Operators and brand marketers adapt by creating new opportunities for innovation and creativity


With a looming recession and high inflation rates continuing to keep Canadians stay awake at night, consumers are re-considering their dining habits. As a result, many restaurant owners and brand marketers have adapted to these challenging circumstances by creating new opportunities for innovation and creativity.

There are many advantages to maintaining, or even increasing, ad budgets during weaker economic times, often resulting in increased sales and market share during or after a recession. Digital out-of-home (DOOH), specifically, offers several advantages to restaurant marketers, including the ability to pivot creative when needed (which is especially key during uncertain times), strong measurement and data insights, as well as a platform for greater creativity and execution to better engage with customers.

For those looking to maintain a loyal customer base amidst an unpredictable market, consider these trends and best practices for your media mix.

Dynamic creative needs to be table stakes
Creativity is a critical element of driving engagement when it comes to powerful advertising. In fact, according to the Advertising Research Federation, 75 per cent of an ad’s effectiveness is determined by its creative. Each year, the attention span of audiences is decreasing while the fight to grab attention by advertisers grows more intense. During trying times, it’s even more important that advertisers grab and maintain audience attention — and dynamic creative can be one of the best tactics to deploy in DOOH to do this.

There are several approaches to creating mesmerizing creative that will captivate audiences, but here are three of our favourites:

>> Contrasting colours: Neuroscientific experiments show us that visuals with a contrasting colour pattern will capture more attention. In 2023, advertisers should consider how they can best use contrasting colours when designing campaigns to pique audience attention.

>> More images than words: Using more images than words to convey messaging as well as leveraging contextual and relevant storylines will continue to trend. DOOH delivers high-impact screens to grab the consumer’s attention, so it is critical to convey messaging quickly and efficiently in the space with a core brand or product message.

>> Motion-based campaigns: People tend to be more alert to moving objects; that means using DOOH to create motion-based campaigns can be vital in bolstering engagement with advertisements. Most DOOH screens have a short dwell time (time spent engaging with the screen) depending on how long it takes the consumer to pass by. With that, consider using that motion time effectively by tapping into looming imagery and animation.

Flexible messaging options
The ability to shift messaging in real-time as needed is a beneficial asset of DOOH. Given that 2023 is laden with market uncertainty, restaurant brand marketers should consider channels that provide them with the flexibility and efficiency they need to quickly pivot at a moment’s notice based on external conditions. For example, with DOOH, you can upload assets electronically and schedule, optimize or pause campaigns in just minutes as consumer behaviour or situations evolve. Brands can also run different versions of their messaging based on varying locations, times, demographics, weather conditions and other factors, giving advertisers even more flexibility to adapt when needed. And finally, while most traditional out-of-home (OOH) media requires long-term upfront commitments done months in advance, programmatic DOOH can be executed — and optimised — in near real-time.

Data-driven and omni-channel is key
Restaurant marketers must prepare for possible reductions in ad spending in light of the current economic climate. However, marketers that leverage DOOH capabilities will benefit from the flexibility provided by the medium. In fact, brands can even use the same video content built for television and social channels, for example, and deploy it via DOOH to maximize their own resources. Additionally the measurability of results and use of data to quantify the performance of a DOOH campaign will be critical in demonstrating the success of advertising this year.

Looking ahead
This year will continue to present opportunities and challenges for Canadian restaurants and brand marketers to thrive. By leveraging dynamic creative and flexible messaging/omni-channel content, Canadian consumers will continue to engage with high-quality content that will ultimately yield a higher ROI for restaurant brands.

Vistar Media has built a complete end-to-end programmatic eco-system to enable data-driven, automated, and measurable DOOH transactions. This eco-system helps its partners, from retail to casual dining, incorporate DOOH and mobile as part of their broader marketing strategies to achieve key results, such as awareness, consideration, favorability and foot traffic, through custom and efficient targeting, messaging and measurement.


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