Pat Cassidy, Digital, Innovation & Experiential Manager PML Group, with this week’s view from OOH.

2nd July 2021

Creating Something Special

It’s great to see the return of so many big brands to Out of Home this summer.  If you are planning a campaign, have you thought about how to make it really stand out from the crowd?

Ironically, it is OOH, the oldest medium, that is source of new and innovative ways to capture the public’s attention.  Wall’s Ice Cream’s ‘melting’ billboard in the UK, is the latest OOH special, to go viral.

It has never been easier for brands to show up on street, in an interesting way.  Advancement in synthetic materials, 3D printing and programmable lighting technologies, have opened a world of new possibilities for creatives armed with a great idea and a blank billboard. These advancements have made the production process quicker and more cost effective. Two very important attributes in this fast-moving industry.

Technology, in particular mobile phone technology, is also fuelling innovation in the OOH space.  Burger King’s It’s Not A Secret It’s Fire campaign, used Digital OOH posters to trigger an augmented reality experience, on users’ phones.  The audience was led by a virtual smoke trail, to the nearest Burger King restaurant.

The roll out of the 5G network, coupled with a technically skilled local workforce, means that these omnichannel campaigns are readily achievable in the Irish market right now.

The abundance of data, available to advertisers can be a key ingredient for stand out OOH campaigns.  Bank of Ireland recently used house price data supplied by as the basis for their nationwide, dynamic OOH campaign, using our proprietary Liveposter delivery system.  Data pertaining to Lotto wins by county, to numbers vaccinated against Covid-19, have all made their way onto recent PML Group Dynamic DOOH campaigns.  It’s worth considering what data is available, either bespoke or third party, that can be used to make your campaign interesting and engaging to your audience.

But specials can be expensive and time consuming, I hear you say.   This is a common misconception.  Innovative use of OOH advertising can generate significant earned media and brand fame. Just Google the BBC Dracula billboard, if you are in any doubt about the return on investment opportunities. Recent research (PML Group IQ) also suggests that 80% agree, that specials make the advertising more memorable.

It is also worth noting the impact that one big special can have in a city the size of Dublin or Cork, for example.  An advertiser can literally alter the landscape of the city for a two-week period.  The Irish Times Egg Timer special and the Brown Thomas spangley Golden Square, are cases in point.  What brand manager or creative doesn’t want their fifteen minutes of fame!

Dual purpose or functional OOH specials are becoming commonplace.  Examples include posters doubling up as bee hotels or phone sanitising stations.  The new Adshel Live offering, by Clear Channel combines HD Digital signage with way finding facilities for tourists, it’s worth considering how your campaign can solve a problem creatively, whilst delivering your message at the same time.

OOH specials are best described as storytelling in action. They are the tangible outputs, resulting from creative and media coming together, with a clear brief, adequate lead time and a pinch of client bravery.

It is often said, that success is when opportunity meets preparation. Are you ready, to embrace the opportunities mentioned above, and really stand up and stand out on street this summer?