The Importance of Civic Utility & CSR in Out-of-home

By Sean McCaull, GM Operations for Revolution360

The out-of-home environment is very different to any other advertising space. It is constant, unavoidable and unable to be turned off. It can’t be avoided and it has an impact on our communities in many ways. So with this in mind, it lends itself to being a platform that requires much in the way of governance to ensure it behaves in a responsible way. Why then, is it not an absolute priority that all out-of-home operators are required to provide a civic utility and have strong CSR programs in place?

Civic utility basically means providing something back to the communities that ensures the advertising space to be of real use. All major media operator contracts with councils and governments do this. It’s one of the reasons out-of-home is so great, because it funds much in the way of smart-city development. For Street Posters on our approved infrastructure, we ensure that the walkways, overpasses and underpasses are kept clean. We minimise graffiti and vandalism, whilst providing a standardised product that brightens up the consumer journey in these areas.

A great study in the UK that shows out-of-home advertising is actually welcomed by the public in spaces such as train stations and underpasses, because they brighten up otherwise dark and gloomy area. It’s great to know people have a positive connotation in these environments, for our clients this means they are more likely to be receptive to the advertising message. That said, there is a bigger environmental and societal issue at play when it comes to the Street Poster format and that supersedes even the legalities around placement. For me, that’s the environmental impact, something I am very passionate about.

At Revolution360 we have always aimed to elevate our Street Poster product out of the shady grey area that many operators play in. We’ve done this through the securing of concession agreements to develop legal site placements and providing maintenance services to the associated areas. In addition, we are committed to clean and renewable solutions as part of our advertising strategy. Our brand partners can be assured that their campaigns are not contributing to the environment in a negative way at all.

How do we do this?

We use ecoStar+ 100% recycled and uncoated paper stock to print our posters. With FSC Recycled certification, ecoStar+ offers a smooth surface, consistent finish, excellent printability and outstanding opacity.

Our glue is made from wheat starch, which is completely biodegradable and contains no hazardous substances that could harm the environment

Once a campaign is complete, we not only remove the posters, but collate and send to a recycling plant for processing.

Being a responsible out-of-home media provider when it comes to civic utility and helping the environment is just one of the ways we have always done business differently to that of some of our competitors. For 30+ years council resources have been spent cleaning up after cowboy suppliers who have operated without accountability for too long. A 2014 article in the Daily Telegraph cited the spend at over $1.3m in clean up fees each year. The standard needs to be set if this is going to change. When booking an outdoor campaign, ask the question, “How do you provide a CSR?”