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The journey to a new era of OOH advertising

More often than not these days, people are looking at their digital gadgets – a topic we have spent much time writing about, along with online marketing.

But advertisers in Hong Kong are still hard at work leveraging outdoor platforms for branding and marketing, with out-of-home (OOH) ads being very prevalent, especially in areas with high human traffic.

OOH, in particular, has evolved considerably. In the following pages, we look at the latest innovations in the city.

It’s no secret Hong Kong is a densely populated city. We have written many pieces about what you can do to prepare for “digitalisation” and how to master online marketing. Digital platforms’ importance is already a widely discussed topic among marketers, but OOH media is still a very useful way to spread your message.

Our streets are busier than ever.

Some people deliberately limit themselves from being glued to a screen all the time. But according to WARC’s global ad trends report, spend on digital out-of-home (DOOH) such as video content or digital signs located in high-traffic public locations, including streets, airports, bus shelters, subways and malls, is expected to grow 10.1% each year from 2018 to 2021.

Some of the city’s, biggest, loudest and greatest ad campaigns are featured offline – think the cross- harbour tunnel billboards or the massive MTR and bus dominations.

This Master Report, in collaboration with JCDecaux Transport, will delve into the transformation of outdoor advertising across transportation hubs and how OOH has transformed itself to reach new heights.

Canon EOS R Digital Diorama Campaign in MTR Hong Kong Station

The out-of-home (OOH) industry has been going through a media revolution over the past few years and is set to evolve more rapidly than ever. The combination of data, creativity, innovation, engagement, mobile convergence and developments on digital and interactive platforms, has given advertisers new and exciting ways to reach targeted consumers.

Shirley Chan, managing director of JCDecaux Transport, describes how JCDecaux Transport has coped with the media evolution to experience good growth in 2018 to continue its reign as the king of outdoor media; being crowned in first place in the Out­ of ­Home Media of the Year* category in Marketing magazine’s Media Report 2018.

“Outdoor advertising plays a dominant role in the media industry nowadays, but due to tougher competition and a challenging landscape, we have to be more creative and innovative than ever,” she said.

“The company’s top­line momentum began early this year, given that MTR Corporation and JCDecaux Transport introduced new advertising formats in the market, while also progressively implementing a digital transformation strategy.”

This transformation included reaching another milestone in early Q2 with the launch of a new audience targeting platform in digital OOH, which is automated to provide more comprehensive audience measurements and more precise micro­audience targeting, opening to new revenue growth.

“We are very excited to be able to launch this truly revolutionary innovation in our digital out­of­home (DOOH) media which is also the world’s first metro network to launch this powerful OOH platform. This allows advertisers to exploit the flexibility of DOOH. This is only a first step, which is essential in our evolution going forward,” Chan said.

“In strengthening the DOOH platform, we also announced the launch of its content programme, a content management system for dynamic delivery of DOOH campaigns. The new platform enables brands to make and deliver dynamic and contextually relevant ads by utilising data feeds such as weather, social media, financial index, location, voting, proximity and other custom data feeds.”

The move to DOOH is a two­pronged challenge for the company. As well as needing to offer advertisers the back­end automated media planning systems to run campaigns more effectively and in real­time, it must also install the physical infrastructure in the form of digital panels.

That’s why it also announced the vision for the future in DOOH with the expansion of “the Digital Network” as well as several new and innovative digital products such as the new “Digital Panel Zone” in MTR Central station and Mong Kok station; the new “Digital Diorama”, the largest 4K ultra­high definition LED screen ever deployed in MTR advertising; and the “Interactive Digital Panel Zone” at Hong Kong and Airport stations in Airport Express advertising.|

The Digital Diorama, strategically installed at the junction of MTR Hong Kong station and MTR Central Station, is comprised of a 4K ultra­high definition LED screen and connected with a touchscreen panel and a Poster­on­Wall extension, enabling a better passenger interaction.

In addition to playing 4K video ads, Digital Diorama broadcasts real­time weather conditions and related dynamic information using the newest emerging technologies such as “day parting”, as well as offering instant interactions with passengers through multiple innovative functions of the screen and touch panel, allowing for a multitude of creative possibilities.

Despite the increasing digital deployment, static and impact advertising formats are still the steadfast way that brand messages can reach consumers instantly, and it is the root of outdoor advertising.
The company is known to fuse imagination with realism, creating creative solutions that indulge with special designs such as Qantas’ “transformed airport boarding gates campaign”, Studio City’s “ultra­realistic 3D dinosaur display”; and the full in­train LEGO domination etc, which helped advertisers create high awareness to stand out from their peers.

Creating compelling live experiences to engage, entertain and educate consumers is also on the rise for OOH.

