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Lessons from lockdown: Meet four industry experts

For those in lockdown, we are shopping local, walking local and traveling local for our essential needs.

Over the last 18 months, we’ve all learnt a thing or two from previous lockdown data.

We asked a few industry experts to share their trends and insights to help us navigate how to plan and buy OOH during these more complex times and ultimately help us answer: How can we use what we have learnt to better utilise OOH?

We spoke to four leading experts about the trends they have seen across their networks. Read on for insights from Tim Murphy, oOh!media chief sales officer, Max Eburne, JCDecaux CCO, Jamie Hollebone, Shopper head of revenue, and Paul Butler, VMO managing director.

Shopper's Hollebone explains the landscape well: “Working from home means fewer passengers on public transport and traditional peak hours disappear. To comply with restrictions and avoid crowds, Australians are living more locally and often within 5km from home. People feel comfort in what is familiar and trips to the local shops or the local park are a way for people to break their routine...

It is for this reason that retail OOH in local and convenience-based shopping centres continue to deliver audience stability for advertisers. We’ve seen from previous lockdown events that Australian’s go to the supermarket to get out of the house, with 47% of shoppers spending more at their local supermarket compared to a few months ago (Shopper Study: Shopper Trends August 2021).”

Tim Murphy, Chief Sales Officer, oOh! Media adds: “Aussies are still moving around, just a little closer to home than we used to. Formats such as suburban-based Street Furniture and the Retail environment are proving to be powerful channels to reach and engage with Aussies at this critical time.”

Tim suggests to “ brief with a buyer-graphic in mind and be open-minded to location and format. In recent months, this has been further proven to drive campaign performance and positive outcomes for you and your client”.

Paul Butler, MD VMO shares how they are seeing consumers shop almost exclusively in their community. “We’re seeing consistent visitation across our small-medium, high-transacting local retail and petro & convenience locations, which have become key community hubs as consumers focus on essentials such as grocery, pharmacy and convenience goods.

From a planning perspective, brands need to prioritise strategic targeting of out-of-home screens to capture the maximum available audiences. If there was ever a time to avoid high-value bundling offers, it is now.”

Max Eburne Chief Commercial Officer at JCDecaux Australia thoughtfully offers two buying strategies for consideration... “Two immediate strategies that should be considered relate to i) Agility, and ii) mid-term targeting of displaced audiences.

The long-term digitisation of Out-of-Home assets has created the perfect platform for agility, however it’s the recent advent of programmatic trading that truly brings this to life. Programmatic enables advertisers to turn-on & turn-off Out-of-Home in real-time to ensure right message, right audience, right time.

At the other end of the scale, there is the opportunity for brands to embrace the ‘new normal’ and target displaced lockdown audiences over longer periods of time within their communities through more traditional Out-of-Home asset types.”

There is a sentiment across each of these vendors to consider our regional centres and to more strategically select your locations and audiences.

Tim Murphy oOh! Media says, “There is a genuine opportunity to use both Digital and Classic OOH in this current environment to connect with audiences across the country.

Jamie Hollebone Shopper media adds: “don’t dismiss the power of regional markets! Outside of relocation and migration from metropolitan areas, we’re seeing an increasingly cashed up segment of the population who are driving retail spending outside of city centres.”

Paul Butler, VMO suggests that it’s less about location and more about considering “that all screens in out-of-home, especially retail, aren’t created equally. The visibility of a screen and its ability to captivate and hold attention are logical ways of judging the quality of screen formats.

Max Eburne, JCDecaux suggests to ‘target displaced lockdown audiences [by offering] advertisers the perfect platform to drive long-term, always-on messaging deep into Australia’s residential communities.”

Finally, we asked each of our experts to leave us with a golden nugget to chew on.

Top tips from the experts

Tim Murphy, oOh! Media

We have seen that every time restrictions are eased there is a huge boom in audience and demand for quality OOH. So be confident in planning ahead and making sure your brand benefits this summer as Aussies get out and about across the entire country.

Be confident in your planning and buying that with the elevated flexibility and transparency around audience data, we [the industry] will work with you to ensure strong audience delivery and ROI.

Max Eburne, JCD

Planning Out-of-Home in the current COVID-impacted market could be seen as challenging, but the acceleration of data, technology and platforms within our channel, as well as unprecedented levels of flexibility, ensure that Out-of-Home is a genuine consideration even during lockdown. Fifteen months into the pandemic, all Out-of-Home media companies have significant experience in navigating the challenges, and near real-time data to understand audience movements, so engage with them and collaborate on relevant opportunities.

On an industry level, it’s also great to see initiatives such as the IAB’s ‘DOOH Buyers Guide’ which will continue to educate on all matters Out-of-Home.

Jamie Hollebone, Shopper Media

Maintain advertising to ensure brands stay top of mind. With shoppers spending both more time and money on purchases, going silent could be detrimental for a brand especially in categories where competitors are noisy. Recent SMI results have shown 25% growth in total market advertising spend for H1 2021 vs 2020, driven by higher levels of consumer confidence, spending and product availability in market (SMI Jan-Jun 21 vs 20)

Paul Butler, VMO

Data and technology are every planner’s friend.

Clients should plan retail OOH campaigns with premium inventory and consider quality attributes to maximise the effectiveness of format selection - choose only formats and locations that deliver the best audience attention and in turn, ROI for your brands.

Thanks for your time boys. If you have something to share from your Lessons in Lockdown, we’d love to hear from you please email us to get involved in our next client spotlight at


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