little rather than break it down into fractals.
Outdoor isn’t (just) physical
Of course at its core outdoor is still ‘paper’ and digital sites in all shapes and sizes, massive banners and unique builds, down to coffee cups and petrol pumps, and everything in between. The bread and butter of the medium, and arguably where our thinking tends to head to first.
But it is also what we see on our big screens, from the bus stop in Coronation street, the advertising on billboards in films, and TV shows (that is often added in, during post), to the pitchside hoarding at football matches, list goes on.
It’s in the games we play, our escapist worlds; from Graft Theft Auto, down to the bus stop 6 sheets in games like Critical Ops, and Wheelie King 3D. It's also the fan-created hommages to brands found in sandbox games like Mine-Craft and Animal Crossing.
And this is where I get most excited when thinking ahead.
Anyone who has read Snow Crash, Ready Player One, or generally loves to geek out about the potential of the MetaVerse, of MR, AR, VR knows that this is the other space. Outdoor planning needs to be considered in these spaces too. The ‘traditional’ physical; landscape when seen through Snap, or their new spectacles has the ability to completely alter what outdoor can do, what it can look like, all whilst anchored in the reality of physical locations.
We’ve seen the potential already of this already with the mapping of Carnaby Street, London, that enables shared views and interactivity of a physical space.
Virtual hangout spaces and tech from the likes of RecRoom or Gather to name a few whilst still ‘small’ also offer opportunities at this stage for focused longer-term presence. Perhaps in the same way that we still have relics of decade old painted advertising on the sides of buildings (always seems to Bovril) through to the Piccadilly lights.
The opportunity for presence in our virtual worlds is as broad as our imaginations will allow. And for the more performance minded among us, perhaps more accountable too.
What does this mean for planning and delivery?
As set out earlier in this piece, I wanted to chunk up, rather than fractionalise. As we start to be asked to plan out Q4, I would urge planners to consider how we present and introduce outdoor planning differently:
How budgets are allocated, and how time is spent on creating, planning and delivering this and how it’s measured, will be dictated by the needs of the business and the role of the brand in that space and the intended recipient audience.
But this is certainly the starting point for how I would like to start thinking about outdoor, and perhaps poses the question, who do we need to talk to first, because it’s not who you might think.
Sam Fowler - Strategy Partner