Needless to say, 2020 has been interesting for the world and interesting for those of us in OOH. This year has reinforced the need for sales reps, media planners, and vendors to act as consultants for our clients. With the ever growing uncertainty around the economy, Brooklyn Outdoor turned to some of out-of-home advertising’s top leaders to offer OOH industry insights.

For our first interview, we asked Justin Symons, Group Director at Project X to give insights to one of the most pressing topics in OOH…


BK: We’ve finally seen ad spend ramp up in Q4! What are your predictions for ad spend in Q1? 

JS: When reviewing consumer behavior, and corresponding ad spend over the past few months, Labor Day was a major “watch date” for us. 

This was an important time to determine a number of variables; were kids going back to school/college for in-person learning? Were offices reopening in major/secondary markets? Was this going to be the first major shift in commuting behavior? And while all these questions were not answered with a simple yes/no, we did see positive signs coming out of that weekend which has led to a significant uptick in RFI’s, RFP’s and general interest in out-of-home investment for both Q4 2020 and Q1 2021. 

The other major variable we’ve been closely monitoring is the political climate, with the election being a major factor that could affect the first half of the year.  With much still unknown, some clients will certainly hold dollars to see how the market reacts during the 1st quarter after the presidential election. 

All that being said, barring another economic shutdown due to potential COVID-19 spikes, and/or potential political volatility, we are bullish on Q1 ad spend for the OOH channel and expect a good percentage of the conversations we’re having right now, to convert into early 2021 activations.

BK: Have you noticed a trend in deciding factors for brands on whether to spend or cut?

JS: At the beginning of the Pandemic, it seemed as though everyone was shifting campaigns, cutting spend, or canceling their media schedules entirely. 

Recently, the decision seems to be weighted by a few factors including the audience a given brand is trying to reach, if they are able to reach them effectively in a Covid altered consumer journey, if their brand/product has been struggling or experiencing growth, and if they have budgets that must be spent before the close of 2020. 

These four factors have been a driving force behind recent client investment, but we anticipate them evolving over the course of the next quarter as we turn the calendar to 2021, and potentially face new challenges from COVID-19 as the weather gets colder.

BK: How are you consulting your clients on placing OOH right now?

JS: We are consulting our clients in a number of different ways when it comes to out-of-home investment presently, however not through an entirely different process than we normally would. 

When it comes to assessing client needs, objectives, KPI’s, etc. we still go through the same process, evaluating what they need to accomplish their marking goals, and how we can most effectively help them through OOH. 

What has changed are the variables and lens we look through due to the shifting media landscape, altered consumer behavior trends, and lingering restrictions from the Global Pandemic.  If a given client’s target audience is one that can still be easily reached through strategic OOH placements, the market is currently yielding some great value for Q1, and we advise them accordingly.

Keep a look out for our newsletter and on our social media for more OOH Industry Insights and interviews with out-of-home advertisings top leaders.

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