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It has been a long time since billboards were contracted for a minimum of one year. Nowadays, billboard suppliers have bent over backwards to accept the market demand for one-month-placements. This has been made possible by the advent of digital photographic tarpaulin printing being lowered to a very accessible cost. Gone are the days when an advertiser would have to justify the use of a photographic tarpaulin by running the exposure to a minimum of three (3) months. Today, advertisers can have a new tarpaulin printed every month and still, cost would be justified.

This leads me to a current trend I've been observing in the Out-Of-Home media scene...the increased frequency of one-month-placements ("OMPs" as I love to call them). OMPs are now becoming more frequent as the days go by. When I was still working for UniversalMcCann, our OMPs were limited to Globe Telecom's sponsorship of blockbuster movies like Spiderman, Star Wars, Batman, etc. Now that I'm out of McCann, I can confidently validate to you that OMPs are an increasing trend among all agencies.

Lately, I've found myself answering my cellphone at the least expected of places only to take a call media planners or direct clients looking for a billboard space for an OMP. Most OMPs are requests for space to target consumers in this coming 4th quarter.

"Do you have any available space on EDSA between Buendia and Ortigas which I can book for only the month of November?" says the planner. "I know of only 2 sites left which fits your requirement and it'll be in your email inbox within the next 30 minutes" is my typical reply. Then comes the clincher, "you'll have to tell your client though to revert quickly because other agencies and advertisers are eyeing these same spots".

As clients seem to be falling short in term of their year-end sales targets, obviously demand for pumping up the media placements (across all media) is being felt. This is all the more evident in outdoor. Clients are now spending whatever excess money they have on Quarter 4 short-term billboards covering October 1 to December 31. Hence, the Christmas Rush for outdoor placements have begun. It is a trend which has never been seen before...or perhaps I did see it already in years past when I was still with McCann. Maybe I just was not in the position then to say it was an industry-wide thing.

Today, the number of requests for OMPs and Q4 placements are increasing as we inch our way to the year's end. My most recent experience even demanded that I negotiate for an existing advertiser on a strategic billboard in Makati to pull down his material only for the month of October so as to accomodate an OMP by an agency. The same advertiser agreed as he deemed the month of October was not all to important to him and that he could use the reimbursment of the media rental elsewhere. The condition for the acceptance of this deal though was that he would definitely want his space back for November and December.

As the demand for OMPs and Q4 placements increase as we inch our way to the year end, I have only this word of advise to advertisers and agencies : AVOID THE CHRISTMAS RUSH. SHOP EARLY.

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