Awards entry season: prizes that celebrate the best of DOOH

Award nominations can be a huge boost for companies looking to make a name for themselves

Award nominations can be a huge boost for companies looking to make a name for themselves

As the summer months approach, awards entries deadlines start to pile up. While there are several awards for this sector, we’ve chosen three that look at the soul of DOOH in terms of content: Ocean Outdoor, The Love Content Awards, and Doohdas.

The Doohdas awards, it has to be said, are not exclusively content-focused. The awards were launched in 2012 and for this year’s edition 13 categories, plus a Grand Prix, were available for submission. Next year’s Doohdas will be even bigger with the number of categories doubling.

Among last year’s winners were plenty of new names and projects that many might not have been aware of, such as Akqa (which won in ‘Customer Experience’ for its NatWest in-branch signage project) or System Nine Media (which bagged the ‘Content and Creative’ award for a history wall project for the Deinzbank).

Doohdas has an international focus and the awards themselves are purely virtual. The entry and results are online and there is no dinner and networking event. To enter you also have to part with £180 and the closing date for submissions is September 30th. Unfortunately, there is also no opportunity to glimpse of the entries in advance, so we don’t yet know the quality of what will be on show.

Love Content, the awards programme organised by The Screen, does give us a window to view its entries online. Lisa Goldstein, organiser of the event, says: “Now on its third year, Love Content has morphed and evolved, reflecting the changes of the industry and seeking to provide the fairest result possible on content creation and DOOH applications.”

The number of Love Content awards reduced to six this time around and companies were only able to enter into one category. Projects could only be entered as long as they happened between May 2012 and May 2013. Four industry experts, unrelated to the entries, make up the judging panel. The submissions deadline for Love Content has now passed, with the awards ceremony to be held at a lunch in October at the Hospital Club.

The DOOH Innovation category saw a further twist in the judging procedure, with all members of The Screen association invited to vote on the nominees. The ballot, also held at the Hospital Club, saw five media owners competing for this category, each presenting their entries accompanied by a previously submitted video. Since DOOH is so linked to the environment where it is installed and is often dependant on the public’s reaction, a video is by far the best way appreciate it.

Media owner Ocean Outdoor launched its own competition four years ago. The idea, according to Richard Malton, the company’s marketing director, was to kindle creativity using the digital medium as a rich DOOH platform: “We wanted to get away from the static poster,” says Malton. “We wanted creative agencies and brands to understand that DOOH has many possibilities and applications and we own some of the best spots in the country to highlight top content in the best way.”

The Ocean Outdoor Digital Competition has only two categories: ‘DOOH Techniques’ and ‘Interactive and Experiential’. All entries must be brand new projects that have not yet been released for the market. Last year there were 40 entries and 350 people attended the awards ceremony at Waterloo Imax, where these creative masterpieces were screened.

Entry for Ocean Outdoor is free and runs until August 30th. What is best about these awards is that winners will see their campaign come to life across Ocean Outdoor’s DOOH estate. The grand prize for the DOOH Techniques will receive advertising space up to the value of £100,000. The Experiential category will have advertising space for one full weekend on Eat Street at Westfield London. The breakfast awards meeting is to be held at the Waterloo Imax in October.

While awards are great events to run and recognise excellence in the field, organisers need to keep on their toes in order to deliver a result that will be both significant and useful for the industry. Not only must they provide prestige for the winners, but they must also aim to raise standards throughout the industry.

Why should you enter for these awards ceremonies? An award nomination is a tremendous boost for any company and a win can put a newcomer firmly on the map, which can be worth the equivalent of thousands of pounds in self-promotion. Content awards also raise the bar for the quality of material we see on the outdoors screen network.

First published 15 August 2013 – Output

In the near future: the rise of NFC



Is near field communication heading in the right direction, or is it in danger of falling by the wayside? (© Fotolia / Ben Chams)

Is near field communication heading in the right direction, or is it in danger of falling by the wayside? (© Fotolia / Ben Chams)

Near field communication (NFC) and QR code capabilities provide the opportunity for advertisers and consumers to interact with brands on the go using just their smartphones. However, the market has not yet decided what is the best way to provide potential customers with the ultimate consumer experience. So what do industry experts think is needed for these technologies to realise their potential?

The leading media owners have already shown their interest and support for NFC, with Clear Channel launching 10,000 NFC and QR code-enabled Adshel panels and digital roadside panels across the UK this year.

In 2012 JCDecaux and Kinetic ran their ‘Test the Near Future Project’ – the largest trial of NFC-enabled poster sites in the UK. The four-week trial was held in the affluent commuter town of Reading and drove a high number of interactions on advertising from top brands including Unilever, H&M, Morrisons and EA Games. The content on offer included movie downloads, previews of TV shows and games, a chance to win a driving experience, supermarket vouchers and links to the brands’ social media channels. The results of the trial showed that 3,000 people in Reading scanned the poster sites, the equivalent of a million people nationwide. There were over 6,000 interactions across the four weeks and NFC take-up grew by 15 percent over the four weeks as people grew used to the idea of interacting.

“The study found that the brands that elicited the most positive interactions did so through a combination of relevance, dynamic content and a strong call-to-action,” notes David McEvoy, marketing director at JCDecaux.

Nick Mawditt, Kinetic’s global director of marketing and insight, says that there are no real barriers to entry for media owners. “Clear Channel and JCDecaux have both launched the capability for NFC interaction via their national networks of six-sheets, and other media owners including Primesight and Admedia have NFC capability in their panels. Any barrier currently is in consumer awareness and adoption.”

Mike Baker from the Outdoor Media Centre agrees: “The main barriers to date are poor sign-posting, poor site labelling, conflicting technology standards, consumer unfamiliarity and the lack of pre-loaded software on the devices.”

“QR codes are cheap to put in print media but poor at user exchange (UX),” warns Mark Selby, a mobile technology expert who is currently visiting professor at the University of Surrey, home of the new 5G Innovation Centre. “Some argue print is dying: I disagree. Consumers value a slick UX. If your media is low budget and UX is not important, go QR.”

There is also the mobile device giant Apple refusing to include NFC in its latest devices. “I must say I was surprised that the iPhone 5 didn’t have NFC capabilities,” observes Ocean Outdoor marketing director Richard Malton. “I think once Apple is confident enough to include NFC in its own locked system then I wouldn’t bet against NFC taking off at a massive rate. Apple is too good at getting this type of thing correct.”

New campaigns are being launched to reap the benefits of NFC. In September, Nestlé ran the first nationwide NFC-enabled campaign on roadside sites where chocolate bars were fitted with GPS trackers, by which means the lucky winners were found and given a cash prize. Sony used shopping malls and roadside spaces last October to offer consumers the chance to download an exclusive music track by swiping their smartphone on the touch point at the advertising site.

“There are going to be different ways of offering consumers connectivity and purchase points,” says Tim Bleakley, Ocean Outdoor’s chief executive. “NFC is more suited to close proximity small-format outdoor than the large digital spectacular formats that we specialise in. I still wonder exactly what is the value of NFC in a world where consumers are becoming used to visual imagery and photography on the move as a way of life. This may, in the end, disable NFC – just my view. Also, the wide-spread connectivity options offered via WiFi might affect the need for NFC.”

Baker concludes: “Experts forecast 75 percent penetration of smartphones in the UK by the end of the year. My prediction is that there will be a tripling every year for five years on the number of campaigns and revenue involving NFC.”

First published 24 January 2013 – Output