Out-of-home advertising has been trying to out-do each other, particularly on a digital scale. Ahead of The Drum Out of Home Awards, we spoke to five judges from WCRS, Identity, The Leith Agency, Notonthehighstreet.com and Havas Media on what they believe are impactful OOH campaigns.
Shea Bennett, head of brand experience, Identity
Cossette and McDonald’s: ‘Follow The Arches’
Fast food giant McDonald branding is so iconic, so ubiquitous and so immediately recognisable that its meaning and what it represents is communicated to the viewer instantly. If you’re driving and you’re hungry, once you catch sight of those Golden Arches it’s all over. Burger King never even stood a chance.
The branding is consistent, and so is the food, but Canadian agency Cosette noticed one area where McDonald’s was all over the place: the road signs steering people to their restaurants. Cosette’s solution was both brilliant and simple – a new way-finding system that cropped the Golden Arches into a directional path, alerting drivers to the nearest location where they could pick up a Big Mac. With just minimal text alongside this ingenious use of the brand’s colouring and a slice of the (still immediately recognisable) logo, the ‘Follow The Arches’ campaign gave McDonald’s a simple, unified design system that is adaptable to any market around the world.
Originally restricted to four billboards (three static and one digital) in high traffic areas across Toronto, the campaign received the Grand Prix awards for outdoor at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and is now expected to be extended globally.
Penny Parnell, leader of all things creative, Notonthehighstreet.com
DDB Germany and Stabilo’s ‘Highlight the remarkable’
The best OOH campaign this year? Stabilo’s ‘Highlight the remarkable’. The idea’s so exquisitely simple. Inspiring. Thought-provoking. Timely.
Let’s face it, differentiating yourself from every other lairy coloured, passage pen out there with no USP to speak of is no easy task. No wonder they won gold at Cannes.
It’s the clarity and brevity of the copy and art direction. The three word headline. The arresting way the colour pops on black and white. The fact that the core thought is interesting enough for you to read on, and could run and run.
Yes, there’s been some 'fanackapanning' about the copy’s accuracy (apparently Katherine Johnson is more famous for her Apollo 13 work than 11, Edith Wilson might’ve had her exaggeration pants on and people are funny about ‘Nasa’ not being ‘NASA’). But must we really be so pedantic about the parts when the whole is so sublime?
What’s truly clever is how this campaign delivers more than just adland peacocking. It sells. Would I now actively choose these pens as a direct result of seeing the ads? Hell yes.
As a woman, working for a company founded by women, championing thousands of small creative businesses run by women, this caught my attention and has fundamentally changed my opinion. Stabilo’s become a name I’d recommend for our stationery cupboard any day and would buy and use with pride. Surely that’s outdoor at its best. Good work DDB.
Dino Burbidge, director of technology and innovation, WCRS
Musicbed: targeted out-of-home campaign
The innovation and technology pouring into the OOH industry is making almost anything possible, but have you noticed that many of the biggest players in tech opt for some of the most basic media formats? Spotify, Facebook, Apple, eBay and Google all have monster campaigns using good-old paper and paste billboards. It’s as though they live in a world of infinite possibilities, so, like Neo seeing the Matrix, they can see through the sprinkles and get straight to the cake.
OOH, in its purist form plays by the old advertising adage, “right message, right place, right time” and Musicbed took it one step further than most: A paper and paste billboard, with a message to one person, in one location… just across the road from their office. That (influential advertising) person noticed the message, as did everyone (in advertising) in the building who shared it on social, as did everyone (in advertising) who works near. They get what’s going on. As did everyone online who got it too. Musicbed’s point, almost ironically, was the power of advertising. Their music platform understands and cares about making advertising personal so innovated a historically general medium and made it personal. All for £5,700. Smart.
Rik Moore, head of strategy, Havas Media
UKTV and Dave: out of home 2018
I’m really taken with the ongoing work for TV Channel Dave that runs in OOH. While it's not a huge impact campaign, or an immersive experience piece, its a great example of OOH done well. It has creative that has absolutely nailed the tone-of-voice and world view of the channel to create a comedic-equivalent of the behaviours that made the classic Economist work so strong in outdoor.
The ads are genuinely funny, and make you want to look and see what they’ve done next. The idea has flex to stretch to real world developments, such as Dave’s public fall out with Virgin Media, which they addressed well around the launch of the new season of Taskmaster. It also has smart media placement, with a heavy bias towards transport OOH, so that it prompts commuters on their way home to consider spending a night with Dave in front of the TV. It's well executed on every level.
Ed Brooke, head of leith, The Leith Agency
Mother and KFC - Hot and Spicy
In my early days, I was an aspiring copywriter before being gently advised that I might be better suited to client servicing – I take revenge in creative reviews here at Leith. So, I’m a big believer in the power of short punchy head-turning lines to cut through the clutter. Outside of Church’s across the land you’ll see a good two-word example of this – try praying. It’s certainly arresting, provocative and pertinent to our times
But I’m turning from The Church and copy to chicken that’s hot, spicy and very visually tasty when it comes to the best OOH work of the year so far. You’ve got to take your hats off to KFC and Mother, they’ve really put the swagger back into Colonel Tom. Their work for Hot & Spicy smacks of a client and agency team totally on top of their game. It’s bold, arresting, layered and just balls-out confident. I imagine all the creative reviews and client reviews on this one must have just been full of people nodding, smiling and thinking “that’s genius, job done” And I’ll also throw in their FCK print ad – I’m not sure whether this ran as OOH but an abbreviated version so easily could have done. Respect.
The awards are back for 2019 and entries are now open. Make sure you submit before August 15 for a special discounted rate.
Parnell, Burbidge, Moore and Brooke are all judges for The Drum Out of Home Awards 2018.
The 2018 awards were sponsored by Identity.