‘Now is not the time to look for superficial wins and bargain basement media’: OMA CEO

While the outlook may appear bleak amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the CEO of the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) has said the industry needs to look at its worth during this time and focus on creativity and normalcy.

This is unchartered territory, said Charmaine Moldrich, but positive signs elsewhere should provide hope for the future.

Ooh Media and Junkee have used outdoor to spread messages of kindness inside the coronavirus outbreak

“Having dedicated the last 10 years of my life to the business of out of home advertising, it seems somewhat counterproductive to recommend that people stay home. Yet this is the firm advice of our government and medical professionals worldwide,” said Moldrich.

“In the short-term, we are feeling the impact of marketing budgets put on hold, and we know that short-term performance goals will not be reached. But there is hope. By now you would have read the articles proclaiming that China’s ad market is rebounding and no doubt you are looking for tips on how to get there faster—as in right now.”

During this time, outdoor companies should focus energy in three key areas, said Moldrich. Education, trust and normalcy, and creative opportunities are prime, she said. Recently, the federal government used outdoor to spread the word of its coronavirus prevention measures.

Outdoor company Ooh Media and its youth publishing arm Junkee Media used outdoor to promote kindness and good news amidst the outbreak. Ooh has also entered voluntary suspension as it seeks capital to support its business during the outbreak. 

“Maintaining a sense of normalcy for people when they are out and about is as important now as ever before. Outdoor advertising is part of our cityscapes, and our lives. While travel has changed, people are still out and about, including those people working on the frontlines of fighting COVID,” said Moldrich.

“While I cannot predict the future, I do know that OMA members are dedicated as they always have been on finding solutions for brands. We are a media channel that is very adaptable, we can broadcast, we can narrowcast, we are flexible.

“Now is not the time to look for superficial wins and bargain basement media. Now is the time to build demand and brands. Now is the time for leaders to step up. It is in this moment of crisis that we need to act in all our best interest so that we get through this in one piece together.”


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