Sometimes it can seem a bit like there’s an odd stigma around startups using Outdoor advertising: that it’s somehow an ad medium only for established brands.
That’s probably partly because, in the not too distant past, the costs of outdoor advertising were fairly prohibitive for startups.
It’s also because print and online advertising seem more like go-to advertising mediums than Outdoor, which seems to some to be a fairly specialised form of advertising.
The truth is, however, that Outdoor is neither prohibitively expensive nor a niche medium.
It can actually have a dramatic impact for startups; not only does Outdoor make a brand somehow seem more legitimate and more established, it also overcomes the saturation that online advertising in particular experiences.
Here we take a look at three startups who have successfully used Outdoor advertising.
It might seem unusual that a company providing digital marketing services would choose to advertise Outdoors, but that’s exactly what tech startup Percolate did.
They placed a very simple, branded advert a-top taxi cabs to keep their products top of mind for their audience. The choice of taxi cabs is nicely done: it’s a simple way to angle advertising towards an audience of professionals and CEOs who are more likely to hop in a taxi than jump on the number 7 bus.
Percolate use Outdoor advertising in a very specific way. Traditionally, Outdoor is seen as a great way to build brand identity, familiarising audiences with a company’s offerings and encouraging them to find out more. Percolate flip this idea on its head, their branded ads serve as a “nudge”, essentially aimed at reminding marketing professionals that the brand exists and encouraging them to reconnect with the brand. The ads also act as a way to reach out to potential employees of the company, says co-founder James Gross.
You may very well be familiar with the Casper mattress brand. This belies the fact that the brand experienced a meteoric rise from fresh faced startup to big time player. The company became a 100 million dollar proposition within two years. It was partly that its founders expertly identified a niche in the mattress market: a one size-fits all mattress design backed up by the latest sleep science. But that’s only one side of the story. It’s because of their top-notch advertising strategy that you’ve heard of them in the first place.
Their outdoor ads are smart, sophisticated, witty.
They pitch what is essentially a luxury product to aspiring actor/waiters, cash rich hipsters and general audiences alike and cover a comprehensive range of environments; from tube station turnstiles and subways, to building top billboards.
Founded in 2015, Bumble is a dating and social meetup app that aims to rival Tinder by requiring women to make the first move in a bid to avoid the levels of harassment experienced by other dating apps. It also seeks to merge the world of romantic, social, and business meetups into one integrated app.
Their outdoor ads are bold and witty, and seek to target the pain points that other dating apps suffer from, such as cracking down on online harassment, being progressive and women friendly and appealing to the LGBT community.
These three examples demonstrate that Outdoor is a great way for startups to make a big impact, boldly set out their stalls as a disruptive presence in a crowded marketplace, and put their products in front of a broad audience.
They also show a forensic understanding of exactly what pain points their audiences are experiencing, deliver a fresh approach to brand messaging (in particular acknowledging how audience demographics have changed in the brave new world of the 21st Century) and understand that Outdoor ads can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.