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Now Near Next – The Latest View from OOH

All Roads Lead Outdoors

Niamh Manning, marketing executive, PML Group, with this week’s view from OOH.

It’s been a very positive week for Out of Home. Details of our journey out of level 5 restrictions were revealed by the government on Tuesday and significant changes kick in from April 12th, which will have a meaningful impact on Outdoor audiences.

From that date, the 5km travel limit will be relaxed to allow people to travel within their own county or within 20km of home if crossing county boundaries. Socialising restrictions will be eased with two households being permitted to socialise in an outdoor setting.

After the Easter holidays, more than one million school students will be back in class, with the final remaining secondary school students – comprising of approx. 300,000 first to fourth years – returning to in-class learning.

The staggered return of the construction sector will also begin on the 12th with work on residential and childcare facilities resuming, and more than 14,000 construction workers returning to employment.

From April 26th, a range of outdoor leisure activities will be permitted. Outdoor pitches, tennis courts and golf courses will reopen; outdoor sports training for children in pods of 15 will resume. Outdoor attractions such as Dublin Zoo and heritage sites will also be allowed to welcome visitors from this date.

The measures announced this week will continue to the 4th of May at which point other areas will be under consideration such as;

  • full reopening of construction activity
  • phased return of non-essential retail commencing with click and collect and outdoor retail, for example: garden centres/nurseries
  • recommencement of personal services such as hairdressers/barbers on a staggered basis
  • reopening of museums, galleries and libraries
  • recommencement of religious services on a staggered basis

With the easing of restrictions and the focus very much on outdoor activities in the first stage, the plans outlined have obvious positive implications for OOH. With the population allowed to move and socialise more freely, the return of the school run for all, more workers returning to commuting and an uptake in leisure activities we can expect to see a significant increase in mobility and the frequency with which our population is moving.

Looking back to last year when the 5km non-essential travel limit was lifted, auto mobility increased by 30% across the two weeks following the lifting of the restriction.

The emphasis on outdoor activities means OOH will be a powerful vehicle for advertisers to engage a much more positive and optimistic mindset among audiences young and old.

It’s a Sign of the Times

The results of the 2021 Sign of the Times survey conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes was published this week. The annual snapshot of Irish life combines quantitative and digital qualitative techniques and looks at a range of topics. The research was conducted in January and February 2021.

The survey found a strong urge to return to the normal activities we all enjoy participating in. Respondents to the survey were asked what their main priorities will be when COVID-19 situation ends, and socialising was high on the agenda. 78% said spending more time with friends was a main priority while over two thirds (66%) stated getting back to their social life was of high importance.

A focus on health and a return to their hobbies featured heavily as main priorities at 65% and 62% respectively. Out of home experiences and events are aspects of life Irish people seem to be missing. 62% of respondents stated having experiences out of home such as sports and concerts will be a main focus from them once they resume. Over half (59%) intend to spend more time in nature.

Comfortability and confidence in visiting hospitality venues is high with 58% looking forward to going to restaurants/pubs.

 Consumer and Business Sentiment Reaches Highest Level Since Pandemic

With Level 5 restrictions due to be eased, Irish consumer and business sentiment improved in March, according to Bank of Ireland. The latest Economic Pulse published by the bank shows a reading of 73.7 in March, the highest in 13 months.

The index, which combines the results of the consumer and business pulses, jumped 5.0 points on last month and is 3.2 points higher than a year ago.  Looking separately at the combined index, the consumer pulse rose for a second consecutive month and now stands at 69.8, an increase of 2.6 points on the previous month. The business pulse also increased for the second month in a row, standing at 74.6, up 5.6 on the prior month.

Optimism was a driving force in the increases with Bank of Ireland noting the forward-looking components of the index were key to the move higher.

Bank of Ireland said that with the vaccine rollout progressing and set to quicken during the second quarter and schools returning, households were more upbeat this month. One in two households expect the economy to get better over the coming months. Almost half think unemployment will fall while savings are on the increase as 77% believe it is a good time to save.

Firms are also more optimistic about the outlook with 44% of firms expecting business activity to increase in the next three months.

NOW DublinBikes New Electric Option Hits the Streets of Dublin

NOW DublinBikes new electric option has been rolled out across Dublin city this week. Launching on Wednesday, half of the 1,600 fleet of bikes are now converted to hybrid e-bikes.

The introduction of the hybrid electric option is ideal for subscribers who want a quick and convenient mode of transport around the city and will make it easier to cover longer distance. Currently, the typical journey is between 15 and 18 minutes. The addition of the e-bikes will also help to attract new subscribers to the scheme.

Launched in 2009, the initiative quickly became part of the fabric of Dublin city with Dubliners and visitors to the city using them to make their way around the capital. There’s been over 30 million journeys taken since the launch of the scheme.

“The reason we are introducing electric bikes is to give people an option for a more gentle cycle if they want to commute around town, where they are building up maybe less of a sweat getting to and from the office. We think that there are probably more people who would have an interest in this type of journey when they come into the city – that they want to go a little bit quicker, with a little bit less effort – and maybe some people who wouldn’t be normally interested in cycling might be encouraged to try it in this format.” Tony O’ Flanagan of JCDecaux Ireland said.

And, finally…

A powerful example from The Belfast Telegraph and Ardmore Advertising of OOH at its purest and most effective. This double sided 192 Sheet was posted in the Titanic Quarter at the SSE Arena this week, the site of Northern Ireland’s biggest mass vaccination centre and is visible on all paths to the site. Like all great Outdoor, it requires no other words.

Have a great Easter.