Mediabrands’ out-of-home agency Rapport claims to be the first media agency to offer all U.S. clients sustainable eco-friendly signage designed to purify the air.
The “Rapport Beyond” initiative uses a special coating of Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) affixed to printed materials like billboards and related media products to remove NOx gases such as carbon emissions and other industrial pollutants from the air while the ad is posted.
The coating supposedly uses sunlight to attract greenhouse gases and smog which then operate like millions of microscopic sponges to soak up carbon. These harmful gases are then neutralized, turning them into harmless nitrates and purifying the air.
The agency also says this technology works to eliminate a wide range of substances including viruses, bacteria, molds, and allergens.
Agency leaders first began testing sustainable OOH print ads in the spring of 2017, working with partners and vendors to perfect the technology for various outdoor environments. Eighteen advertisers participated in a soft launch utilizing the new coating, spanning categories such as CPG, food and beverage, sports and entertainment. The beneficial environmental effect, according to the agency, was like planting 20 acres of trees.
While leaders understand skeptics questioning whether this move amounts to so much “greenwashing,” The agency counters that the product's photocatalytic materials are tested using a procedure sanctioned by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO Test Standard 22197). This test protocol specifically addresses a product's ability to affect air pollution. The testing was done over the course of many years — not by Rapport — but by its preferred partners and their manufacturers, states an agency spokesperson.
Concurrently, Rapport’s UK unit is introducing a digital version of Rapport Beyond that offsets greenhouse gas emissions arising through DOOH advertising. This carbon offsetting initiative uses the shop’s verification technology named Rapportal to track the number of DOOH ads that are played on screens and for how long. The agency will then calculate the amount of electricity used to display these ads per client. “We do this using our carbon calculator, that has energy consumption data supplied by media owners,” explains the representative. “Once we worked out the energy consumption, we will convert this to CO2 using a formula provided by the environmental consultant Green Element.”
Rapport offsets the relevant amount of CO2 — covering all emissions generated by client campaigns — by buying carbon offsetting credits from the United Nations accredited Gold Standard VCS schemes.
“We are excited to be scaling a new green technology for outdoor advertising that will demonstrably improve the environment and help us support and propel our clients’ sustainability goals,” said Daryl Lee, global CEO, IPG Mediabrands. “A single Rapport Beyond billboard has the capacity to offset twelve cars averaging 10,000 miles per year, the equivalent of planting 88 trees. Imagine the environmental impact when this becomes the new standard.”