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Changing landscape

They say that this is going to be the golden age of Philippine infrastructure.

With President Duterte’s flagship Build Build Build program, we should see the metropolitan landscape changing as more roads and highways are built, and additional rail transit facilities are installed, to name a few.

But what’s also becoming more apparent is the growing number of billboards and other outdoor advertisements adorning the streets or placed on buildings, especially along major thoroughfares like EDSA and C-5.

The importance of outdoor advertisements as a means of getting one’s message across to as many people as possible is growing as the traffic situation worsens. When your vehicle is moving at one to three kilometers per hour, just imagine how many minutes you stare at a billboard, especially one that is huge, lighted, well-positioned, with a handsome or beautiful actor/actress or model featured in it.

According to Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), today’s out-of-home (OOH) medium offers new technologies, new formats, and more creative thinking to help advertisers and their agencies take their message further.

It said that the industry has embraced innovation in all parts of the business to keep pace with where advertising and the consumer are headed.

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For the Philippines, OOH has been gaining increasing relevance with the growing BPO industry concentrated in urban centers, increasing traffic congestion and construction of new public infrastructure, it has been noted.

“The OOH industry is introducing new digital technologies and convergence, new lighting and materials, more innovative business practices, and a new audience ratings system. OOH reaches consumers no matter what their media consumption habits are. It goes where most other media can’t go to surround and immerse consumers out of home, where they spend 70 percent of their waking hours, “ it added

OAAA explained that OOH’s versatile formats offer ‘blank canvas’ creative potential to break through the clutter and hold people’s attention, wherever they work, shop, travel and play.

It said that OOH is highly adaptable, offering virtually unlimited potential. It can be anything from billboards to digital boards, from bus wraps to kiosks; anywhere, from highways to city streets, from airports to shopping malls; and anytime, from morning ‘til night with dynamic content and always on displays that grab people’s attention when they’re on the go.

As correctly pointed out by OAAA, in a world of clicks, likes and page views, out of home advertising is more of a core media buy than ever before. OOH can’t be blocked, skipped or viewed by bots. OOH is always on surrounding and immersing audiences with real, powerful advertising, whether consumers live, work, travel, shop and play, it said.

But outdoor advertising can accomplish much more.

Mac Graphics Carranz (MGC), for instance, provides free advertising space to public service announcements, charitable causes and traffic safety bulletins. During times of natural disturbances, digital billboards can flash typhoon signal alerts, flood and road condition advisories and even tsunami warnings in coastal areas.

As part of its commitment to enhance road safety for motorists and pedestrians, MGC is also offering space to educate drivers on road courtesy and traffic rules, and provide reminders on driving regulations like the seatbelt law and the anti-distracted driving rules.

MGC was recently chosen by San Miguel Properties as the exclusive operator for OOH advertising platforms in a host of new locations under the ownership of San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

The partnership agreement grants MGC the sole right to offer clients outdoor advertising spaces in major high-traffic locations including the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway, Star Tollways and the new NAIA Expressway (NAIA-X), which are all operated by the SMC Group.

The media agency’s initial plans include supplying tollway streamers, bridgeway streamers, toll gate posters, column banners and lamp post banners. 

To add further value to these platforms, MGC will be upgrading these spaces soon by featuring top-of-the line LED billboards, light boxes and other new outdoor technologies that allow for increased ad visibility and conversion.

As one of the country’s top OOH provider, MGC provides clients with installation and dismantling of billboards, fabrication of signages, and conceptualization of creative materials.

The partnership with San Miguel adds to MGC’s list of ad space locations, which currently include prime spots along EDSA, North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Ortigas Avenue, Shaw Boulevard and C-5.

MGC also operates in multiple spots outside the Metro Manila proper and has initiated talks with some city mayors in the United States and other Asian countries for the development of OOH platforms.

But with the growing importance of outdoor advertising comes the need to be more careful with the advertisements that are displayed on these various platforms. Remember the outrage that resulted after a billboard ad displayed the message “Nakatikim ka na ba ng Kinse Anos” referring to a 15-year old brandy being sold by a local distillery but also suggests something else?

In the United States, there was this nationwide billboard campaign asking “Still a Virgin? For Help, Call 888-742-4335” which created controversy in a growing number of cities there. It turned out that the whole thing was a flash marketing campaign to create awareness for The Virginity Hit, an “R”-rated feature comedy from Sony Pictures.

We cannot choose who gets to see these outdoor advertisements. The Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines which is guided by the principle of self-regulation cannot really prohibit its members from coming out with suggestive, lewd outdoor advertisements. As this industry grows, there is a need to keep a close watch on what they are doing and possibly come up with stricter government regulations on the content.

For comments, e-mail at mareyes@philstarmedia.com

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