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How Advertisers Are Losing Out On Their OOH Because of Faded Material


MANILA, Philippines - As most of us in the OOH industry always peer out our windows when traveling, looking out for billboards and latest executions, I found myself being aghast at the number of billboards we have these days which have faded material.

Recently, I was traveling along the STAR Tollway and came across the special execution of Jollibee which showed a bucket of what what was supposed to look like Chicken Joy.  Truth be told, there was nothing in the special execution that would make me want to stop for a Chicken Joy.  The material was faded and the Chicken Joy was no longer brown at all.

This is not an isolated case.  All throughout EDSA, you will find a slew of billboards whose material has been weather-beaten.  The problem with these ads is that advertisers lose out on their placements because they no longer create maximum impact.  With the exception of skin whitening ads, faded billboard materials are an eyesore and can cast ill effects on OOH media as a whole.

Even then, with skin whitening ads, there is a limit to faded material whereby the models turn into white ladies and look more like ghosts rather than the brand ambassadors they are cut out to be.

So who is to blame for all this?  Well, the fact is that inks from printers in general may not necessarily of better quality these days owing to economics.  But that is not to say that all printers produce tarpaulins with easily fading inks.  Printers from the OHAAP still deliver above par and light-fast inks.  Billboard suppliers or structure owners have little or no control over this because tarpaulins are usually printed by clients themselves using their own printing supplier contracted by the company's centralized purchasing department.  As we know it, the one with the least price per square foot wins the annual printing contract without care for the fact that the output should be exposed to the elements 24/7.

Moving on down the line, the next in the firing squad is the OOH or media agency.  In this day and age of digital, there has to be a better way to monitor the condition of the billboards whereby a central online platform can be viewed by both agency and client to show the latest photo of the subject billboard.  It should be a central repository whereby client can easily draw out the picture through a search bar or hashtag.

Although there has been some improvement because of cloud computing and Google Drives, still, that doesn't cut it for me.  Why?  Because 22 years ago, we already had an ARK.  The ARK was an archive of all the monitoring photos of every single billboard we had for Globe and Nestle and other brands under UniversalMcCann.  A little bit crude for today's use, it was already state of the art in 2001 as supplied to us by our OOH partner then Poster Publicity.  The technology was built in the UK on a Web 1.0 framework.  Hey, aren't we supposed to be in Web 3.0 today?

Drawing this quick analysis to a close, I think this faded Chicken Joy could have been easily addressed back then if the agency had the right tools.  I look forward to the day when we are taking photos of billboards with newspapers in the foreground are a thing of the past because we are using a standard platform or archive which enables users to take pics with time-stamp and geo-tag.  This way we say goodbye to fraudulent reports which still pop up every now and then.

At this point, everyone on agency side talks about digital and digital transformation.  Let's put our money where our mouth is.  If you're still pushing around emailed photo reports and having another Viber group with suppliers for monitoring photos, let's face it, we have to hasten the tempo of our OOH management.

The writer, Lloyd Tronco, is an Out-Of-Home Media Strategist.  He is a constant subject matter expert on Out-Of-Home Media and Digital Signage.  He is also the industry journalist for OOH in the Philippines. 

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