How Brands Can Build Impact and Equity During the Creative Renaissance of OOH

Year-over-year, Out-of-Home continues to enjoy growth in advertising spend. While other traditional media spend declines amidst an advertising world that is going digital, OOH is the only traditional medium that has proven more than resilient. But what is fueling this growth?

There are several factors – a significant one being the emergence of Data-Driven OOH in the past several years. This fundamental transformation empowered advertisers with deeper audience insights, attribution metrics, and programmatic buying – more than warranting such focus on the medium. Now pair this with the unique strengths of the medium, like creative resonance and the ability to easily customize OOH formats for unique brand experiences, and advertisers are quickly learning how OOH can punch well above its weight!

Heading into the 2020s, a rising trend we are closely watching is this renewed excitement and resurgence of creativity in OOH, and particularly across Classic formats like Static Posters and Transit advertising applications. We breakdown these traits in a few observations below and in our upcoming webinar on March 12, be sure to tune in!

Creative Confidence in a Brand-Safe OOH Environment

Today’s ad buyers are aware of the issues afflicting traditional digital channels such as viewability, brand safety, fraud and now the threat of a cookie-less environment changing online retargeting models. Fortunately, OOH does not have viewability issues, nor does it have fraud, click-bots or ambiguous measurement standards. In the era of brand safety concerns, it is notable that the public perceives OOH to be a trustworthy medium, as studies like Ad Standard's annual ‘Truth & Accuracy in Advertising’ points out. What does this mean for advertisers? They can confidently deliver engaging and bold creative, in a medium that is a significant and stable part of the customer journey.

Creative Flexibility in a Mass Reach Medium – OOH as an Expression of a Brand’s Unique Creativity

And we are seeing advertisers stepping forward and ramping up their creativity, taking up space with larger-than-life OOH formats that are part of the fabric of everyday life. When advertising is seen from the screens of our personal devices whether a smartphone, tablet or living room TV, all brands are working within the same confinement, and with online ads being served in rapid and overlapping succession to an overwhelmed audience, it’s more than a little tough to standout. Pile on dwindling attention spans online, and it’s easy to see how capturing attention becomes top priority. This is where we’re seeing brands use the hundreds of possible OOH configurations to be brave and carve out a uniquely creative space for themselves in a mass reach medium. An effective example of this is seen in the recent OOH campaign from Porsche. Debuting their latest model with a Superboard and a simple LED lighting embellishment, Porsche drove home the point with commuters along Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway that their first all-electric car, the Taycan is here – and it’s electrifying!

OOH as the Platform for Brands to Have Fun with Copy & Form

The interplay between OOH form, message and placement lends itself well to advertisers looking to build lasting experiences. As a society, we seem to be less uptight and more accepting of copy that respectfully pushes boundaries whether through a smart double-entendre, a play on words, or a witty and self-reflexive look at the medium and location itself. In an era of change, there is an opportunity for brands to lead the way, and we are seeing them going with the times and putting out OOH creative that makes news headlines - not for the sake of being controversial, but for being timely, fun to read and thought-provoking. We hope to see more brands having fun with their copy and follow the timeless advice of Leo Burnett: "Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read."


OOH Driving Everyday Social Sharing and Sparking Online Conversations

When OOH advertising follows the above advice, we find it becoming the topic of conversation both offline and online. In a universe of displays, OOH occupies a dominant share-of-voice in the waking world and is a natural bridge to the online world. When advertising stops interrupting what people are interested in, and becomes what people are interested in it sparks interest and social sharing. While many OOH campaigns have social sharing as a KPI, many come by it naturally. And it is happening on a daily basis for a myriad of reasons. We’ve seen celebrities share OOH campaigns they’re featured in on Instagram and Twitter, such as Bethenny Frankel who organically reengaged her millions of followers with the Hayu TTC streetcar ad she’s in. For the non-celebrities among us, we’re just as inclined to share an entertaining OOH ad or one that is meant to provoke serious conversations at a local or national level. Whatever the reason for social sharing, it’s no doubt giving that creative extended reach and longevity.

If Content is King, then Context is Queen


Context has always been an inherent strength of OOH. A shift in emphasis from ‘OOH locations’ to ‘OOH audiences at key locations’, makes context an incredible device for advertisers to use in their media strategy. Research shows that contextualizing advertising content stimulates higher ad recall and positive brand association indicators. Larger-than-life formats placed in unique settings give advertisers an impactful way to create immersive, shared experiences that resonate with audiences. Don’t leave opportunity on the drawing board! Draw increased attention with contextual messaging by playing on the environment, ad form, or nodding directly to the target audience as seen in this meta, no-frills OOH campaign and Transit Station Domination by No Name at Toronto’s Union Station to promote the launch of their new product line, Simple Check.

We deem these creative production embellishments, and contextual ad placements the OOH Innovative Edge. Advertisers are harnessing the power of OOH and custom embellishments to create unique brand experiences that are tactical and build staying power – well after the campaign has wrapped. 

To learn more, tune into the FREE webinar: where we’ll go over ways advertisers can give their next OOH campaign that added edge through Classic Production embellishments, how OOH Production Teams are your go-to resource for applying creativity in a timely manner, and why the Innovative Edge is the key link for driving immediate impact and an essential component of long-term brand building strategy.

Sarah Hall
Marketing Manager,
PATTISON Outdoor Advertising

Mary Ventresca
VP, Marketing & Business Development,
PATTISON Outdoor Advertising

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