Outdoor Is The Active Space

This year, the Outdoor Media Centre (OMC) has upped the number of events that it is hosting for the OOH industry. Since its launch at the Outdoor Works conference in September 2013, we have seen three separate events looking in more detail at the elements that make up the Power of 5 concept. Here we focus on the Outdoor works ‘Active Space‘ session that ran last month which looked at alertness and arousal in OOH.

An Introduction to Arousal

I remember when I started working in OOH, I was shown some research that JCDecaux Airport were taking to market called AER research. In the simplest terms, AER looked at the arousal levels of a traveller on their journey through the airport environment. This gave rise to learnings about what kind of ad messages were best placed in the airport and where. I remember it well because, of course, the new, fledgling, fidgeting grads who sat listening to this research all tittered at the mention of arousal. Immature? Definitely. Dirty minds? Without a doubt.

AER was my first exposure to the importance of the mental state of arousal in advertising, but definitely not the last. I realised, as I heard this relatively simple research presented back to us, that alertness and arousal were hugely important in the world of advertising – probably best to stop giggling and take it seriously. It’s a topic we, in OOH, keep coming back to, something that is clearly instrumental in the justification of the use of our medium, when pitched against other channels. In short, we are more alert in out of home environments, and therefore more receptive to advertising messages.

The Mindset Experiment

The main focus of the session, The Mindset Experiment, was led by Dr. Amanda Ellison, a senior lecturer at Durham University. While other pieces of research have previously looked at excitement levels in respondents, this is the first piece of research of its kind done in the world, where the research analysed 140 continuous hours of monitored skin conductance readings – the most accurate way of measuring someone’s alertness in real time.

The data was taken from 20 subjects who not only had their skin conductance levels monitored, but also wore eye tracking glasses throughout their day. Matching up the recorded skin conductance peaks and troughs to actions and places in their daily lives, using the film footage recorded by the eye tracker, COG and Dr Ellison deduced that people out of home are 33% more alert than people in the home.

Purpose and mood in the active space

The other pieces of research presented back covered off people’s purpose and mood in the active space. First up was John Armstrong from Dipsticks who spoke on purpose, and purchase intent in the Active Space. Ultimately the research he presented back showed that 80% of people who are outside of the home will carry money on them, and 70% of people have made a purchase, or intend to. Then we moved swiftly onto addressing people’s mood while out in the active space. Rob Ellis, Director at COG research spoke briefly and succinctly about how people feel 74% more active out of home, and 23% more switched on – people included in the research consistently claimed to feel more energetic and active.

A fantastic event

The morning was informative and snappy, with video contributions from people across the industry talking about their favourite campaigns. The research was presented back to us in sound bite format, which was particularly useful for us prolific tweeters out there. All in all, it was an incredibly enjoyable and informative morning – more like this please, OMC! 

Lucy Couillaud, Marcom Manager

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