Out-of-home advertising is by no means a new concept. For decades, the public sphere has been one of the many entry points for advertising to infiltrate consumers’ lives. However, of late, OOH advertising has experienced a revival. This traditional form of advertising is becoming increasingly popular, despite the increasing percentage of marketing budgets being put towards digital efforts. “OOH ad spending has been growing consistently since recovery from the recession in 2010,” (Ad Week, Rubin) and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
So why are marketers choosing out-of-home ad space for their campaigns? While OOH ads risk being ignored, many successful OOH campaigns are stopping consumers in their tracks, interfering with their everyday lives in a way that is powerful and effective. “One of the oldest forms of advertising” (Ad Week, Rubin) is being combined with innovative thinking and modern technology to produce amazing results. Brands that approach OOH with the right attitude make a lasting impression on the consumers they reach.
A popular space for OOH advertising is bus stops and the industry is pushing this medium farther than ever before. Marketers are using this ad space to interact and engage with their consumers in dynamic and dramatic ways. For example, German restaurant Fisch Franke transformed a bus stop into a fish tank with live trout to show that the food they serve is “as fresh as can be,” while 3M Security Glass is so confident in their product that they left $3 million at a bus stop, guarded only by their glass. Skate-and-surf brand Quiksilver transformed a bus stop into a skate ramp whereas car-lovers were offered a place for people to put up ads to sell their current car in order to enter a contest to win a new Alfa Romeo. Vitamin Water, wanting to be known as the drink to power-up with, provided pedestrians with a place to charge their cell and smart phones.
But things don’t have to be quite that fancy. Yellowpages has made a splash in Canada with their bold, streamline, geo-specific ads. Starting as a phone book, the company has gone digital with their listings and thus targets each ad to the specific neighbourhood or subway station it’s located in. The campaign launched in Toronto Ontario last summer, but this summer has spread to Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary as well. “Yellowpages is proving that they can still help you find exactly what you’re looking for, no matter where you are,” (Media In Canada, Kolm) with these hyper-local ads that play on the culture and identity of each city and neighbourhood. The campaign has been an enormous success for the company, as “the recall numbers have been through the roof.” (Media In Canada, Kolm)
The static medium of outdoor posters and billboards now offers endless opportunities for advertisers to be creative. Some campaigns are based on bold, powerful, cheeky and clever design, while others are starting to use modern technology to allow OOH ads to be entry points for digital or social campaigns. Some out-of-home ads, like Hennessy’s Wild Rabbit bus stop ads, prompt people to scan a QR code that takes them to the company’s website, while others promote social sharing, like Reebok’s interactive storefronts that allow passers-by to take photos of themselves and share them via Facebook and email. Social aspects like this have become so prominent that Nancy Fletcher, president and CEO of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, quotes that in December 2011, “every single one of the entries [in the Media Plan Awards] had a social media/mobile component. That had never happened before.” (Ad Week, Rubin) In many successful campaigns, out-of-home is often just a small piece of the whole campaign.
There are countless other examples of creative approaches brands have taken with OOH advertising. And while each brand develops a strategy that works for them and embodies what their brand is about, the commonality is that each gets people to stop and pay attention to the message they are promoting.
To make OOH advertising work, you need to make a splash to stop people in their tracks. The president and CEO of Pearl Media, Josh Cohen, says out-of-home advertising offers the chance to “get eyeballs or stop consumers in their tracks and get them to do something that creates a lasting impression about the brand, then share that experience.” (Ad Week, Rubin) Successful campaigns are reaping the rewards of meeting consumers in public spaces. But, if you want to see the same results from a small bus ad or a large rooftop billboard, you have to make an impact to get any attention. It’s not an easy task, but for those up to the challenge, it’s well worth it.
Author: Katherine Pearce
- “20 Clever Bus Shleter Ads To Brighten our Travels,” Ad Week, Tim Nudd, http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/20-clever-bus-shelter-ads-brighten-your-travels-133561
- “33 Cool and Creative Bus Stop Advertisements,” Bored Panda, http://www.boredpanda.com/cool-and-creative-bus-stop-ads/
- “In Through The Outdoor – How brands are making out-of-home the entry point for consumer engagement,” Ad Week, James Peter Rubin, http://www.adweek.com/sa-article/through-outdoor-139887
- “Yellow Pages Group meets Toronto’s neighbourhoods,” Media in Canada, Jordan Twiss, http://mediaincanada.com/2013/06/11/yellow-pages-group-meets-torontos-neighbourhoods/
- “Yellow Pages’ dominating new mobile app campaign,” Media in Canada, Josh Kolm, http://mediaincanada.com/2014/06/19/yellow-pages-dominating-campaign-promotes-new-mobile-app/