oOh! promotes positivity and kindness as reprieve from COVID-19

Outdoor advertising giant oOh!media has teamed up with grassroots Facebook campaign, The Kindness Pandemic, to share uplifting stories of kindness from the Australian community and provide reprieve from the COVID-19 news cycle.

The campaign with The Kindness Pandemic is now live and is across oOh!media’s retail, street and rail networks around the country, showcasing three new messages of positive moments that have been posted to the Facebook group and amplified across oOh!’s assets every week.

Some examples include teenagers offering to shop for the elderly to neighbours leaving flowers for one another.

According to the ASX-listed company (ASX:OML), the move follows a series of initiatives by oOh! to promote positivity and kindness, including the amplification of community messages around shopping responsibly, considering the elderly and disabled, and feel-good news stories from around the globe across its assets.

Chief content and creative officer Neil Ackland said The Kindness Pandemic, which is gaining around 100,000 new members each day, was an innovative way of providing some reprieve from the current confronting COVID-19 news cycle.

“Our partnership with this heart-warming community campaign is an important part of oOh!’s passion to make public spaces better, drawing attention to these random acts of kindness from members of our local communities and at the same time encouraging our family, friends and neighbours to continue acting with consideration and empathy,” he said.

The Kindness Pandemic founder Catherine Barrett said the partnership spreads the kindness message across more communities around Australia.

“oOh! is helping to share messages of kindness, to restore faith in humanity and to let the Australian community know that we as a society are kind and we have each other’s back,” she said.

“With almost 600,000 members, we are now focused on helping communities set up a local Kindness Pandemic group. This is where the power for change now lies – from local communities sharing acts of kindness and offering to help each other right through to local services sharing health information and local businesses providing updates.

“oOh!’s support will help to raise awareness of the campaign in all pockets of Australia, giving people practical support and most importantly, hope.”

oOh!media also recently launched a number of initiatives to improve its financial flexibility and liquidity in light of recent global macroeconomic conditions resulting from COVID-19. In February, the company reported a 10 per cent drop in net profit after tax to $52.4 million for 2019.

It also withdrew its 2020 full year revenue guidance citing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic as the reason.

These initiatives include a $167 million fully underwritten equity raising, with proceeds to be applied to repay its debt and fund transaction costs; the introduction of material cost control measures with identified savings of $20 million to $30 million in operating expenditure and fixed rent expense reduction to be realised over FY20; the introduction of a CAPEX reduction program by $25 million to $35 million below the previously stated $60 million to $70 million amount; and amendments to the company’s debt arrangements.

oOh!media CEO Brendon Cook said despite a challenging macroeconomic backdrop, trading for CY20 [calendar year 20] to date remains flat compared to the previous corresponding period in FY19, which was in line with expectations.

“With the impact of the economic outlook remaining uncertain at this time, we see risk around trading for FY20 and as such have taken the prudent and cautious measure of raising equity to repay debt and implementing cost control measures and CAPEX reductions,” he said.

“Despite this challenging market environment, management believed the fundamentals for the Out of Home industry remain positive.

“The initiatives announced provide the company with significant liquidity to trade through uncertain times ahead, and will position oOh!media to continue leading the Out of Home industry, which we believe is a long-term structural growth sector.”

Cook announced his resignation at the end of January but is expected to stay on in his role until the end of the year.

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