Pikasso has the recipe for lasting OOH success across the MEA region

April 11, 2021Rob Côté

A little over 35 years ago, when Pikasso first set up shop in Beirut, Lebanon, even the company’s traditional static billboards were a novelty in its region.

Now, after decades of operation, Pikasso continues to drive OOH innovation in its home country of Lebanon, and on through much more of the Middle East, North and West Africa, and the Caucasus. The goal, always, is to provide new opportunities for customers to create successful campaigns in the OOH space.

An ever-expanding footprint

Despite its founding in the midst of the Lebanese Civil War, Pikasso’s business was well received by a Lebanese public eager for new opportunities to advertise in the out-of-home space. Soon, demand began to greatly outstrip the young company’s supply, with pre-bookings stretching on far into the future and Pikasso doubling its revenue every couple of months.

After the war concluded in 1990, Pikasso’s business took off even more, driving a growing out-of-home industry in the country continually forward. Even Lebanon’s one year ban in 1995 on billboard advertising mid-decade was unable to halt the company’s ambitions. Instead, Pikasso re-established its business when the law allowed and then set out to broaden its interests to other countries. After years of acquisitions and expansion, Pikasso now operates static and digital OOH inventory in 10 countries across the middle east, North Africa, West Africa, and the Causasus. Its assets are concentrated largely in premium outdoor and mall locations.

Shows an example of Pikasso's displays in Beirut.
Pikasso has expanded its presence to many countries outside of Lebanon

Blazing a trail for programmatic

Over its years in the OOH industry, Pikasso has set itself the mission of delivering exceptional OOH experiences for audiences, and has been at the forefront of many innovative touches to its local OOH industry. Examples include augmented reality, QR codes, and indeed digital out-of-home generally, which it began deploying in 2010.

Next up for Pikasso is the rollout of programmatic DOOH, powered by Broadsign Reach, across its network. The company is eager to open its inventory up to digital buyers who are likely to be tempted to add OOH advertising to their campaigns alongside their other programmatic digital advertising.

Shows an example of the prominent displays Pikasso runs in mall environments.
Soon, all of Pikasso’s inventory will be available programmatically via Broadsign Reach

Just as appealing, though, is the way programmatic opens doors to more targeted and better integrated multichannel campaigns. It’s something Pikasso is eager to get going for its customers, as campaigns coordinated across multiple channels, and which include programmatic DOOH, are exceptionally positioned to resonate with audiences. Though the process will undoubtedly involve a fair amount of educating customers in the potential and excitement on offer with programmatic, these are both challenges that Pikasso is excited to tackle.

Driving better data and attribution in its region

In the years leading up to the pandemic, Pikasso made a concerted effort to acquire and expand, rapidly entering new markets with a digital-first, innovation-heavy mentality. While expansions may be on hold for a time as the OOH industry rejuvenates, Pikasso is eager to continue driving innovation in its markets and to build a healthy market for its programmatic DOOH inventory.

A key piece for this effort is Pikasso’s dedication to accumulating more and better data regarding audiences and impressions. This is something which is absolutely essential to programmatic DOOH, which needs the information to be able to purchase ads targeting specific audiences or triggered based on ambient conditions.

Shows an example of one of Pikasso's retail displays
Pikasso’s deep audience data will help it grow its programmatic business

But the push to get more data has also led to opportunities to transact with major multinational brands that require precise data for reporting, and is also becoming a selling point with advertisers and planners very interested in getting a more detailed understanding of how well campaigns perform on Pikasso’s network.

It’s a great example of the company’s smart approach to getting things done. By taking the time to build up correctly, Pikasso is giving itself a leg up on many global competitors who are approaching the future of DOOH less carefully.

Broadsign and Pikasso

It’s a difficult thing to manage digital out-of-home installations across several countries, roll out innovative technology, and introduce an entirely new business model in programmatic. Fortunately, the Broadsign platform has everything Pikasso needs in order to propel its business forward and make its vision for a more innovative and accessible DOOH space a reality.

Broadsign Control offers centralized command over large numbers of distributed displays – exactly what Pikasso needs to stay on top of its international DOOH business. Its extensibility and support for detailed reporting, meanwhile, ensure that Pikasso can integrate whatever data sources it likes and ensure customers get a great understanding of how their campaigns are performing. Finally, dynamic content and content featuring innovative tech, like augmented reality, are fully supported by Broadsign Control. This makes Pikasso’s imaginative and boundary-pushing approach to DOOH possible.

Shows Pikasso's digital control room, where all of its displays are managed centrally.
Broadsign enables Pikasso to run its boundary-pushing DOOH network effectively

Perhaps more important, though, is the way Broadsign Reach will power Pikasso’s programmatic ambitions. By connecting all of Pikasso’s inventory with an international community of digital buyers, Broadsign Reach can help the business unlock new revenue and new opportunities. With over 30 global DSPs connected and counting, switching on Broadsign Reach will introduce Pikasso to a great many buyers likely to be interested in their premium inventory.

Thanks to the scalability of Broadsign’s solutions, as Pikasso grows, they’ll be able to incorporate new displays, expand to new countries, and grow their programmatic business without much extra demand on the team running the show. The company just gets to focus on what it wants to do and less on how it will get done. Broadsign handles the rest.

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Rob Côté
Rob Côté

Demand Generation Manager