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The future of out of home and billboard advertising

The future of out of home and billboard advertising

When you think “out of home,” you’re probably picturing a faded billboard in the middle of nowhere. You know, the one that’s been up for a decade that you pass every year on your drive home for Thanksgiving. But that’s not the case anymore. That billboard is getting a makeover and moving to the big city — this isn't your grandmother's out of home advertising anymore.

In recent years, especially those spent stuck inside, digital advertising has been king. And it makes perfect sense; if people are online, you should advertise online. But as we move into a “post-COVID” era, people are craving what they’d been missing most during the lockdown days: connecting with the world around them and with creativity on a large scale. And OOH advertising lives at the intersection of connection and creativity.

The future of out of home advertising

How do you bring out of home out of the box? Technology is reshaping how we approach advertising in the great outdoors and providing unprecedented opportunities for creativity. Imagine passing a digital billboard for a clothing company that changes with the weather. On a hot summer day, it shows shorts and tank tops. And when it starts to rain, it shifts to images of raincoats. 

But it doesn’t stop at shiny new billboards. Technology paired with activations can take narrow experiences and make them shared, generating wider emotional connections. The beautiful thing is that this can be done at any scale — a QR code that leads to an augmented reality experience right from someone’s phone, or a major, global event like Stranger Things’ pre-season 4 activation, which included projecting portals to the Upside Down on major landmarks across the world.

How can you make out of home advertising creative again?

So what significance does OOH hold for marketers, beyond exciting creative moments? It’s an extremely strategic way to meet consumers where they are — figuratively and literally. It’s always a goal to be present for any and every part of a consumer’s journey, and OOH functions well at all points along the funnel.

For example, GonnaNeedMilk ran a campaign where they sponsored women running the NYC marathon, supporting them through the whole process: beginning with branded training gear and ending with milk for post-race recovery, with outdoor signage on the running trail in between.  

Let’s bring that billboard out of retirement

Now that we’ve convinced you of the modern value of out of home, it’s time to share some secrets for doing it right.

  • View it as digital. If you’re having trouble moving beyond the “OOH is static and slow” mindset, view it as a form of digital marketing. This will help shape your timelines, creative, and strategy in a more effective way.
  • Partner it with activations. Your best shot at a successful out of home campaign is by not letting it stand alone. Keep that real-world connection going strong by creating something interactive or show-stopping that consumers can engage in.
  • Know what kind of OOH works best. There are different kinds of out of home advertising, including digital, augmented reality, and place-based TV (a form of OOH that plays where that brand’s customers are most likely to be, such as gas stations, auto shops, or doctors' offices). Some methods may work better than others for finding your audience and achieving your goals.

Are you ready to bring your brand into the real world with out of home advertising? Our team of creatives, strategists, and media experts are ready to make it happen.

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