Attention OOH advertisers: This is your Western Cape wake-up call


Posted: 16 May 2023


Since the dark days of the pandemic – and despite the dark days of Stage 6 loadshedding – the city of Cape Town and the greater Western Cape is once again alive with people. Locals and tourists bustle along busy streets; holidaymakers populate the city’s restaurants and retail outlets or venture out along the Garden Route; and the city’s flagship events, such as the Two Oceans Marathon, are back on the calendar. It’s safe to say, the Western Cape is very much back in business.

And with the July holidays on the horizon, now – more than ever – is the country’s most picturesque province rife with opportunities for out of home (OOH) advertisers.

Let’s consider the case for Cape Town.

Tourism rebounds – and the V&A remains one of Cape Town’s most iconic destinations

According to Wesgro, international two-way passengers through Cape Town International Airport reached 280,430 in January 2023, a 97% recovery on January 2019, while domestic tourism rebounded by 74%. Moreover, eight out of the top 10 source markets to Cape Town (via air) are more than fully recovered, exceeding pre-pandemic numbers. These markets included the United Kingdom (106%), Germany (112%), and the United States of America (168%), among others.


The Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront, which saw 2.3 million visitors in January 2023 and has the largest concentration of green buildings in Africa, remains a tourist hotspot, with Wesgro’s CEO Wrenelle Stander adding that the Waterfront “has played a key role in the regeneration of Cape Town’s inner city, helping to revitalise the area and attract new investment, thus contributing to the ongoing development of the city as a whole.”

For brands looking to reach international and domestic tourists, the V&A offers an unrivalled opportunity to connect with inbound travellers as well as dynamic creative options. In last year’s July holiday period, the V&A’s DOOH network Innovocean saw 7.6 million audience impressions.

Western Cape wealth

According to Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report (2023), Cape Town is one of the top 100 prime residential markets in the world (ranking: 31); one of only two African cities to feature (Nairobi is the other one and ranks at number 59), and the only place in South Africa to make the cut.

It is also the second most populous city in South Africa behind Johannesburg, with a population of 4.8 million that’s growing fast. Between 2016 and 2021, the Western Cape is estimated to have gained 292,325 citizens – a byproduct of the work from home (WFH) paradigm catalysed by Covid – with in-migration contributing 46.8% of total population growth.

And while the Mother City might be smaller than the City of Gold when it comes to potential audience size, the Cape Town market is an affluent one that punches well above its weight in ROI. While Joburg has traditionally been home to the country’s millionaires and billionaires, this is changing. New data from Henley & Partners reveals that between 2012 and 2022, Jozi saw a 40% drop in High Net-worth Individuals (HNWI), while Cape Town increased its uber-rich quotient by 10%.

Typically, advertisers want to mainly target Gauteng, but overlooking the Western Cape is a mistake, as your campaign would miss 20% of South Africa’s high-income earners. By expanding your OOH basket to include the province, advertisers can achieve disproportionate value for money by delivering a higher concentration of affluent audiences than other regions.

Dubbed ‘recession-proof’ thanks to its more stable economic environment, Cape Town also offers a degree of security from a media investment perspective.

A human-centred city

Capetonians enjoy socially connecting with friends and family and place a high value on experiences. It is therefore not surprising that, according to BrandMapp (2022), young people (18–34) living in the Western Cape show a strong affinity to billboards, with this medium being one of the most effective ways to reach them, preceded only by display ads and social media.

The city is also famous for its busy diary, which typically sees the streets jam-packed on event days. For a media planner, the streets offer an unrivalled opportunity to connect with audiences when they’re in a relaxed and positive frame of mind. This bustling city centre and key surrounding areas offer numerous creative opportunities; from trigger-based DOOH (creative can be triggered by certain conditions, such as a hot chocolate ad when the temperatures drop in July), to user-generated platforms, such as DOOHshare, which see users uploading images via the platform which are then shared across life-sized billboards.

Cape Town’s urban scene offers an environment where creativity and innovation can be harnessed to drive high levels of engagement and interaction with audiences.


Almost convinced? A few more reasons why Cape Town should be a strong contender for your OOH spend

Cape Town is notorious for its congestion, with the N1 and N2 typically seeing bumper-to-bumper traffic at peak times. For OOH advertisers, this offers an incredible opportunity to reach a captive audience, through prominent inventory such as Tractor Outdoor’s digital billboards that flank the N2, between the Jakes Gerwel and Jan Smuts Drive off-ramps.

Due to its stringent by-laws, Cape Town also sees less ‘clutter’, as the OOH market is not as saturated as other regions. There is also a good range of large and super-size (bigger than 100sqm) format highway sites, allowing advertisers to build an iconic presence in and around Cape Town while giving most bang for buck.

Finally, Cape Town offers a plethora of premium digital locations around points of interest, which allows advertisers to seamlessly activate campaigns across multiple screens. Programmatic DOOH allows you to identify opportunities and seamlessly automate the planning and buying process without wasting any time, ring fencing campaigns around points of interest while creating opportunity for condition-triggered content. Buyers can therefore optimise their targeting strategies with relevant messaging in real-time, or at key moments during holidaymakers’ journeys.

And the silver lining on the cloud that sometimes covers Table Mountain? Cape Town also experiences one stage lower loadshedding than the rest of the country.

If you haven’t given the Western Cape much attention in your outdoor media strategy yet, you really should wake up and smell the Mother City’s insanely good coffee.

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