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Winners can be chOOHsers

Tim Lumb, Insight & Effectiveness Director, Outsmart   |   25th January 2017

Advertising Works 23 is a rather hefty tome of IPA Effectiveness-award winning case studies and insights. Measuring in at 450+ pages, the golden book holds a fantastically diverse mix of brands that cleverly ‘translated big ideas into impressive results’. Of the 39 winners, around one third utilised OOH as part of the communications mix.

In many of the case studies effectiveness is measured econometrically, the key metric being ROMI (return on marketing investment). I’ve written an article in the past about  the challenges  faced by econometric models to accurately measure OOH’s contribution to ROMI and its great to see some of this year’s winners call out OOH as an important driver of their campaign’s success.

To illustrate, here are two examples from Advertising Works 23, which both yield impressive results despite using OOH  in different ways.

The first winner is Art Fund, a UK Charity dedicated to saving and promoting works of art. Art Fund used OOH to reframe their proposition and ultimately increase donations. This case study was a mammoth one and covered activities across 2011-15!

Across 2012-15, 70% of their brand building budget was spend on OOH and press with much of the OOH targeting London commuters, building and maintaining awareness. In 2015-16 location-specific creative was introduced, which made special reference to how close the audience was to great art in steps, stations or minutes. Calls to action encouraged visits to artfund.org for more info and opportunities.

The long-term effect was substantial. Across 2011-15 the marketing spend was over £3M and the ROMI (incremental profit / marketing spend) was an astonishing £4.07 for every £1 spent. Art Fund pointed to the close relationship between the media plan and the creative work as the key to success.

For OOH specifically, the brilliant graph below shows the huge awareness and action a brand can attain once OOH is implemented.

The second shining example is from Sixt, a challenger brand in the car-rental sector. Their mission was to change consumers choice of car-rental company (a typically habitual purchase) . No small task. And all on a modest budget of £500K.

Sixt’s media strategy was to sacrifice reach for domination by  focusing their campaign on where their target audience would be, and what they would respond to.Sixt ran takeovers of Canary Wharf tube station to reach its aspirational audience. The creative was bright, bold and drew on a key consumer insight – people enjoy being seen in an expensive car (that was rented for a bargain price) ..perfectly encapsulated in ’Drive Smug’.

Sixt’skey brand measures grew, local sales responded and they rented more luxury cars. Additionally they established a recognisable brand narrative that stands-out, and can easily be transferred s across platforms and channels. Net profit return was £0.80p for every £1 Invested.

Given the rigour of the process involved, an IPA effectiveness award is a huge achievement and a badge of honour for any applicant. So congratulations to both Art Fund UK and Sixt!

In addition to their stellar results, these case studies also share an elegant simplicity that I think serves as a best practice: concise messaging, wrapped in impactful, eye-catching creative that is relevant to the audience. It doesn’t have to be complicated, does it?


"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"