The “Experiential Zone” at MTR advertising is a cross­media promotional activity which encourages two­way interaction and direct physical immersion into a brand.

Memorable events included the MTR advertising “e­sport Soccer Fever”; Madam Tussauds’ “first­ever AR and beacon interactive campaign”; Whirlpool’s “the Journey of Thrilling Sound” VR campaign; and Nespresso’s “Happiness is the Little Things” campaign.

When combined with the latest technologies of virtual reality, augmented reality and customised participation souvenirs – e­photos, interactive games and social sharing games – it can effectively deliver authentic and relevant marketing experiences that create a deeper brand engagement and long­term advocacy.

Lancôme Holiday Wônders Declaring Happiness Campaign in Hong Kong International Airport

JCDecaux Transport has also unveiled the largest digital LED screen at Hong Kong International Airport. This first­ ever pair of Spectacular Digitals are a giant digital LED with high quality in resolution for displays.

Situated at both arrival halls at Hong Kong International Airport, this massive sized and high­definition LED technology gives brands the ability to deliver innovative, customisable dynamic content and premium exposure to millions of travellers.

Furthermore, to increase its relevance along the customer journey and to create customer engagement, the “Experiential Zone” at Hong Kong International Airport, paired with the 360 Digital Totem – the first edgeless four­face LED screen launched in Asia and since replicated in other airports – further induces experiential experiences for air passengers.

Powered by new technologies, OOH campaigns now revolve around creative impact and innovation, and interactions with consumers have become more prominent via virtual reality, augmented reality and new mobile technologies such as NFC and beacons to ensure passenger engagement levels.

Such technologies and interactions may allow brands to personalise the consumer’s experience and even allow immediate interaction; an OOH campaign perceived primarily as a brand ­awareness driver can now become an instrument in driving real ­time purchases.

Partnered with Airport Authority Hong Kong, the company has proudly launched a digital O2O advertising solution on the award­winning “HKG My Flight” mobile app, developed by the Airport Authority Hong Kong, to connect with passengers and maximise the audience­reach synergy of Hong Kong International Airport advertising.

This O2O advertising solution is destined to create a personalised passenger experience via the mobile app. Air Passengers can enjoy real ­time flight information, airport navigation and connection to free Wi­Fi upon arrival at the Hong Kong International Airport.

Synergy effects are also created with the digital advertising panels, together with the My Flight app, to capture passengers from all round, aiming to draw real footfall to airport shops.

Outstanding entertaining and impactful advertising displays can also be experienced at Macau International Airport. Studio City has brought several interesting campaigns to life such as the first­ever 3D dinosaurs and 3D Alien displays on the carousel belts at the arrivals baggage reclaim area, taking interactive entertainment to a whole new and exciting level.

Finally, the OOH advertising at Ngong Ping 360 and Pacific Place, one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious shopping malls, has seen JCDecaux Transport raise the bar again with new sales strategies to specifically target affluent shoppers in Hong Kong and international tourists.

2018 has been a fruitful year for JCDecaux Transport. In addition to being ranked first place for Out­of­Home Media of the Year, the company has won more than 20 prestigious awards in Hong Kong and overseas, including Market Leader Award, Best Outdoor Innovation Award, Best Use of Technology, Best Engagement Strategy, Most Innovative Advertising Agency Award, Asia Business Achiever Award, The Best Engagement Strategy Award, Media Brand of the Year and The BIZZ Business Excellence Award, to name a few.

“With the passion of JCDecaux Transport, while remaining true to our founding value of design, quality and innovation, and together with the tremendous support of our business partners, and professional dedication of our creative and sales and marketing teams, we will continue to invest in physical assets, systems, data and content,” Chan said.

“With these, JCDecaux Transport is striving to reach new heights and offer advertisers unbeatable OOH solutions and extraordinary experiences for our customers. The vision for JCDecaux Transport signals the beginning of a new era for the out-of-­home industry in Hong Kong.”

*Marketing magazine’s Out-of-Home Media of the Year 2018” was based on a survey conducted among advertising decision-makers of client advertisers and marketing services agencies in Hong Kong.

ABOUT JCDecaux Transport

JCDecaux Transport is the main subsidiary of the JCDecaux Group, the number one outdoor advertising company worldwide. Established in 1976, JCDecaux Transport is the market leader in outdoor advertising in Hong Kong and has been managing the advertising sales concessions of MTR* and Airport Express for MTR Corporation for over 35 years.

The company also operates the advertising concessions for Hong Kong International Airport, Macau International Airport, Pacific Place Passages and Ngong Ping 360.

* MTR refers to Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line, South Island Line, Tung C hung Line, Tseung Kwan O Line and Disneyland Resort Line.

This article is brought to you by JCDecaux Transport.

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