Sight Lines

“A platform for bringing people together”

With airport footfall at an all-time low, advertising concessionaires and their brand partners are coming to terms with a dramatic drop in the number of people viewing their communications and campaigns. World Out of Home Organization (WOO) President Tom Goddard explains what the industry body is doing to guide its members through the crisis.

The Moodie Davitt Report: What is your organisation doing to help members navigate the uncertainty amid the COVID-19 crisis?

Tom Goddard: We are working with the national associations, the Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA) and Digital Signage Foundation (DSF) to share best practice, learn from each other but also to reassure members that they’re part of a global industry and not in this alone.

We’ve been sharing thoughts on securing potential government aid, traffic patterns, general stakeholder involvement and other relevant experiences through different phases of the pandemic. It’s also useful for all to hear of more positive news coming out of China. We’re currently having a weekly Zoom Call, which had over 25 global participants when it took place in the first week of April.

Tom Goddard: Collaboration and communication amid crisis

An example of community campaigning from ooh!Media in Australia

An example of community campaigning from ooh!Media in Australia

What role do you think out-of-home communications can play in the coronavirus prevention effort?

It has a major part to play in stressing the social distancing message. There is also a role in keeping up morale and acknowledging contributions; see Ocean Outdoor’s Local heroes Campaign and the latest Outsmart campaign.

How can out-of-home advertising adapt and remain relevant at a time when people are being urged to stay at home?

Out-of-home is the perfect medium for broadcasting and reinforcing public health messaging; clearly fewer people are out at the moment, but many people still are. Out-of-home can provide a platform and focus for bringing people together, celebrating effort and providing a public voice.

We believe it will be a great platform for brands to celebrate and be part of any return to normality when it comes. However, many businesses are using the hyper-local qualities of the medium to promote changes to the way they do business, so significant opportunities remain.


How do you think the crisis will impact consumer behaviour both in the short-term and the long-term?

There will without a doubt be a ‘new normal’ in terms of consumer behaviour both in the short and longer term. However things are changing so fast it would be dangerous to make any solid predictions. It’s hard not to expect significant behavioural change in terms of travel – both personal and business – given the impact on the economy and the overall transport infrastructure. In addition, with everyone discovering conference call platforms, it’s hard not to believe this won’t have far-reaching implications in terms of how we do business in the future.

Moving beyond the coronavirus, tell us about the work that WOO is currently doing to support its members and the industry.

We see ourselves as part of the definitive network for the global out-of-home community with members across all parts of this community including media owners, media specialists, suppliers and the national associations.

Although we have a relatively small executive resource, we’ve proved adept at creating networks and bringing together the various stakeholders in the business. Our annual Global Congress is the perfect example of this. Like many other associations, we have had to postpone this year’s Congress but we have just confirmed that next year’s will take place in Toronto on 12-14 May. We’ll bring together about 500 C-suite delegates from over 40 countries. Throughout the year, our members have access to our large global database, which is another means of sharing best practice.

How important is a strong relationship between all stakeholders in the success of the out-of-home industry?

This is critical in any business environment. Yes there is strong competition, particularly between many of the media owners, but we all appreciate the benefits of collaboration in making our medium easier for advertisers to access.

However, out-of-home has a much broader stakeholder base than just media owners. Particularly in these difficult times, it is critical that we support each other in protecting the basic infrastructure of the industry so we can exploit the undoubted opportunities the sector has for increasing growth in the future.


Airports offer the opportunity for big and bold campaigns but also for hyper-personalisation, says Tom Goddard (oOh!Media in Melbourne pictured)

Speaking about airport advertising, which airports do you think most effectively engage consumers with their advertising and why?

As you would guess, the larger modern international airports, with longer dwell times and superior passenger amenities, deliver power messaging at a time when passenger awareness is at a high level. I was at the new Beijing Daxing Airport last October and it’s very impressive. Heathrow is also up there, but Gatwick has improved noticeably in recent years, as has Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport.

What advertising campaigns – both in airports and outside the airport environment – have most caught your attention over recent years?

I love the Burberry campaigns – classic brand confidence – but just as impressive are Apple, Twitter, Spotify, which show how these cutting-edge companies clearly see out-of-home as a fundamental part of their communications mix.

How do you see the world of airport communications evolving in the future?

On one level, I see airport advertising remaining pivotal for big bold upscale brand advertising, given the quality of audience they provide, but there will also be more personalised communications as tech (specifically personalised apps) guides travellers through the airport experience.

Airport out-of-home could well have a role to play in this, with hyperlocal targeting of ads by terminal, gate, retail or catering venue.

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The Moodie Davitt eZine

Issue 279 | 4 May 2020

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 12 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd). © All material is copyright and cannot be reproduced without the permission of the Publisher. To find out more visit and to subscribe, please e-mail

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