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Creative Out Of Home Open Mic

How OOH creativity is captivating summer travelers in 2024

Clear Channel Outdoor Americas


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June 13, 2024 | 6 min read

As highways and airports continue to fill up with travelers this summer, Mike McGraw (senior vice president and executive creative director, Clear Channel Outdoor) shares how brands are taking advantage of this surge in consumer movement and effectively leveraging the OOH creative canvas to tell their story to their audience.

The 2024 summer travel season kicked off just a few weeks ago, and, as predicted by AAA and others, families are already taking to the highways in droves as they set out on their summer road trip. 

In fact, AAA estimated that nearly 40 million people would travel 50 miles or more from their home over the Memorial Day holiday travel period. And that number of travelers represents a 4% increase over last year and comes close to matching 2005’s record of 44 million Memorial Day travelers.

Moreover, TSA announced just days ago they screened a record number of passengers (2,951,163) over the Memorial Day holiday, including a record number of passengers screened in a single day (Friday).

This got me thinking about the art that’ll be on display along roadways and throughout airports as travelers go about their summer journeys for work, play and beyond. Importantly, this “show of creativity” holds the propensity to have a significant impact on target consumers as brands capitalize on this surge in consumer movement. And as Shingy (aka David Shing) “The Digital Prophet” shared with me and the OAAA audience just days ago, the art must be produced with the “person” in mind to influence those outcomes.

Here are a few examples of great summer art, designed with the “person” in mind, and a few of my observations about how they effectively leaned into the flexibility of the out of home (OOH) creative canvas to tell their story to consumers.

Extending impact with OOH “extensions”

Rita’s custard taps into the sweet taste of summer using vibrant colors on an OOH printed display that is sure to capture the attention of passersby. Additionally, this design won’t be boxed in as it punches above the physical display itself using OOH extensions to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the display. In this instance, this technique is like the display—the sprinkles on top.

Rita's custard OOH ad
Rita's custard OOH ad

Travel Wisconsin also gets a “jump” on the season and the competition for vacationers using OOH extensions in this ad campaign that is sure to make a splash with travelers looking to map their next journey.

Digital “countdown” to summer

MLB utilizes a digital OOH countdown in its campaign to drive excitement around the start of baseball season on Opening Day, rallying sports fans to gear up for upcoming summer games.

MLB OOH ad for Open Day
MLB OOH ad for Open Day

Dwell time is swell time to connect in transit, airports

Not to be outdone by their friends in other travel bureaus competing for sweet summer sweat, Ocean City speaks to nearby locals and day trippers in a contextual way using transit media in D.C. to remind folks that it’s always a good time to “drop in.”

Ocean City's OOH ad that says, 'Where it's always a good time to drop in."
Ocean City's summer OOH ad

Using bold imagery and just three words, Onewheel make an impact using digital OOH in airports and inspires us all to a “rad future.” For travelers on the move through airports, whether for business or leisure, the campaign taps into the contextual moment of a fleeting summer by reminding us to “Make Summer Count.” And clearly, the way to do that is on one wheel. Wheels up on this airport ad.

Onewheel's airport OOH ad

Digital billboards are ‘onboard’ for summer

Ready to reach mass audiences as they hit the highways, Coors climbs new heights in this mountainous campaign as it leverages the scale and reach of roadside digital billboards. It’s always been about the taste of the Rockies. This summer Coors invites us to “chill” juxtaposed against the imagery of their iconic mountains. And I’ll remind you, don’t drink if the mountains aren’t blue.

Coors Light OOH ad with the writing 'on board for summer chill'
Coors Light OOH ad

This is only the beginning of the summer art show on OOH in front of record-breaking audiences who’ll be spending more time outside the home. And it’s not too late for other advertisers to join the party.

Share with me what you see this summer on roadways, transit and in airports for my next column.

Creative Out Of Home Open Mic


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