News | Published January 12 2020

Talon Outdoor and other OOH specialist firms could play role in using the ‘third space’ in war on fake news

The December general election has re-ignited debate about how political campaigns are played out digitally. The funds invested by main parties into targeted online adverts on social media remains uncertain, and there has been widespread controversy over misleading information and fake news being allowed to go viral.

Yet, social media is not alone as a newer and effective medium of reaching people in the UK. Out-of-home media [OOH] is the fastest growing traditional medium in the country, with everyone exposed to it in some form when leaving their home.

Nick Mawditt, a managing partner of Talon Outdoor, a London based media specialist and significant player in the OOH agency sector, told The Parliamentary Review that the “impact of politics” coupled with “the rise of fake news and online brand safety” will only see OOH continue to grow as “branding and reassurance remain top priorities for businesses seeking to re-engage with audiences”.

Mawditt added: “Brands will seek out the channels best placed to deliver stronger messages. These include OOH with its broadcast reach appeal.”

The potential reach of OOH is unquestionably wide. What Talon does well as a firm is use data in the development of OOH campaigns to help make best use of the so-called ‘third space’, defined as the time people spend outside of the home and their workplace.

Talon’s campaigns make use of an Ada data programme which creates insights into the behaviour of individuals, such as how they travel and also how to effectively reach and engage with them whilst they are on-the-go.

Using Ada, Talon can determine how to best target them with particular messages during their everyday journeys, evaluating thousands of potential advertising locations and then prioritising them according to their ability to most effectively reach the specific target audiences.

This data-led approach to planning campaigns enables Talon identify the very best sites for campaigns. Using such a strategy to help launch a recent Virgin Media ‘Ultimate Oomph’ advertising campaign, Talon was able to ensure that share of mind was on a par with Sky, despite Sky spending ten times more on its own campaign.

Given OOH’s enormous potential, there is reason to believe that the medium can be deployed to help combat fake news in itself. Indeed, it has been used in exactly this way before.

In February 2017 over in the US, the New York Times ran a branded campaign against alternative facts, part of which included an OOH purchase in New York in the shape of a billboard emblazoned with the caption: “Truth. It’s more important now than ever.”

With the proliferation of fake news, the potential of OOH can certainly allow for turning the tables and reaching out to people to advise against the spreading of misleading information and raise awareness of the importance of truth. The impact could well end up being far more telling than the 'alternative facts' that worm their way into peoples minds from one of the many corners of social media.

Should such opportunities arise, it will only create further chances for industry giants like Talon to strengthen their hand further and benefit.

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
January 12 2020

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