The new Postar launches next year on a very auspicious date, writes David McEvoy, marketing director, JCDecaux.
Levi Strauss, John Harvey Kellogg, and Good King Wenceslas were all born on the 26 February and have left a lasting impression on the world of marketing and communications.
So the fates must be with Postar as it announces its launch date of - 26 February 2013. I’ve been involved in the process of bringing the new audience measurement system for outdoor to the market over the last three years.
James Whitmore had a dream and convinced the industry to invest £19m to put the audience rather than the panels at the heart of our planning. Or in other words providing clients and agencies with what they want to buy (audience) rather than what we want to sell (posters).
So what are our aspirations as we look at the beta test data in preparation for a new world in 2013?
Well first I have to make a confession. My formative years in media were in Television and the launch of electronic audience measurement, the introduction of audience optimisation and then the new world of multi-channel.
So when I moved into outdoor I had to learn a whole new language of different poster sizes, in-charge dates, juxtaposition, VACs and standard weight campaigns. And now I am a natural at the language of outdoor.
But one of our key strengths as a medium is our audience - young, urban, mobile and increasingly connected.
Interestingly, while I was in Berlin last month, my German colleagues were wearing badges proclaiming ‘Ich bin ein Yummie’. Yum being an acronym for young, urban, mobile.
The event launched audience-targeted networks to over 500 advertisers and agencies and the interest revolved around how outdoor could amplify social media strategies especially amongst smartphone carrying Yummies. Audience at the heart and outdoor being evaluated as part of the communication mix.
So welcome Postar. A sample of nearly 25,000 GPS-carrying GB adults gives such a wealth of planning data on the country’s out of home movements.
At the last outdoor conference, professor Michael Hulme of the Social Futures Observatory introduced a new concept of the 'Third Space'. This was the time spent out of home which he proffered was likely to become one of the most valuable spaces.
Previously viewed as dead time, he argued that social change linked to the increase in people’s connectivity would turn the out of home environment into a real active space. And now Postar will enable us to quantify and qualify that audience and with hooks to other media consumption help agency planners to determine the role of outdoor in a converged media world.
But what of the specifics? Well, yesterday I was looking at cinema-goers’ consumption of out of home and optimising a schedule to reach those going to the cinema once a week or more.
I looked at the geographic reach of panels in Manchester that were reaching the population of Liverpool, Blackpool and Chester. I looked at the audience profile of a major iconic site on the Cromwell Road. I looked at which outdoor formats had the highest reach of claimed Marks & Spencer shoppers. And I ran schedules against various other media consumption figures which will prove invaluable hooks when Postar is included within the new Touchpoints 4 multi-media channel planner.
We are now becoming familiar with a huge data set covering 360,000 poster frames in roadside, bus, tube and rail environments. It’s a voyage of discovery. And as another 26/02 birthday boy, Victor Hugo said: "There is nothing like a dream to create the future". So we look forward to the birth of a new Postar on 26 February 2013 and turning our dream into reality.