The 57th FEPE International Congress in Barcelona - An Overview

The 57th FEPE International Congress in Barcelona - An Overview

from programmatic media buying, research and new technology to the rise of ad blocking, the role of creativity in a changing media world and even the rise of connected smart cities.

A FEPE jury of past presidents and board members also gave awards to a number of people and companies within the sector. FEPE Executive Director John Ellery and the OAAA’s CEO Nancy Fletcher share the Lifetime Achievement Award, Posterscope’s Annie Rickard took the Leadership Award, the Technical Award went to TOMI World and MOP for their urban transformation of Lisbon and Ocean Outdoor and WCRS won the Creative Award for their Women’s Aid campaign against domestic violence.

FEPE President Antonio Vincenti stepped down as President after a highly successful two years to be succeeded by Clear Channel Europe President Matthew Dearden.

The theme of the Congress was ‘The Road Ahead’ and Keynote speaker Tom Goodwin of Havas Media opened proceedings with an incisive review of the new developments in the digital world that will impact Out of Home.

This was followed by an analysis of the transition from traditional to digital OOH by Tim Bleakley of Ocean Outdoor and a round table on the subject, chaired by Brendon Cook of oOh!media with Christian Schmalzl of Ströer, Clive Punter of OUTFRONT Media, Tim Bleakley and Primesight’s Naren Patel.

James Mitchell, a senior planner at mcgarrybowen, Annie Rickard and former ISBA director of advertising and media Bob Wootton then discussed Reaching Audiences in an Age of Ad Blocking in a panel chaired by Matthew Dearden.

All agreed that the rise of ad blocking testified to a weariness and, sometimes, hostility on the part of the public to unwanted ads. The key issue, as Rickard noted, was ‘trust.’

Mark Boidman from New York investment bank Peter J. Solomon outlined how the investment community viewed and valued Out of Home companies, in particular their digital capabilities while Michel Sara of ROI/Marketing analysed OOH in the wider marketing environment.

Research was a constant theme of the Congress and Nancy Fletcher, Australian trade association’s Charmaine Moldrich, Canada’s Rosanne Caron, Felix Mende from Swiss Poster Research Plus, Daniel Cuende of Cuende Infometrics and Alan Brydon from the UK’s Outsmart joined Moderator Brendon Cook from oOh!media to discuss changing research priorities across both traditional and Digital OOH, highlighting best practice from around the world.

The first day of the Congress concluded with a further panel discussion, this time on the key issues of Automation and Programmatic media buying. The panel comprised high level executives from across the industry: Nick Parker from Kinetic Worldwide, Mungo Knott from Primesight, Andrew R. Sriubas from OUTFRONT Media and Bitposter’s Aidan Neill, moderated by Shaun Gregory of Exterion Media.

The panel explored how Automated and Programmatic differed and suggested ways that they would impact OOH both traditional and Digital. The consensus was that Programmatic – the use of computers with human input – was imminent and would be a significant challenge for both buyers and sellers of OOH.

Day Two of the Congress began with a presentation from giant Japanese full service agency Dentsu – now the owner of Aegis and its OOH agency Posterscope – on the media scene in Japan and the opportunities for digital OOH in the world’s third biggest advertising market.

Bob Wootton then chaired one of the Congress’ most keenly anticipated panels, a ‘fireside chat’ with two major global advertisers: Kester Fielding from Bacardi and Steven Sargeant from Diageo. Both were insistent that accountability and transparency were fundamental to media and marketing going forward, while acknowledging that there was an onus on clients to be fair in their dealings in the age of procurement and zero-based budgeting.

So-called Smart Cities were another consistent Congress theme and Christian Von Den Brincken, Managing Director of Business Development at Germany’s Ströer, chaired a panel of Brian Dusho from CIVIQ Smartscapes, Beat Schwegler of Microsoft, Bill Derrenger of Clear Channel and technology entrepreneur Daniel Parisien who outlined the likely future for probably the biggest opportunity for the global OOH industry.  

Uniting the global OOH industry is perhaps the biggest achievement of FEPE in recent years and this has depended to a large degree on harnessing the various efforts of national trade associations.

FEPE Executive Director John Ellery has played a major role in this and, for the first time at a FEPE Congress, succeeded in bringing together representatives from some of the leading players across the world.

These were Charmaine Moldrich from Australia, Nancy Fletcher from the United States, Rosanne Caron from Canada, India’s Noomi Mehta, Germany’s Jochen Gutzeit, Mark Craze from the UK’s Outsmart and the DPAA’s Francois De Gaspe Beaubien. Their message was an optimistic one for an industry which is growing healthily worldwide although they outlined a number of challenges including the migration of budgets to online and opposition to the growth of some OOH developments from planning authorities and legislators.

One of the Congress highlights was the presentation on Creativity and Effectiveness by James Murphy, CEO of UK creative agency adam&eveDDB and also chairman of the UK trade body The Advertising Association, which represents advertisers, agencies and media owners to government.

Adam&eveDDB is one of the world’s most awarded ad agencies, winning the Cannes Lions Agency of the Year in 2014 and Campaign magazine’s Agency of the Year in both 2014 and 2015.

Murphy professed himself a fan of Out of Home while noting that, creatively, it could be the hardest medium in which to excel because of the need to communicate clearly and unambiguously.

He showed a number of examples of the way OOH, traditional as well as digital, had played key roles in major national and global campaigns. One such was the ‘teaser’ OOH campaign that now precedes the eagerly-awaited annual John Lewis Christmas TV epic, the most famous TV campaign in the UK and now renowned globally.

Murphy echoed comments made by Mark Craze on the trade association panel to the effect that the medium was only, ultimately, as good as the messages it carried and that it was wrong to believe that analytics and more accurate targeting could do an effective communications job without the spark of true creativity.

New FEPE President Matthew Dearden emphasized the role of creativity – and how Out of Home Media can be inspiring in its ability to connect brands and people - in his closing address where he called on delegates to be brave and adventurous in navigating the Congress theme, ‘The Road Ahead.’

He also announced that next year’s Congress will be held in Stockholm, Sweden.

The overwhelming response from the record number of delegates was that the Congress had been a success, covering a wide range of relevant issues in a thought-provoking but useful way, while not forgetting the networking needs that help to bring busy people together from all over the world.

The bar for Stockholm has been set pretty high.