Monday, November 17, 2014
by Mike Hillard

Outdoor advertising. The evasive media channel.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Outdoor advertising is one of my favourite media channels. Yet often it’s an execution considered as an afterthought, its effectiveness underestimated.

The beauty of the medium is that it blends in as part of your everyday environment, whether you know it or not. It is accepted as part of the urban landscape and sits almost effortlessly into the visual backdrop of every town and city. This allows advertisers to play with people’s perceptions and involve the ad in the real world.

If you consider TV, radio, digital and even newspaper advertising, all of these have certain stigmas of intrusion about them. Outdoor on the other hand, can’t be switched off, doesn’t intrude, it’s in the background working away 24 hours a day.

Consider your daily commute next time you go to work or head home. Take a moment to look around and count how many elements of outdoor advertising you pass; the messages that have subconsciously been absorbing over the last couple of weeks, you’ll be surprised at how familiar they will appear.

Being creative in the outdoors

Being familiar doesn’t mean outdoor advertising can’t also be engaging. Outdoor advertising can use its presence in the real world (in contrast to digital or print ads) to play with people’s perceptions and attract their attention.

Your outdoor ad doesn’t have to be your press ad re-sized and stuck on a bus shelter or billboard (of course it can be, if that’s your budget and it’s purely there to build awareness) – it can be more creative than this.

As consumers grow savvier and more aware of how advertisers are communicating their messages to them, outdoor is embracing technology and the need to further engage the audience. Many sites are now digital, which has opened a whole new area of creativity in the sector. My recent favourite being a Pepsi Max campaign in London recently:

View the video here

There are some great examples that are so subtle and yet so clever, using space you wouldn’t necessary immediately think of using in very unique ways. My favourites use the space they occupy and the world around them to make their point:

Outdoor is a perfect media to compliment other channels in your campaigns. Radio campaigns alone can increase reach by 22%, and press as much as 41%. But while effective, outdoor advertising enables you to reach your audience and interact with them where others can’t.