Sarel’s new challenges
As new executive director of Out-of-Home South Africa, Sarel du Plessis has ambitious plans for the organisation, including raising its share of national advertising expenditure from 2.6% to 6% in 24 months.
“For too long OHMSA was regarded by the media industry as the stepchild of the media owner associations, often scorned as irrelevant and not representative of the OOH sector,” he says. “All of this is to change as OHMSA embarks on a programme of re-engineering and development, and focusing on our primary goals.”
OHMSA is the off icially recognised trade association for the industry.
The second goal is to grow membership numbers to ensure a strong collective voice for the sector when required.
“Essentially this means that OHMSA will become a marketing organisation for the OOH sector,” says Du Plessis. “But this also requires the sector players to work together to develop the necessary tools to persuade marketers to allocate more of their budgets towards OOH.”
Out-of-home advertising used to be known as outdoor advertising, but the new terminology ref lects its expansion into much more than billboards alongside highways. It now includes electronic and traditional small billboards and posters in shopping malls, airport terminals and other indoor areas of public use.
The targeted growth in advertising seems over-ambitious for an industry that hasn’t improved its market share for two decades, but there’s immense scope to haul in outdoor contractors that aren’t members of OHMSA and consequently don’t report their revenues.
A set of OHMSA sub-brands will be r ol l ed out during 2013, prov i ding i mproved benef it s for members and designed to create new revenue and income opportunities for the association. They will cover specialist ser vices to members, including awards, recruitment, networking days, conferencing, online and a daily news service.
The latest brand, OH! Classifieds, was launched on 1 December. This gives outof-home media players the opportunity to advertise their businesses for only R100/ month on the website.
“We receive many enquiries each month from media owners looking for information on various subjects,” says Du Plessis. “So we are encouraging suppliers to list their companies under our categories.”
All OHMSA members get a free listing as an added benefit to their membership, worth R1 200/year.
OHMSA recently joined FEPE, which provides connectivity with other out-ofhome media associations and the latest global research and trends.
Du Plessis was a senior executive in the newspaper division of Naspers before his short-lived tenure as executive director of the Marketing Association of SA.
“Our aim now,” he says, “is to move the association from being irrelevant to being e-relevant.”