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How to use outdoor advertising creatively to engage consumers

How to use outdoor advertising creatively to engage consumers

Best practice by Matt Gordon, managing director, Limited Space.

Outdoor advertising has typically been used for high-impact, in your face brand building. But, more recently, brands have been looking to better engage with consumers and enhance their brand loyalty.

New formats and technological innovations are all helping to evolve the outdoor medium and providing new and exciting ways for consumers to truly interact with brands.

Innovations in digital technology have helped campaigns become more interactive. A recent campaign for The Royal National Institute for Deaf People on our digital format Ad HD, focused around research they’d carried out. This showed that one in seven people are affected by hearing loss.

The ads aimed to illustrate that those affected would give anything to hear clearly again – even if it meant hearing things others wouldn’t want to hear. For example: ‘1 in 7 would love to hear that their partner’s having an affair.’

Initially developed by M&C Saatchi as a static print ad, the digital teams at Play and LIDA took it one step further by programming the creative to allow the ad to analyse sound levels via a microphone and modify the graphic accordingly.

The end result was a visual representation of ambient sound, which helped demonstrate what people are missing out on through hearing loss. It allowed passers-by to directly interact with the ad.

Although digital formats provide unique opportunities for engagement there are also ways of using static formats to engage consumers. A good example of this is a campaign for 7-Up.

The campaign used our Adlift format (full-sized lift door posters) and our Adlift Experience format, where a client can wrap the entire inside of the lift with artwork to captivate consumers while they’re in the lift, walking past or waiting for it. For Britvic’s relaunch of 7-Up they ran a campaign with the headline ‘Nature is closer than you think’ to highlight that 7-Up was made with 100% natural flavours.

They turned the inside of the lifts at six malls around the UK into tropical rainforests and we went one step further by incorporating sound boxes into the lifts to mimic the calls of birds and crickets.

The combination of the creative and the format totally immersed shoppers in the world that 7-Up wanted to create and provided a unique and engaging brand experience.

Another good example is a campaign for CSI: The Experience – a tour, inspired by the global hit TV series, which allowed visitors to experience forensic science by trying to solve one of three crimes.

The tour made its UK debut in Birmingham’s Bullring and we turned the Bullring’s lifts into crime scenes with creative that featured yellow tape on the doors and in the inside of the lifts to help drive shoppers to visit the experience on the second floor of the mall.  

Combining the format and the creative in a clever way is another way of making your campaign stand out. We recently ran a campaign in France at the Créteil Soleil mall in Paris. The client, Kraft, used our French Panoramic format, which is located in the centre of the mall.

A large format poster was applied to the base of the lift shaft, and combined with posters on the back of the glass lifts. The Panoramic cleverly amplified the creative, which consisted of an Oreo cookie being dunked into a glass of milk.

When the lift moved up and down, the cookie - located on the back of the lifts - appeared to be ‘dunked’ into the Oreo branded glass of milk located on the large format poster at the base of the lift.

These type of campaigns won’t work with every format but if you have a good idea and work closely with a specialist media agency who can advise you on what formats might work best with your creative, you can quickly reap the results.

Outdoor advertising will continue to evolve. Advances in technology, particularly when it comes to digital, are bringing new possibilities for interacting with outdoor ads. With the interest in 3D reaching an all-time high the opportunity to use 3D in outdoor ads is also an exciting one.

Traditional formats can work very well in promoting your brand if they’re in the right location for their audience. But if you want to create a unique and interactive brand experience for consumers, outdoor advertising may just hold the answer. 

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