Ahead of the early deadline for The Drum Out of Home Awards 2019, we ask judge, Dino Burbidge, innovation coach, Sky about his all-time favourite OOH campaigns.
It’s a dangerous thing, asking me what my favourite out of home (OOH) campaigns “ever” are. My personal OOH top drawer is so stuffed full of candidates, my response is often at the whim of timing or context. My favourites always dance an unpredictable jig between provocative and effective, so the examples that follow have been chosen with that spirit firmly in mind. I’m also aware that you won’t thank me for choosing the usual suspects from Spotify, Google and the like, so I’ve chosen my secret “go-to” selection I use when being inappropriately enthusiastic about OOH in meetings (and sadly, at the occasional dinner party).
DDB Denmark: McDonald's
My first example keeps it simple yet cheekily smart. It’s a Danish McDonalds campaign from way back in 2009 and shows just how effective you can be when you fully embrace location as a key creative opportunity. My most frequent grump about OOH creative is the lack of importance given to location and physical context. Of course, there are reasons for this but that doesn’t stop the odd gem like this shining through.
Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy: Virgin Trains
There must have been something in the water in 2009 because bizarrely, my next choice is the Virgin Trains “Talking Billboard”, also from 2009. I loved how the billboard was controlled by a lo-fi, real-live human with just their quick wit (and quick typing skills) as their creative weapon. The old Heath Robinson approach is often the most effective.
WCRS: Women's Aid
At this point, I’m going full partisan and just coming straight out with it… Women’s Aid – Look At Me. There, said it. The success rather caught everyone by surprise and it later went on to win a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions. This one is on my shortlist for two reasons. Firstly, for the way it used crazily complex tech yet made it effortless to interact with and secondly (and most importantly), because it made such a difference to the charity.
I’m a massive fan of applied mischief, and OOH has plenty of it to be had. Alas, many of today’s jumbo-mega-campaigns leave little room for risk-taking or kicking the rule book squarely in the shins. It’s always a pleasure when I see a campaign that clearly shows a creative team, media planner and client all with the same mischievous twinkle in their eye and Ikea Germany’s “Assembly Fail” campaign has it in spades. It didn’t need much of a tweak to the usual “rules” but the result fires all of your pleasure receptors when you work it out.
And finally, a properly quirky one but it’s the one I get most excited about when talking about the future of OOH… well, until I start talking about optical cortex implants and dream injection, but I’ll save that for another time. My final example is Intel’s Drone Light Show. 500 synchronised drones that create majestic (if not a little noisy) messages in the sky. Sure, it pushes the definition of “outdoor media” but it’s also the exact definition of outdoor media too. It was used to spectacular effect in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic opening ceremony and will only get weirder, more spectacular and hopefully quieter.
So there you have my slightly quirky but nonetheless top five. Ask me again next year and you’ll probably get a completely different selection - and that’s exactly how it should be. Times change, opinions change but billboard campaigns will always change faster.
The Drum Out of Home Awards early deadline is August 15, enter by midnight and you'll receive a special discounted rate on your submissions.