Roadside ads turn up the heat at Cop26

A host of charities, brands and campaign groups have realized the power of large-format digital screens around the Cop26 venue in Glasgow to convey hard-hitting messages to delegates, the public and watching media.

The mammoth out-of-home (OOH) push will transform streets and attractions across the city from the weekend onwards as clients rush to secure space across Ocean Outdoor’s estate of 55 outsize screens, including a 55sq/m full-motion display positioned off George Square.

Leading the charge is ethical creative agency Media Bounty, which has commissioned a series of powerful graffiti-style posters titled ‘The World Is Looking To You Cop26’ that pairs individual delegates with the victims of climate change disasters to personalize the issue.

A common thread through much of the campaign work is the mounting sense of urgency on the issue, with various executions refusing to mince their words, including one particularly frank message: ‘Will you act now, or pray we get a later?’

One organization, the Quadrature Climate Foundation, has even squatted on ad space to prevent its use by brands, issuing reassuring statements that ‘everything is OK.’

Illustrating the international reach of much of the campaigning is Australian investigative humorist Dan IIic, who has crowdfunded £21k to procure three satirical spots drawing attention to Australia’s poor climate record from Ocean’s prime Expressway Tower.

‘A Rational Fear’ incorporates three different messages, including ‘Cuddle a Koala Before We Make Them Extinct!’ and ‘Australia: Net Zero Ambitions by 2050!’ accompanied by a kangaroo with its tail on fire.

Ocean Scotland managing director Marc Keenan commented: “Cop26 is one of the most important environmental conferences ever to be held, and the first and last thing delegates will see as they arrive at and leave the conference will be our high-impact outdoor advertising screens.

“What outdoor advertising affords is a trusted, impactful environment, something which brands and organizations have recognized.”

Prized locations were subject to a 10-week sealed bid auction earlier this year by Ocean to maximize income, with the line-up of brands featuring throughout the event including BrewDog, Electronic Arts, EDF Energy, Fortescue Metals Group, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, Scottish Power, Sky, Tennent’s Brewery, Unilever, Volvo, the Woodland Trust and the Scottish Government.

This activity is augmented by enterprising brands on the ground such as the Co-op, which has changed its name to Co-op26 for the duration of the event.