How creative outdoor advertising can deliver results

Effective outdoor advertising is about being in the right place at the right time, but it’s also about having the right idea as well. Having the right idea means thinking creatively about your brand, your product, and your audience.

Know your audience

Creativity needs to be based on a foundation of knowledge and insight into your brand and your ideal customer.

You need to understand exactly what pain points your brand is going to solve or which lifestyle needs you will provide before that spark of creativity can ignite an effective campaign.

Think outside the box

For example, eHarmony eschew the usual stipulation against using lots of copy on an ad with their London Underground and bus stop ads. (Unfortunately, the advertisers were perhaps a little too creative by suggesting that the dating app uses ‘science’ to find matches, but the point still stands that the ad was creatively designed!)

image of an eHarmony outdoor billboard

This ad was creative because…

  • It didn’t feature any photos or imagery, relying instead on engaging copy
  • It used black and white in an age of full colour advertising
  • It had a heavy focus on USP

Use your format

The eHarmony ad used the medium very well. People with more dwell time (commuting to work, etc.) have more time to read longer copy once they are drawn in by the headline.

image showing KitKat's unfinished outdoor billboard

KitKat’s Unfinished Poster campaign made creative use of the billboard format. The unfinished effect and the prop ladder played with the conventions of the billboard ad, exposing the process behind displaying outdoor ads. Audiences are subconsciously aware that print billboards are installed in this way. The creative design makes them pay more attention to the ad because it is sending up its own medium. That’s a very creative idea that’s fairly simple to execute and relates strongly to KitKat’s quirky image and “have a break” ethos.

Link your ad designs to your USP

Your outdoor adverts are creative ambassadors for your brand. They need to reflect your company’s values, attitude, public image and unique selling points (USPs).

Effective creative advertising means knowing your audience. The quirky approach taken by KitKat in our previous example probably wouldn’t go down very well in a funeral parlour.

Linking your ad to your USP can be an especially powerful way to differentiate your brand from your competitors. This can be particularly useful if your competitors are much larger than you, as in the case of the rivalry between eBay and Amazon.

eBay’s USP is about offering unusual bargains that express people’s unique sense of identity, in contrast to the more utilitarian vibe of Amazon.

eBay's outdoor advertising campaign "Fill your cart with colour'

Their Fill Your Cart with Colour campaign took this idea and ran with it, in an attempt to win full spectrum domination of their market niche (pun intended).

Learn to think boldly

As with the above example, we can see that being bold can be very powerful.

To get into the boldness mindset, answer the following questions:

  • If you could design the world’s largest billboard, what would you put on it?
  • If money wasn’t an issue, what would your dream ad campaign look like?
  • If you could hire any artist in the world to design your ad, who would it be and what would it look like?
  • If you could have any celebrity or public figure front up your campaign, who would you choose?

By thinking about what your outdoor ads would look like if you could do anything you wanted you’re training yourself to think without limitations. You can then ask yourselves…

“How would we create an achievable version of our dream ad campaign?”

What sort of results can creative outdoor advertising deliver?

Creative outdoor ads really do get results. Tesco is masterly at creating unique and engaging campaigns that relate to customers and appeal to their ideals and values as well as to their purse strings. Their Farms Range campaign saw basket penetration increase by 400% and their fresh produce outperformed their rivals by 5%.

In America, a campaign in Times Square aimed at selling more tickets to tourists measured pre and post ad data to demonstrate that audiences were…

  • 33% more likely to use the ticket provider
  • 23% more likely to visit the provider and search for tickets
  • 32% more likely to buy tickets from the provider in the future

Another brand, selling denim apparel, used outdoor advertising to increase brick and mortar store visits by 80%. They saw incremental store visits increase by 40,000 within two weeks of running the campaign.

And in another example, a digital-out-of-home (DOOH) campaign used branded charging points at an airport to promote the launch of a new TV show. The campaign generated over 900,000 impressions in 4 days and over 7,000 one-on-one interactions.

We’ve seen that creative outdoor advertising can bring impressive results; boosting brand awareness and significantly increasing sales. Get creative with your campaigns… search the Bubble Outdoor panel map to find sites for your outdoor ads today.

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