Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in May-Jun 2018

The best online is OOH

How OOH is set to bolster digital marketing in Pakistan.

I abhor sweeping statements, but this is an exception. The reason I am compelled to make use of one is to nullify the digital hypnosis affecting my fellow marketers, so they can see what a honking, quivering, overinflated bubble online advertising is. David Ogilvy once said that “our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.”

Yet, the premise of the digital advertising industry is built on such jargon that we have learnt to throw around and everyone has to believe in. Forget all the scandals around hidden margins, dubious metrics of #viewability and useless bot traffic; the founding principle has always been “reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right message, is an effective way to advertise.”

So based on trust (fuelled by what is fashionable), an increasing amount of advertising money is flowing away from traditional advertising into digital advertising in Pakistan. However, while Google and Facebook have committed to a Gold Standard and are cleaning up digital advertising, the party could end abruptly if our advertising industry doesn’t commit to its own gold standard. Although there are no easy answers to the challenges we are facing, smart marketers around the world are looking at new and creative ways to brand build and drive sales in areas where ad-blocking and viewability don’t apply. And their unanimous response is simple: The best online is offline... and OOH!

Until not so long ago, OOH was globally perceived as expensive, lacking in measurable data and generally difficult to enter. However, this perception has changed over the past few years. In developed markets, this shift has been fuelled by the advent of automated trading platforms in OOH, which have significantly lowered the entry threshold and swept away barriers to access. As a result, OOH has become more efficient, easy to purchase, transparent and available in real-time. The shift is visible when you see fantastic OOH campaigns that make use of digital technology and link social media campaigns with on-ground activation.

Digital OOH screens offer a raft of new ‘broadcast’ opportunities, enabling OOH media to become more sophisticated, measurable and deliver new routes to market. From live social media feeds to vehicle and facial recognition, audio enablement, geo-targeting to temperature triggers and daypart targeting, the possibilities of OOH media are growing.

The campaign by Renault uses real-time activation that allows for dynamic delivery, based on an environmental trigger. This means advertisers only pay for playouts when a target vehicle is stationary at the traffic lights.

Connecting digital to OOH takes targeted messaging to a different level, translating into the ability to provide smarter, more relevant content to viewers. This encapsulates the original intent and thinking behind advertising: to engage and provide useful information to the public. Yes engagement, oh engagement... what crimes on digital have been committed in thy name!

In Saudi Arabia, the most prevalent mass media is print and OOH. But you mostly see men in them because showing women is tricky. So, when Al Rajhi Bank, a leading Islamic bank in Saudi Arabia, promoted Laki, a personalised card for women, their agency, FP7 Riyadh, set out to show how the card was unique to each woman and created the first OOH ad in Saudi Arabia featuring women, but without breaking any rules. They used mirrors on MUPIs (Mobilier Urbain Pour l’Information or outdoor information panels) with a camera linked to a Near-Field Communication (NFC) device, a Bluetooth beacon and the message: ‘Discover a card that’s unique to you’. The beacon inside each MUPI sent notifications to any woman who passed by the panel. As she passed by, she saw herself framed within the context of an Al Rajhi bank ad that was unique to her. She could then give permission to have her picture taken, have it sent to her mobile and then share it with whomever she wanted to. Every share became an ad for the bank. Furthermore, a link allowed women to contact the bank directly and start the application process.


Umair Saeed is COO, Blitz. umair.saeed@blitz.pk