Election-Year OOH: How to Stay Brand Safe and Lock in Your Media

March 5, 2024

For the media world, election years always bring excitement, opportunity, and increased demand. But for advertisers outside the political realm, they often present two big challenges. The first is how to maintain brand safety in today’s contentious political environment. The second is how to keep advertising plans in “business as usual” mode despite limited media supply as political groups looking to secure a space lock down inventory further in advance.

For advertisers seeking brand safety, OUTFRONT’s Political Avoidance Network is the haven you’ve been looking for. On these 2,000-plus billboard assets plus our transit media offerings, brands need not worry about their messaging running alongside troublesome political content. That’s right, there is absolutely no political advertising allowed on this network.

Crowd in front of MJHS digital urban panel in midtown manhattan
Our Political Avoidance Network includes:
  • Transit: OUTFRONT’s transit partners in markets like New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco do not allow political advertising.
  • High Impact Neighborhoods: Entire areas of cities like DC and San Francisco are zoned out for political advertising, meaning less noise for an OOH campaign to compete with.
  • Restricted Roadside Digital: Digital inventory is zoned out for political in markets like NYC, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Miami.
  • Lifestyle Centers: Get closer to luxury shoppers and entertainment seekers along the last mile of the customer journey at places like The Grove in LA and Miami’s City Place Doral.

Traditional static out of home can offer advertisers 100% share of voice, ensuring protection from your message being sandwiched between political advertisements that don’t align with your brand. And while OOH is one of the most trusted mediums for Gen Z and Millennial audiences (SOURCE: MediaPost), the fact that it drives 7x more social activations than any other media (SOURCE: Comscore, 2022) means that it is critical for brands to protect their messaging and reputation by activating where they can be seen without interference.

Delta ad on kiosk at lifestyle center
As for supply and demand pressures, the numbers speak for themselves: Political media spending is expected to surpass $10B for the 2024 elections and already is outpacing previous cycles. Jurisdictions that allow political advertising are already feeling the pressures of increased demand for the months leading up to the November elections. Here are a few things media buyers should keep in mind as they try to strategically plan their 2024 spend:

  • Political OOH spend has increased the last two election cycles. OOH saw a surge of momentum during the 2020 cycle, only to be topped by even higher spend during the 2022 midterm cycle. Political strategists, campaigns, and political action committees (PACs) have been finding more ways to leverage OOH as part of their media plans in recent election cycles, thanks to the creative flexibility and quick activation capabilities of digital out of home, the expansion of programmatic channels, and the heightened awareness about OOH’s effectiveness in driving action.

OAAA political ad spending chart 

  • Candidates aren’t the only buyers. Ballot initiatives also drive big spending. States with contentious ballot initiatives will see added demand for inventory as more groups (on both sides) will be invested in advertising in those markets to influence voters. States where booking early is especially important include Florida, Arizona, California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
  • More political advertisers are spending earlier. With this year’s nominees all but decided before the first vote was cast, the 2024 Presidential primaries are less influential. However, that lack of action has meant that both major party candidates have started raising and spending money earlier than in a normal cycle. Add in all the highly competitive local, state, and federal races, and there are more advertisers, with more money, spending it earlier than ever before.

Need some help steering your brand around the pitfalls of political season? We can put your brand everywhere that you want to be – and nowhere that you don’t. Contact us today to learn more.

Author: Lindsay Kramer, Senior Director, Client Strategy & Solutions @ OUTFRONT

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