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The Golden Age of Outdoor

Ric Albert , Creative Director, Grand Visual   |   25th May 2018

Ten years ago, digital out-of-home was in its infancy; a blank canvas yet to be painted with the exciting content we see today. Film marketing was still very much focusing on the traditional channels of TV, print and OOH; video-on-demand and pre-roll ads had only just started to appear. In fact, online was where film marketing first started experimenting creatively. However, as the functionality and scale of Digital OOH has expanded, so too, has the way in which entertainment brands use it.

Fast forward 10 years, and things have changed dramatically. Today, digital inventory has given OOH film campaigns a new lease of life, adding some movie magic to outdoor executions. Now marketeers can run trailers and video content on the street, introduce characters, plot teasers, or run live-action sequences, direct from the film to whet the public’s appetite. Digital OOH has become the ideal advertising channel for the entertainment industry.

Shifting the needle

There’s been experimentation. It started in 2006 with Rocky Balboa running up the first digital escalator panels on London Underground, changing the way we thought about multi-panel creative. It continued with Legend of the Guardians, which saw a campaign from Warner Bros pioneering subtle motion on roadside screens, a motion format that’s now an international standard. 

In 2011, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 streamed its world premiere live to DOOH screens. Then there was the Jurassic World execution at Waterloo, which combined, traditional OOH, station wraps, Digital OOH and experiential. And a variety of AR and VR activations were used across the world for the release of supernatural horror IT.

There is real momentum to this creative evolution, and advertisers are changing the way they create and use OOH media. From static branding channel to high impact PR vehicle, DOOH now live streams worldwide premieres, provides immersive augmented reality events and delivers iconic treatments tailored for iconic buildings, environments and screen locations. Now OOH can be engaging, immersive, participatory, integrated and scalable.

Scaling interaction

Connecting with film fans on a deeper level is now achievable. Digital OOH offers interaction via a multitude of creative technology solutions. A campaign for Dr Strangeopened up live portals between sunny Los Angeles and rainy London, and allowed people to warp the world in front of them. An AR campaign for Batman v Superman allowed participants across several markets to become their favourite superhero. And these aren’t just one-off special builds, we’re seeing interactive campaigns becoming more scalable: it’s now possible to produce engaging, responsive experiences seamlessly across borders and markets.

The digitisation of OOH has also enabled outdoor creative to become firmly embedded in the broader digital strategy, playing a central role in an omnichannel execution. The power of social media and its influence over box office results means that OOH can be a great conduit for driving audiences online, and vice versa. Digital outdoor activations can be crafted to generate shareable content for garnering audiences online. 

For the recent launch of season 7 of Game of Thrones, dramatic fan reactions posted on social channels were shared moments later on digital screens across the UK, tapping into the buzz and excitement of the show whilst delivering a powerful UGC endorsement. Interestingly, Digital OOH has also begun to influence other channels, with its content nowadays seen at movie premieres and press junkets, as well as within online banner creative and social feeds. 

Digital OOH’s presence and ubiquity in cities around the world is also part of its allure to the film and entertainment industries. Film campaigns demand an international rollout, and as DOOH spend overtakes traditional OOH revenue in markets around the world, this has forced us to change our approach. Nowadays scalability is vital to production processes, so now we use master creative toolkits and flexible creative that can adapt to all the different shapes, sizes, durations, environments and audiences of the screens we’re faced with. 

To give you an idea of that scale, in 2017 we delivered over 12,500 files to 52 markets, from Guatemala to Kazakhstan. Localisation and delivery become paramount, as does sophisticated ad-serving technology from QDOT. Now multiple markets can take advantage of a toolkit of creative rather than the traditional siloed approach. 

So, what next? It’s undeniable that Digital OOH has become a major marketing channel for film studios and entertainment brands. Moreover, the film industry has become a major driving force for the continued development and evolution of global Digital OOH campaigns. 

Now that the production processes have been nailed and the intelligent ad-serving infrastructure is in place, we expect to see truly global campaigns that deliver local relevance become the new standard. Combined with tactical, interactive and cross-channel strategies, the marriage between film marketing and digital OOH looks set to blossom.

