It's Pimm's o'clock for outdoor advertising writes Glen Wilson

The rise in weather-activated ads shows how the barriers to real-time campaigns are finally coming down, writes Glen Wilson, managing director of Posterscope.
You can always tell when summer is here. The sun is (mostly) shining, the beloved flip flops emerge from deep down in the wardrobe, and of course, posters of particular drinks brands that we all associate with summer start appearing.
One of those inescapably summery brands is Pimm’s. The brand positions itself as being the iconic drink of the Great British Summer, which means it’s making the most of its marketing now that we’re beginning to enjoy sunny temperatures.
This year, the brand is enhancing its relevance for consumers with a new digital out-of-home (DOOH) campaign that uses real-time weather-activated dynamic triggers to activate digital ads when the temperature reaches or surpasses 21 degrees, making a Pimm’s ad appear whenever it’s hot.
A new element of the campaign brought location into the real-time data mix in a partnership with Taylor Walker pubs. Using a beacon network, the posters count the number of smartphones at local venues using non-personal anonymised data, to tell punters where there are free seats to enjoy a jug of Pimm’s.
Using weather and data to plan marketing campaigns has been around for a while; however, now real-time dynamic triggers are enabling advertisers to use it in a way they never have before, and not just in hot weather.
In February this year, Vauxhall Corsa launched the first automotive campaign to use real-time activation, using weather-activated triggers to promote their new car’s heated features. Whenever the wintry temperatures fell below 5C, the ads highlighted the new Corsa’s weather-related product features, such as the heated windscreen, seats and steering wheel.
Tate Britain has also capitalised on weather activation using real-time technology. In June last year, the organisation launched a digital OOH campaign in which the weather was reflected by an appropriate work of art.
Different paintings, drawn from more than 500 years of British art, were automatically triggered across screens according to specific events or conditions such as weather, time of day, traffic flow and flight arrivals. For example, when the Met Office forecast bad conditions, the ads might display an image of Turner’s “The Storm”. This campaign produced a vast 14,400 creative executions over the course of its execution.
Advertisers’ increasing proclivity toward weather and temperature activation is indicative of their growing understanding of the potential real-time technologies hold for OOH campaigns, helping to create experiences for consumers that are relevant to the world around them using data such as time of day, weather and travel information.
According to Posterscope’s OOH Consumer Survey (OCS), in which in which over 5,500 people were surveyed about OOH campaigns, weather and location are cited by consumers as content they are interested in seeing on OOH screens. The technology’s potential was recently identified in an infographic by IDC which shows that there has been an 80 per cent increase in real-time ad sales year-on-year in the UK.
Additionally, Posterscope recently conducted research with its DOOH partner Liveposter, which found that respondents who were exposed to dynamic vs non-dynamic DOOH were almost three times more likely to recall adverts, citing “relevant messaging” as the reason behind this.
The industry is reaping the benefits of rapidly evolving consumer expectations – as they increasingly demand clever, connected ads that are worthy of captivating their attention.
The Outdoor Media Centre (OMC) put the OOH industry’s value at £250m in 2014, and we believe this figure could become as large as £500m in just five years, with the industry estimated to be delivering four billion impressions every two weeks.
When DOOH first came about, the industry represented just 2 per cent of all OOH spend. Jump forward ten years and according to Posterscope’s estimates 2015 will be the year that DOOH’s share of the market will increase to more than 30 per cent.
However, in spite of the growth potential, a roundtable discussing the current state of real-time that Posterscope hosted with leading brands and agencies such as British Gas, Microsoft and Starcom MediaVest Group found that whilst they had vastly reduced over the years, barriers to adoption still existed.
There is still a gap between the desires of advertisers and the ease and cost-efficiency with which real-time OOH can be applied at scale as the full necessary standardisation of systems doesn’t yet exist across the industry to provide the scale, consistency and agility to fully deliver the full potential of the technology.
However, such barriers are more than on the way to being overcome, in part thanks to the recently launched Liveposter Ad Container (LPAC) product, which is starting to provide the standardisation needed across the multiple media owner networks.
The app, built specifically for each media owner network, gives advertisers the ability to implement dynamic campaigns at easily, cost-effectively and at scale.
Furthermore, the entry costs that apply to an advertiser when thinking about dynamic campaigns have been reduced to such an extent that we will hopefully now see an increased level of optimisation and relevancy in campaigns.
The good news is that there is vast untapped demand for real-time DOOH campaigns. According to our research, 61 per cent of marketers say they want to integrate real-time in their DOOH campaigns, and an additional 47 per cent believe it would make their brand’s DOOH advertising more effective.
As evidenced by the increasing amount of weather-activated campaigns we’ve seen particularly over the course of this year, it would seem that as the barriers to real-time campaigns come down, advertisers are finally beginning to embrace the full benefits of real-time.
This article appeared in Mediatel