‘Outdoor’ was the media category which ended up attracting the largest number of entries at this year’s Cannes festival, garnering an impressive 5367 submissions from across the globe. As such, it seems that the world’s oldest advertising format is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance which can be attributed to a combination of evolving digital platforms, new data sources, and an increasing trend towards greater mobile convergence. This article looks at three different examples of outdoor led advertising which all do a great job in underlining the unique powers of the medium.
And what better place to start than with this year’s Grand Prix winning ‘Brewtroleum’ campaign for the beer brand DB Export? The creative folk at DB Export decided to team up with the fuel company Gull with the aim of converting its leftover brewing yeast into a clean biofuel. The brewtroleum fuel became a reality and was subsequently made available for sale at over 60 gas stations across New Zealand. The stations themselves ended up serving as giant interactive billboards, both simultaneously marketing the product while promoting the brand’s newfound environmental credentials. The campaign is particularly noteworthy in that it demonstrates the extent to which the boundaries of traditional outdoor advertising are undergoing a paradigm shift. Needless to say, the execution was also a huge commercial success – For further info, you can watch the full campaign case study video here
Another best-in-class example comes from Switzerland where the Graubunden Tourism Organisation found a unique way to capture the attention of busy Zurich commuters. Office workers caught in the rat race of passing through the city’s main train station were greeted with a live feed of a friendly man waving at them from the idyllic Swiss mountain village of Vrin. The man from the moutains then spoke directly to individual commuters extending an invitation for them to come visit him in beautiful Vrin as an antidote to their stressful city life. If commuters were game, the old man would then press a button and the billboard would issue a complimentary train ticket to Vrin. The execution thus became a real life portal of the brand’s promise, in this case, the chance to escape back to nature and the simpler things in life. You can check out the campaign video here
A final example of a campaign with OOH as its centerpiece is ‘The cold detector’ an innovative campaign solution designed for the German phamaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. The company set out to target people who ignore the first signs of a cold because its at this formative stage of illness that their medicines can have the greatest effect. What they ended up producing was ‘The cold detector’, an electronic billboard that can pick out the sound of a passer by’s sneeze or cough from the ambient din. The billboard then sets about capturing the passer by’s attention with a humourus message and delivering a product recommendation with directions to the nearest vendor. It’s set up also meant that the client was only charged for the ads which were served, eliminating wastage and maximising the return on media investment. You can check out the campaign video here
What unites these three different campaign examples is that they aren’t just geared at product promotion, but rather they’re focused on harnessing the medium to highlight and solve both consumer and business problems. The category is set to keep evolving in the coming years given the falling cost of LED screen technology, ongoing developments in hyper-targeting, and a clear move towards self-optimising dynamic content. As scrutiny mounts on the prevalence of online ad-blockers, OOH has an unprecedented opportunity to prove that it can be timelessly effective.