WPP CEO Mark Read Predicts OOH Growth Following the Pandemic

Mark Read, Chief Executive Officer at WPP recently spoke at the World Out of Home Organization’s virtual European Forum, sharing his thoughts about the future of OOH advertising.

In an interview with the group’s president Tom Goddard, Read predicted a strong recovery for Out of Home in the UK and US, with growth of 31 percent this year and 41 percent next year for the UK and 22 percent and 20 percent respectively for the US.

He pointed to the importance of digital OOH, which has grown by 15 percent at a time when OOH overall declined by 30 percent.


“The key question is where OOH fits in an e-commerce dominated business world. OOH builds brands, raises awareness and gives brands stature, and with OOH now being increasingly digitized, this adds the strengths of giving campaigns more relevance and speed and the ability to be tailored to time of day, different audiences and updated messages,” said Read.

“Continuing digitization should enable the medium to move up from its 7 percent share of global ad revenue. If I were running a campaign for WPP I’d probably put it on OOH in major airports. I’d certainly much rather be running an OOH media company than a magazine or newspaper these days.”


Read also warned of the danger of clients putting greater investment into performance media than brand-building media and was skeptical of the trend for client “in-housing”, where agency teams work from their clients’ offices.

“A number of WPP firms provide this service, notably The & Partnership and Hogarth, and we can make our offerings faster, more agile, more responsive and reduce the volume and cost of content,” he said.

“But when everyone is working remotely I don’t know why clients want to obsess about in-housing when there is no house for them to be in. We’ve been working remotely and our revenues and client satisfaction scores have still gone up. I think it’s challenging enough for our clients to run their businesses as it is without running creative organizations.”

Read also shared that he sees his organization’s main activity as ideas and creativity, helping clients connect with consumers, build relationships and drive sales in an increasing number of ways, including social media, influencers and other channels.

“We have provided a mobile app for Delta Airlines and commerce sites for Sainsburys and Net-a Porter and do a lot of Tech and CRM work for other clients. If we are just tied to pure media advertising, we don’t have the same growth prospects. We have to broaden the offer.”


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