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The Drum Out of Home Awards Out-of-home Media Planning and Buying

6 clever OOH campaigns that embraced extrasensory ideas

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By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

December 13, 2022 | 10 min read

Brands are finding new ways to interact with real people using outdoor advertising sites with a sprinkle of tech and fun. For our Out-of-Home Deep Dive, here are some of our favorite extrasensory campaigns from 2022.

Sky

The bestest evre out of home ads for thomas

High-flying Sky Minions

Over the last few years, the animated Minions have been integral to Sky Broadband’s marketing efforts. In 2022, it brought the mischief out into the real world with a series of chaotic custom build ads designed to show the sheer speed of its Gigafast broadband.

As part of a special out-of-home (OOH) build, Minions were chaotically hung from a bus stop while secret wind machines blasted them to create a real sense of speed. A nearby iPad let visitors capture and share this unusual experience.

There was also a slide installed at Westfield London to create maximum standout. It was even regularly polished to ensure maximum speed and was so popular a queue had to be created during busy times.

The billboard delivered over 2.3 million real-life impressions, while the slide was whizzed down over 3,500 times and the bus shelter Gigafast air blast was triggered every 6 minutes. 13% of people who saw these unique ads claimed to have taken photos.

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White Claw Hard Seltzer’s Icy Wall

White Claw

During the London heatwave, with the highest temperatures since 1970, Global Street Art Agency and Frank PR created the UK’s most refreshing mural for White Claw Hard Seltzer in a bid to cool Brits down on the hottest day of the year. The cool wall was that.

To create the cooling mural, it installed a series of gel-based touch-activated cooling pads painted with ice-themed graffiti. The pads were consistently several degrees cooler, offering the public some relief from the heat.

Palmer’s TfL Seed Giveaway

TFL

Palmer’s, the cocoa butter skincare brand, took over a TfL commuter station for two weeks. With a simple apostrophe addition, it changed Palmers Green station to Palmer’s Green. At the core of this activation was a seed giveaway showcasing the brand’s reforestation commitment. Scent diffusers were embedded as well as a 48 sheet urging commuters to take from hundreds of free seed papers to take away and plant.

Meanwhile, corridors were garnished with preserved foliage and key messages and QR codes driving commuters to the Palmer’s Forest website. In addition, selected beauty influencers were invited to the station to see the OOH installation firsthand.

Virgin Media Gets Mouthy

How about the world’s first multi-sensory OOH 4D billboard experience? Virgin Media brought its mascot MC Lips to life using hidden cameras and lip-sync tech at Kings Cross.

MC Neat was able to interact in real-time with passers-by while his mouth movements were seamlessly synced live on screen. This day-long event included powerful environmental disturbances, such as high-pressure velocity air cannons that triggered when “Paying your subscription is a breeze” was uttered…

It melded proven traditional OOH billboard techniques and embellished them with hype-worthy elements. It also erected an 8ft x 8ft accessible platform for passers-by to engage and once more made use of an aroma humidifier.

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Plenity’s Tasty Billboard

Health brand Plenity ran an edible billboard in NYC’s Astor Place location for two days in December.

In support of the nationwide launch of prescription weight management aid Plenity, the ad wanted to show that weight management didn’t have to mean depriving people of the foods they love, but could be achieved by helping them eat smaller portions. The billboard was stocked with thousands of individually wrapped cake rolls. Passersby were able to help themselves, talk to brand ambassadors and learn about the product while being wafted with vanilla and gingerbread smells.

Subway’s Animated Dance Competition

Tiger King

Subway, working with OOH.com, Kinetic, MediaCom Edinburgh, Above and Beyond and TikTok, had its dance crew Diversity choreograph a unique TigerPig dance.

In shopping centers throughout the UK, shoppers were encouraged to try the dance and compete in a TikTok challenge.

A retro arcade ‘Dance Game’ was back-engineered to let the public score points with every step, competing against Diversity TigerPig avatars on screen.

The dance had 2,756 active players, 40,000 visitors and a reach of 14.6 million on TikTok.

Check out the challenge on TikTok here.

Why OOH is embracing experiential

Speaking to The Drum, Sam O’Connell, head of Kinetic active projects and operations, unsurprisingly picked the above collaboration with DOOH.com on Subway’s TigerPig (winner of The Drum Awards for Out of Home’s augmented reality category no less) as her favorite campaign of the year because it used AR to ”show how OOH encourages us to view the real world as our canvas or playground, to create interactive experiences at scale that creates an emotional response from the consumer.”

She believes that marketers have come back from Covid with a ”stronger general appreciation from consumers of life outside”. She adds: ”Consumers relish these real-world experiences and the scope of creativity within OOH means that these immersive experiences can have far more impact on the brand advertising than ever before.”

As the economic heat turns up on consumers and the brands supplying them alike, O’Connell talks up the importance of standing out and product differentiation – something that all of the above activations do rather well. ”The more creative the experience, the more opportunity to be shared online (even if that audience isn’t experiencing the activation in the real world).”

For each of these activations, the out-of-home component served as a canvas for a wider-reaching campaign. To plan for that, O’Connell says: ”We aim to plan ahead for these experiences and build in video footage that captures the activation in the truest sense so that an audience viewing the content online can share some of what the real-world audience is experiencing. This is a massively important step to amplify the reach and longevity of the campaign, giving a fantastic return on a brand’s investment.”

But where in the process do client and agency decide to elevate the OOH medium, with these activations requiring a longer lead time due to their complexity? For some clients, there are a handful of buys to drive PR fame, while for others some bespoke builds can add some sparkle to a national campaign.

O’Connell points to the award-winning Marmite Chilli campaign that ran in 2020 – for a buy of three billboards it drove over 194m impressions and £650,000 in earned media and, she claims, drove sales five-times higher than previous limited-edition releases.

From the wow factor of 3D billboards to ads that grab people at literally the right time and place, innovation in out-of-home is soaring. Find out more in our latest Deep Dive.

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