Alpha & Jam: Disrupting Digital Out-Of-Home Advertising in Nigeria

Samuel Ajiboye, MD, Apha&Jam

Programmatic advertising is the buzz word in the fast evolving Out-Of-Home or more precisely the Digital OOH advertising industry. Not so long ago, many had believed that the future for the industry is the Automatic Transaction Platform. The platform is to be managed by a software platform which will help automate the decision- making process of media buying by targeting specific audiences and demographics.

Interestingly, a young Nigerian agency playing in this industry has disruptively brought this future to the present with the introduction of ‘Candle’ among other trend-setting innovations. Candle is an innovative smart platform that powers DOOH screens and has the ability to interpret data, converts it to meaningful results like OTS, GRT, Number of Impressions, Unique Reach, Repeat Visit, Campaign Conversion among others.

It comes as no surprise therefore that this agency, Alpha & Jams has made the list of Brand Communicator’s Emerging Game Changers. Candle is exactly the software platform experts believed in the recent past, will help automate the decision-making process of media buying by targeting specific audiences and demographics. This innovative technology which is also a content creation engine focused on creating out-of-home experiences that engage. It does three basic things. First, it runs on big screens. Then, it has its own media player, and then, provides analytics as it interprets data and converts it to meaningful results that make sense to a media buyer like OTS, GRT, number of impressions, among others results. The agency since coming up with this software technology has leveraged it use for brands, agencies and businesses it works for.

Over the course of its operations in the industry, the young agency’s audacious innovations and campaigns have left many pondering if it had not been in the industry for more than five yes. Today, it has established for itself a frontrunner position in the OOH sector as an agency that is in tune with happening trends digitally and in the market.

The young agency is also known for its special LED boards. For instance, it constructed the iconic Madison, Nigeria’s first fully digital self-intelligence LED screen. The screen is strategically sited at the Ikoyi Link Bridge which connects High Net worth Individuals in Ikoyi to the upper middle class in Lekki.

Standing proudly in all its 4000 megapixels of glory, the Madison is easily the most iconic premium LED screen in Africa. It takes Digital Out-Of-Home to another level by becoming the first experiential screen that can engage the audience on the go. It comes with an innovative ‘Eko light,’ a beam of light located at the apex of the screen, shooting four kilometres of skylight into the night sky making it visible from almost every part of Lagos.

One of the distinguishing features of the iconic LED screen is that it is powered by Candle which gives it special self-intelligence ability. With Candle, the Madison is able to give real-time socio-economic audience profiling through its CEGR (Car Economic Grading Ratio) proprietary solution. This indicates if an HNI or a middle-income earner is looking at your ads.

Monitoring the Madison, using Candle for advertisers is as easy as taking a stroll in the park. In a chat with Brand Communicator few years back, Samuel Ajiboye who steers affairs at Alpha & Jam as its Managing Director, explained more about Candle and how it works on a board like the Madison. “Scheduling for Candle is cloud-based. You can upload your campaign online and see it go live. What makes monitoring using Candle unique is that, unlike what is commonly used, it captures both the board and the surrounding so you get to see the audience and the screen in real time. You get real-time reports and live feeds of what is going on. The client has access to all these. For instance, you can upload your ad from Korea in Lagos and monitor it from the comfort of space over there.

“It is a self-service platform that is as easy to run as a Facebook ad. Once you can run a Facebook ad, you can run an ad on the Madison or any board that is powered by the Candle. You can create an account on candle, select the boards you want to run and run your campaign. It is a programmatic platform for all DOOH campaigns. This makes it easy to justify OOH investments and even optimise it. As a screen owner, imagine been able to control your site remotely. Imagine the possibility of turning on or off your screen and generator, gauging fuel, control calibration all from the comfort of your location irrespective of the distance of the site? That is an innovation that comes with Candle,” he had explained.

Powered by the Candle, some interesting innovative campaigns were run on the Madison in 2018. To make sure Nigerian football fans do not miss out on actions at the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup perhaps by virtue of been stuck in the traffic, Coca-Cola, one of the sponsors of the Nigerian team at the soccer tournament, covered the matches in real time.

