One of the most important marketing movements in recent years has been the growing importance of sustainability. According to BusinessWire, over the last few years, 85% of consumers have become more eco-conscious in their purchase decisions. Furthermore, over 30% of global shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainability. As a result, many brands have made firm deadline commitments to sustainability practices throughout their businesses from products and services to how they advertise.
According to Forbes, although 90% of executives think sustainability is important, only 60% of companies actually have a sustainability strategy. With ad spending expected to reach US$36.64bn by the end of 2022 in out-of-home advertising and with traditional OOH being the largest segment, this is a key area where brands can adapt changes to their current sustainability strategies.
This article will highlight how OOH has a role in sustainability and how key players are making changes now for a greener future.
OOH’s role in Sustainability
Helps Deliver Net Zero Goals
Many countries, brands, and agencies have net zero ambitions, for example, the UK government has a net zero goal by 2050. As a result, OOH media companies must continue to search for ways to reduce their environmental impact, align with these goals in order to meet client needs, and abide by legislation.
Out-of-home is one of the most effective media channels for achieving net zero goals. By partnering with councils and charities media companies have come up with creative ways to reduce their impact. For example, Movia compensates all of its production and operations by planting 100 trees for every truck ad it places on the road for a 4-week campaign with their partner charities Trees for the Future and Highway of Heroes. Other ways OOH can positively impact achieving net zero goals is by utilizing recyclable materials for billboards and collateral, installing LED lights across billboards, or by having vegetalised rooftops on bus shelters.
Digital-out-of-home can also be green with DOOH media companies installing solar panels to power digital screens and also creating smart technology to charge these screens. Electric-vehicle charging stations have also become a popular means for DOOH for example, Volta in the US which have offset over 44 million pounds of CO2 since 2010.
Utilizing OOH to Promote Sustainability
OOH provides a one-of-a-kind chance for the message and media to collaborate to reinforce a brand’s commitment to sustainability. It allows for more trust between consumers and brands as OOH is a widely used source of media but also the advertisement itself is displayed in such a public manner. This ensures that brands will be held with more accountability for their actions towards a greener future.
OOH can also promote and educate consumers on the importance of sustainability through creative and eye-catching means to highlight the importance of being eco-friendly. IKEA, for example, used DOOH at a bus shelter to highlight how many steps it takes to get to the nearest store versus taking the bus, encouraging sustainable travel to their store. Creative advertisements like this may even contribute to long-term environmental goals in local communities.
Eco-Technology and Innovations
Media companies are becoming more innovative with how they advertise. Some are finding multiple uses for their OOH infrastructure. For example, pedestrians may easily access smart screens, WiFi, and USB chargers as a result of multi-purpose digital out-of-home screens.
OOH media companies are also getting smarter and “greener” with the materials they use for their billboards or collateral. By using recyclable materials or developing new banner coatings that purify the air, these innovations have made it much easier for OOH to create a positive impact on the environment.
Investment in technology and creativity can lead OOH businesses to sustainably deliver advertising. By utilizing first-party data and technology, OOH advertisements can also be optimized and targeted to reach certain audiences who perhaps are eco-conscious.
Leaders in Sustainable OOH
Mediabrands’ OOH agency Rapport
Rapport, Mediabrands’ out-of-home agency, claims to be the first media agency to offer all clients in the United States sustainable eco-friendly signage designed to filter the air in order to eliminate a variety of elements such as viruses, bacteria, mold, and allergies.
The sustainable initiative employs an innovative Titanium Dioxide coating, applied to billboards and other printed media sources to eliminate gasses such as carbon emissions and other pollutants from the air while the ad is displayed. This Titanium Dioxide layer is said to use sunlight to attract greenhouse emissions and pollutants, which are then absorbed by millions of microsponges. As a result, these pollutants are converted into neutral nitrates and cleans the air.
This initiative gives businesses the ability to contact consumers while lowering the carbon footprint of their advertising efforts.
The RE100 initiative is a worldwide leadership movement for businesses dedicated to using 100% renewable energy. JCDecaux was the first out-of-home media company to join this initiative. By the end of this year, they hope to have used green electricity for 100% of their electricity needs. They are on target to reach this as they achieved a 2021 record of 98% up from 69% in 2018.
Some other ways in which JCDecaux have made sustainable changes is by equipping their new furniture with LED technology, surpassing their objecting of 70% by achieving 80% of waste sorted to have been recycled in 2021, and by having vegetalised roofs or by having roofs equipped with solar panels.
oOh!media, is a leading OOH advertising company in Australia and New Zealand. They utilize 100% recyclable materials when it comes to street furniture posters which are waterproof and tree-free. The street furniture itself is designed to last 20 years and is maintained with filtered water and reverse osmosis, saving approximately 29,000 cleaning hours per year.
oOh!media uses eco-friendly LED lighting on billboards and material, with digital OOH billboards changing automatically to ambient levels to save power. To reduce its overall carbon footprint, its entire advertising network continues to embrace LED lighting. Solar electricity is used in over 4,000 of their 13,000 bus shelters, making Australia the country with the most solar installations on street furniture.
oOh!media also uses waste segregation procedures for batteries, fluorescent tubes, glass, steel, aluminum, copper, PVC cabling, e-waste, and cardboard at its nationwide depot and warehouse facilities. While all corporate headquarters adhere to strict recycling policies, with diverse segregation bins strategically placed throughout the building.
Consumers, brands, and even governments are actively adapting their commitments and policies to slow down climate change. It is clear that sustainability in advertising is more than just a trend, but a movement. Although the OOH industry can continue to further its efforts with sustainability, it has an active role in investing in a greener future.