 First published by Contagious here

"As an industry, I believe, we have forgotten the power of repetition. Effective communication isn't small. It isn't cheap. It isn't once."
"Advertising isn’t supposed to be private. It’s supposed to be overheard, shared, stumbled across and discovered."
"And then there’s advertising’s past. The intrusive, inflexibile and mute billboards. They feel like throwbacks to the old way of doing things. A flat image with an unyielding rule that the consumer can take in no more than eight words (unless they’re Economist readers). How boring. How old school. Until you remember 2015's ‘Shot on iPhone 6’ campaign. Simple, traditional and utterly un-missable pieces of art in the urban landscape."
"Out of Home is the oldest medium of all There’s still huge power in the public message – the power of the public comment. It’s a big thing – it’s why people get married in front of an audience of 150; it gives a public sense of commitment."
"We've chosen to use digital to make everything more efficient...but we've forgotten how to explore and discover. It's a loss of serendipity and we've lost a lot of the humanity. We're becoming very reliant upon digital and the internet to make us incredibly efficient and we're losing out."
"The beauty of OOH is that it can double as a TV screen, a social feed, a camera, a vending machine, a download site, or a purchase point."
"OOH is constantly evolving, and its ability to integrate so brilliantly with new technology is one of its main strengths."
"Media changes, driven by digitisation, have left consumers facing a tyranny of choice—yet OOH is a channel that can still deliver huge audiences, and can increasingly do so in creative and engaging ways."
"The Out of Home sector has been tremendously resilient throughout the recessionary years, showing consistent growth driven by its fundamental benefits. In an ever-fragmenting media landscape, you can still reach pretty much the entire population, all at the same time."
"Out of Home is booming right now: OOH is the most ubiquitous media – you can’t turn the page, change the channel or switch it off, and Out of Home continues to integrate itself brilliantly with other new and innovative technologies."
"Posters decorate the world "
"Speed of change is all around us and no more so than in the rate at which advertising investment in traditional posters is being transitioned to include a far more flexible Out of Home canvas; the digital poster."
"I love OOH because the diversity of opportunities makes it a realistic option for almost any client. Add to this the ever growing possibilities for new innovation and it’s a media channel that is truly exciting to both agencies and clients alike."
"As DOOH becomes more “digital,” it becomes more agile, richer, and better able to play its part in a big idea. As a plugged in medium, DOOH can be the active element in a multi-layered campaign. It can create buzz, break news, invite interaction, and help to drive content and discussions online. Great DOOH campaigns are ones that sit comfortably within the wider brand strategy and capture the imagination."
"By its very nature, Out of Home’s remoteness from the consumer living room, from the office, and from the home computer, has made it a natural bedfellow of mobile marketing."
"OOH inhabits a wonderful space in which we benefit from a rich heritage of memorable, iconic campaigns and a truly exciting future unfolding before us. A broadcast medium that just keeps getting better."
"DOOH is a really interesting storytelling medium, beyond advertising. It allows you to touch and feel and interact in a way no other medium does. That's the real beauty of it, and usually overlooked"
"Show me any brief, for any client and any campaign and I guarantee that OOH will be able to have a justifiable role to play as part of the media solution. That role maybe big or small; local or national, classic, digital or both, large format, small format or anything in between... but it will be justifiable and worthwhile. There isn’t any other medium that can replicate that claim, or indeed come anywhere near doing so."
"London’s very large public transport network carries a great deal of OOH advertising. As a result, London alone has 170,000 advertising sites, more than 40 per cent of the national total. This makes London the most valuable city for OOH advertising in Europe and among the most important in the world."
"Digital OOH networks are multi-sensory and with the development of touch technology things are moving fast. Stimulating the senses more creatively generates social shares, great PR and awards."
"Central London will undergo a transformation and cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds will get even brighter and more connected"
"It makes sense for the most welcomed and least intrusive media to deliver presence for brands interacting through the media"
"OOH remains the flexible canvas for which a guaranteed audience is never too far away"
"OOH may be the oldest medium, yet it has shown remarkable resilience in reinventing itself"
"Smarter brands are contextualising their ad messaging, reaching a target audience when it matters most and can change behaviour"
"Poster sites really are the last true broadcast medium capable of near universal reach"
"Immediacy, targeting and excitement are what DOOH can offer that other media can't - its just very very cool.The opportunities are endless"
"The combination of classic and DOOH should be an intoxicating mix for any marketing director"
"Out of Home is an accountable, measurable and effective media for advertisers"
"Reaching people in the right place, at the right time is still Out of Home’s biggest strength"
"Posters are the purest and most effective form of communication"
"I would advise marketers using OOH not to see a poster as a Wikipedia entry, think of it as a piece of art"
"OOH engages hard to reach audiences on the move with inspiring and innovative communications"
"Using data to plan OOH enhances campaign performance by up to 200%"
"London is the most valuable city for OOH advertising... and among the most important in the world "
"Super premium digital Out of Home is one of the quickest ways to get into the conversation and make your brand famous"
"For a brand to live, it needs to appeal not only to the people who buy it, but also to the people who know about it "
"Media isn’t about the number of impressions you make. Media is about the power of the impression you make."
"In advertising, we have the power to change minds, change beliefs and change the world"
"DOOH offers deeper engagement than other media, more of a story and feedback"