Strategically engaging the Madison, the cola brand interacted with football fans while keeping them abreast of real time events at Russia, although for technical and regulatory reasons, no board beamed the World Cup live. But unlike other boards that showed scores intermittently, Coca Cola using the Madison, kept people up to date. It showed ball possession, who kicked what, the timing, goals scored, who provided assists, as well as goals scorers in real time. In addition, when a player scores a goal, a Coca-Cola moves on the screen and the name of the scorer and the person who assisted was displayed.

This feature arguably made the Madison the first real time DOOH screen engagement platform in Nigeria. For instance, there were about 3026 cars on the Ikoyi link when Super Eagles’ Victor Moses scored against the Argentina’s Albicelestes in Nigeria’s second group stage match at Russia. The excitement that followed the goal from that location will convince anyone without knowledge of the Madison that the match was streamed live at the bridge.

The Madison was able to do this using a special component of the Candle called Brandphase. Brandphrase makes it possible for brands to assemble their number of insertions for the whole day into a single duration and use at a strategic period, perhaps a product launch, it wishes to utilize it. The scheduling of the Candle is dynamic such that you can change timing to suit brand’s needs. The brand can control the number of exposure because, at the end of the day, there is a maximum amount of exposure it can have in a day.

To further engage Nigerian fans, the brand deployed the #Shareacokewithoursupereagles campaigns to give fans the platform to show their love and support for the players and the national team. The campaign which ran on the Madison is a real-time Coca-Cola DOOH Instagram feed display that showed in real-time Instagram photos people uploaded with the hashtag. Those images were displayed irrespective of the locations and MADISON upped the ante by bringing fans together to a screen in support of the national team.

In just two hours, without any form of digital promotion, over 400 Instagram uploads in 2 hours before Nigeria’s game, was recorded. The board also deployed a match time countdown to further fire up the hype leading to every Nigerian game.  The two teams playing against each other are placed next to a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola.

Another disruptive campaign Alpha & Jam ran last year was during the Ramadan fast. At this time, one of the most important times of the day for Muslims is the time for Iftar- the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily fast at sunset. Interestingly, the time for Iftar is not always at Seven o’clock as erroneously believed. It fluctuates. Working collaboratively with the brand, the agency came up with a time content which it will display on the Madison giving people the exact time for Iftar.

Yet another campaign the agency ran was on the Moet Grand day event campaign done in collaboration with Phd Nigeria and beamed on the Madison June 9, 2018. The Moet grand day event is like the biggest premium party in the world. The idea is to celebrate success every hour at an ongoing party in 80 countries of the world. The concept is also to make a toast every hour-to life, success, etc. The brand was looking for how to creatively and dynamically make it possible.

Ajiboye said doing that with a Madison powered Candle was easy. “What we did for the brand was to create a BTL timer where the internet time was fixed, so they can count down to an hour. As the countdown was going on at the various venues of the event, we were counting down at the Madison screen. People got to know there was an ongoing event and that at every hour, a toast was being made.

“This created an effect where people felt they were missing out on something interesting. It was an ad that was dynamically doing something. Interestingly, Nigeria is the only country among the 80 to actually display this on a billboard. It was a great concept planned out with PHD media on how creative the Madison could be put to use.”

The Candle is unique in the sense that it is not exclusive to the Madison alone. It can power other DOOH screens as well. Ajiboye said the doors are open for collaboration with brands as well as agencies to push the frontiers on customer engagement leveraging on the technology and innovation the Candle brings.

 “We are going to expand as fast as possible. Candle is free, not for sale. It just like Uber-It never asks the driver to pay money before they download the Uber app. It makes you make more money as a taxi rider and that is what Candle does too. Just like Uber, Candle does not control your Screen. We have been into partnerships with some agencies and together we have done great works to the satisfaction of clients. We will like to collaborate with agencies in such a way that we aid their pitching business using what the Candle can do on screens. We also want to go into brainstorming sessions and bring to the table how Candle can make a whole lot of difference to campaigns.”

This year, industry watchers are looking out for more innovations and campaigns from the stables of this young agency. It is only January yet; indeed, the year is sprawled out for the taking.

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