Again, with the future…


In 1989, we eagerly loaded Back to the Future Part II into our VHS machine, sat in front of our analog television set and gasped at the wonders Hollywood presented – the future looked so … futuristic! A Jetson’s inspired world of virtual reality, traversed and explored by flying cars and hover boards.

Fast forward 26 years and 2015 is now. And while we look down at our feet and sigh at our lack of self-lacing footwear, it’s important to note how into the future we actually are.

We have made huge technological advancements in the past 26 years. The internet, email, text messaging and smartphones; it’s often easy to take for granted the instant connections we have at our fingertips. Technology has completely transformed the way we communicate and Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising has embraced these advances to improve the channel for advertisers. Digital, interactive, experiential, data-driven and dynamic, today OOH can transcend traditional media categories and help advertisers impact consumers better than ever before.

The recent Porsche and Lexus campaigns saw Australians exposed to ‘smart billboards’ with the ability to pinpoint a make and model of car, communicate a specific and targeted advertising message to the driver and adjust that message based on the weather and traffic conditions. But imagine this technology supercharged. Imagine the possibilities if that car was driverless …

At the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (International CES), there was a renewed focus on the automotive industry, with driverless car technologies taking centre stage. Just imagine the impact on OOH advertising if the current considerations of balancing personalisation with safety, wasn’t the central issue. There would be a greater ability to not just target messages but to also personalise those messages and build in greater interactivity because you could hold the viewer’s attention for longer. While this may sound like science fiction now the reality is that the introduction of driverless cars, is currently being tested both in the USA and UK. The ‘driver’ would become the passenger, thereby opening up countless new opportunities including the way OOH advertising can be viewed and consumed from the roadside*.

As this technological revolution gains momentum we will continue to see our reality shift. Media will continue to be challenged with fragmentation and multiple delivery platforms, and for OOH the challenge will be how nimble we can be with delivering the solutions technology offers. Our prediction is that we will move to more personalisation and customisation using wizardry like holograms to capture the attention of the viewer. But before I get too carried away … maybe it is time now to beam me up Scotty?

*In 2014 roadside OOH advertising generated $397.5 million of the $602 million generated in total revenue by the industry.