WPP’s Head Sees Big Growth Ahead For OOH, Led By Digital

The guy who runs the world’s largest advertising company expects the out of home media industry, led by digital OOH, is in for a big recovery in the years ahead.

Interviewed for the recent World Out of Home Organization’s virtual European Forum, WPP CEO Mark Read, Chief Executive Officer of WPP, predicts rises of 31 per cent this year and 41 per cent next year for UK OOH revenues, and 22 per cent and 20 per cent respectively for the U.S. market.

He noted how digital OOH has grown by 15 per cent at a time when OOH overall declined by 30 per cent.

“The key question is where OOH fits in an e-commerce dominated business world,” said Read, interviewed World Out of Home Organization (WOO) President Tom Goddard. “OOH builds brands, raises awareness and gives brands stature, and with OOH now being increasingly digitized, this adds the strengths of giving campaigns more relevance and speed and the ability to be tailored to time of day, different audiences and updated messages. Continuing digitization should enable the medium to move up from its 7 per cent share of global ad revenue.

“If I were running a campaign for WPP I’d probably put it on OOH in major airports. I’d certainly much rather be running an OOH media company than a magazine or newspaper these days.”

Read also warned of the danger of clients putting greater investment into performance media than brand building media, and was sceptical of the trend for client “in-housing,” embedding agency teams in clients’ offices. “ A number of WPP firms provide this service, notably The & Partnership and Hogarth, and we can make our offerings faster, more agile, more responsive and reduce the volume and cost of content.

“But when everyone is working remotely I don’t know why clients want to obsess about in-housing, when there is no house for them to be in. We’ve been working remotely and our revenues and client satisfaction scores have still gone up. I think it’s challenging enough for our clients to run their businesses as it is without running creative organizations.”

Under Read WPP’s sees its main activity as ideas and creativity, helping clients connect with consumers, build relationships and drive sales in an increasing number of ways, including social media, influencers and other channels.

“We have provided a mobile app for Delta Airlines and commerce sites for Sainsburys and Net-a Porter  and do  a lot of Tech and CRM work for other clients. If we are just tied to pure media advertising, we don’t have the same growth prospects. We have to broaden the offer.”

WPP is pledged to eliminate its carbon emissions in the supply chain, Read said. “We’ll use the power of our $60 billion billings to drive change in the industry in the next nine years.”

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