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Out Of Home Open Mic Media

Top 5 creative strategies for out of home success

By Leslie Lee

Vistar Media

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April 30, 2024 | 7 min read

Leslie Lee, SVP of marketing at Vistar Media, shares tips on capturing a more genuine kind of consumer attention with out of home advertising.

Research indicates that a staggering 75% of an ad's effectiveness hinges on its creative execution, with highly creative campaigns boasting nearly double the sales impact. For brands aiming to make a splash in the bustling landscape of out of home (OOH), understanding and leveraging top creative strategies is paramount. By crafting captivating ads that command attention and inspire action, advertisers can carve out a presence amidst the noise, leaving a strong impression on the world around us.

Here are some tips on capturing a more genuine kind of consumer attention with OOH advertising.

1. Consider the contextual messaging

Take into account the physical context of OOH ads to craft precise messages that actually resonate with viewers, and align with their surroundings and demographics. Think about it – if you’re at the gym, you’re likely thinking about wellness, if you’re at the airport, you’re most likely thinking about traveling. OOH truly allows you to capitalize on the mood of the moment, and naturally tailor your brand’s message to what is likely top-of-mind or most relevant to your audience at that time.

Examples

Bolthouse Farms tailored their OOH ads to reflect their audience, as seen in this example, where the headline caters to commuters during their morning travels to work, whereas other creatives spoke specifically to people at the gym, in an office building or inside a store.

Example of a creative Bolthouse Farm out of home ad

Similarly, Kohler leaned into the contextual relevance of the screens it was activating on by promoting its smart toilet across Volta EV charging stations, reaching people already focused on high-performing, high-tech lifestyle products.

Kohler out of home advert

2. Ensure product imagery and branding are high quality

Including visuals not only accelerates message delivery for advertisers, but also reinforces the association between their brand and the product or service, amplifying impact and resonance. Consider how you can integrate your branding, along with specific products, so they eventually become synonymous with one another.

Example

Target utilized high-quality images with clear branding to promote the remodeling of their new store. The logo is incorporated in multiple places, and the clean, fresh creative helps get the message across about a remodeled experience.

McDonough out of home ad

3. Include video and animation

Incorporating movement, from simple animations to videos, can boost engagement with OOH ads. However, it's essential to tailor the level of motion based on average dwell time to ensure important information isn't overlooked. For example, for venues with longer dwell times like screens at airport gates, bus shelters or even gyms, consider adding video since an audience will likely have more time to actually view the message in full. For shorter dwell time venues such as billboards along highways or certain urban panels, partial or limited motion creatives may be more effective.

Example

Brooks employed video OOH to bolster brand promotion and encourage consumers to purchase their products. The ad draws people into the “story” of a run with compelling video that is easy to understand in a short time window.

Brooks out of home video for brand promotion

4. Tailor campaigns to major tentpole moments

Referencing specific events, cultural moments and seasons like March Madness or summer in OOH creative can tie a brand to the excitement of the occasion – but timing is crucial to ensure impact and relevance. Using dynamic creative technology, you can seamlessly adapt your ad to the place and the moment, with zero manual work required.

For instance, display countdowns leading up to major sporting events (e.g. the day before to encourage last-minute ticket sales), or even showcase the game’s live score in real-time. Or, consider tying relevant promotions into tentpole moments in the days leading up to, during and directly after the event has ended. By leaning into popular moments-in-time that actually matter to an audience, you’re more likely to capture and keep their attention.

Example

The NBA executed a dynamic creative campaign to promote the playoffs, incorporating live tweets to amplify fan excitement and engagement.

NBA playoffs out of home ad

Similarly, PepsiCo leveraged seasonal changes to promote their snacks and soda lines leading up to the summer months. The creative also uses clear product images alongside the summer setting, creating a direct mental association between sun, water and their products.

Doritios out of home advert

5. Maintain consistency in messaging across both online and offline channels

In today's competitive landscape, brands must ensure a unified message across online and offline touchpoints to effectively engage consumers. Consider integrating OOH into an omnichannel strategy at the beginning of the campaign planning process, ensuring seamless continuity and maximum campaign impact across all channels.

Arguably, consistent and sustained media moments have the power to have a stronger, long-lasting impact among consumers vs. one, splashy moment. Programmatic OOH is the perfect channel to accomplish this – helping advertisers create those small, meaningful moments or touchpoints with consumers that have a greater impact on core business objectives in the long run.

Example

American Airlines strategically incorporated OOH into its omnichannel media strategy, leveraging consistent creative assets across channels to drive consumer engagement. The brand consistently reached consumers when they were in contexts to either use a credit card or take advantage of potential reward offers, such as traveling, at the grocery checkout aisle, or gas station.

American Airlines out of home ad

Conclusion

OOH is a creative canvas like no other. With digital out of home capabilities, brands can create ads that are actually rooted and driven by data, leaning into what truly matters to a specific audience. Most marketers today have only just begun to scratch the creative surface of what’s possible with the channel. 

To attain genuine success, brands must combine creativity with the technology available in their campaigns, considering factors like contextual relevance, clear product imagery and branding, the power of video and animation, how to lean into tentpole moments, and finally, the impact of a consistent presence across an omnichannel strategy.

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