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The eye catching potential in Out of Home

May 14, 2018

Out-of-Home (OOH) is one of the oldest methods of marketing – and after all these years it’s still one of the most effective. Each innovation in technology brings more opportunity for creativity than before, so read on as we explore the practice and potential of promotion in one of its purest forms. 
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As the name suggests, OOH encompasses everything the consumer sees when out and about – from traditional billboards and bus stops, to new interactive screens that have appeared across our streets and floor spaces. Hard to miss and impossible to block, they boast a captive audience without being intrusive – and the already sizeable consumer base they appeal to is continuing to rise. The average adult now spends approximately three hours a day in the outside advertising space, 25% more time than we did 10 years ago. Combine this with 83% of callers stating that they recalled an OOH ad within 30 minutes of a purchase, and it’s no wonder investment in this method of marketing is on the rise – particularly in its exciting new digital format. Digital OOH is expected to be worth $18.5 billion by 2020 – a significant rise from $10 billion in 2015.

Arguably one of the simplest and purest forms of advertising, OOH allows words and visuals with maximum impact to combine in the delivery of one single, simple message. But due to the nature of the moving audience, agencies and brands need to get creative in order to achieve the greatest effect in a single glance. A notable example is Michelin’s recent billboard, featuring Bibendum’s arm guiding a car round a sharp turn on a mountain pass. Despite its lack of wording and logo, it’s still obvious which brand it belongs to, the simplicity making it recognisable to anyone familiar with their famous character. No matter what their language, viewers see that Michelin is taking care of drivers with their A-grade tyres. And while this format allows for creativity in its purest form, harnessing the new technology available within OOH has also allowed marketers to push boundaries. Part of the build-up campaign for the 2017 film ‘The Emoji Movie’ included interactive billboards complete with cameras and face recognition software, picking up passer-by’s expressions and projecting them for all to see in the form of an emoji. This real-time tech couldn’t fail to engage those who came into contact with it, and promoted the film in the light-hearted, entertaining way consistent with its plot. 

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The proven success of OOH means companies are only expected to capitalise on this in the future with further innovation – but there is even further potential for all businesses to use this medium effectively. As we walk up and down our high streets, we see the monikers of big-name brands left-right and centre. But the localisation of OOH makes it the prime candidate for the smaller, more community-focused company or campaign. Research has shown every £1 spent on advertising makes SMEs eight times as much as it would for a larger firm, so this could be a valuable area of investment for these businesses. Additionally, OOH is so noticeable that it could be a powerful vehicle for not only spreading brand messages, but inspiring social and ethical change. Coffee-pod brand Halo recently achieved both these results with their animated billboard. The simply executed ad showed coffee pods falling into the screen to illustrate the message that 13,500 coffee pods hit landfill every minute – and digital OOH made this message and campaign possible in a striking way that inspired many consumers to change their consumption habits. 

In terms of usability for smaller brands and in spreading a community-based message, OOH may currently be failing – but audio branding has the potential to fill in these gaps. Accessible to SMEs and global superbrands alike, it delivers a real return on investment through increased sales enquiries and stronger brand loyalty. And just as local billboards could target communities, audio branding delivers information that has a proven interest to the company’s community: their caller. With a captive audience on the end of the line, businesses have the opportunity to really spread their message effectively – speaking to their customer in a way that’s as un-ignorable as even the biggest of billboards.