COVID-19 is “creating a wholesale reimagining of the structure and pattern of OOH campaign planning”, says Nicole Lonsdale, chief planning officer at Kinetic.

As lockdowns ease – and sometimes re-tighten – there is once again a role for OOH, but brands need to respond to what are in some ways quite radical differences in the way people are spending time outside of the home.

According to OOH agency Kinetic, in the period following the UK’s ‘Super Saturday’ of July 4 when much of the hospitality sector was able to resume operations, albeit in a much restricted form, impacts were up 6% week-on-week and have continued to grow as more people have felt comfortable in resuming previous social activities.

Writing for WARC, Nicole Lonsdale explains that audiences are not returning uniformly in different environments to pre-COVID levels.

In the week following Super Saturday – week 16 of the crisis – UK supermarket impacts were at 71% vs pre-lockdown – and supermarket environment audiences have been the most resilient throughout the lockdown.

Roadside was the environment that bounced back the fastest with impacts at 61% vs pre-lockdown. But rail and tube impacts have continued with a slower growth trajectory suggesting the impact of home working and the furlough scheme remains significant.

COVID has essentially killed the rush hour and the two daily pillars around which many urban OOH brand strategies were built in the past, Lonsdale notes. “This is perhaps the most profound change we are seeing,” she says.

“People are driving more and working from home more, with fewer people travelling into the centre of cities, meaning they are more concentrated in non-urban, suburban and smaller peripheral towns.”

She expects the sector to double-down on digital screen tech and real-time travel data usage, enabling urban OOH to respond to the huge change to travel and lifestyle behaviour.

“In this sense the enormous investment in digital technology in the years prior to the crisis will enable OOH to re-calibrate and respond to the new normal,” Lonsdale says.

For more details, read Nicole Lonsdale’s article in full: How to plan for the new out-of-home normal.

Sourced from WARC