Outdoor billboards are being used to reinforce online campaigning.
We’ve written a lot about the importance of linking offline and online campaigns and how digital can connect social media content to outdoor ads. The Reclaim Social campaign, led by Lightful, is a fascinating example of this phenomenon in the context of social justice and awareness-raising campaigning.
Using the hashtag #ReclaimSocial, the campaign sets out to combat negativity and trolling on social media. You might think this would be a cut and dried example of ‘online only’ marketing. However, outdoor is actually being used to reinforce a campaign message directed exclusively at the online space.
With so much focus being given to the prevalence of fake news and online trolling, it is timely for “beyond profit” tech company Lightful to spearhead this campaign. The idea being to give more prominence to charities and campaigns like #GrenfellTowerTragedy, #GivingTuesday, and #MeToo.
Since its launch, the campaign has trended on Twitter, garnering over 18 million impressions and nearly 2000 tweets, according to the dedicated reclaimsocial.com website. An interesting facet of the campaign is its ability to track positive and negative comments, claiming 99% positive responses.
Official supporters of the campaign include the RNLI, Comic Relief and celebrities like Miranda Hart.
Boosting charity campaigns
The Reclaim Social campaign also represents an interesting marketing strategy for non-profits and the general awareness and fundraising efforts of myriad good causes.
Charities and campaigners don’t just have to combat trolls and raise their voices above the din of online haters. They are also competing to get their message heard in a social media environment dominated by a host of commercial brands. Many worthy causes don’t have the budgets to pay for sustained marketing efforts via tactics such as promoted tweets and paid-for Facebook campaigns.
So how do they ensure their message gets across? Part of the solution might be clubbing together in the way #ReclaimSocial aims to facilitate. There’s a strong degree of democratisation at work here. Anyone can use the hashtag to help get exposure for the causes and campaigns that they support. This kind of democratised, collective marketing may become more popular as individuals struggle to make an impact in an ever more crowded social media environment.
Offline media supporting online campaigns
The campaign is being supported by the Outdoor Plus digital advertising company. Digital roadside screens have been dedicated to the movement, displaying ads in various prominent sites across London. This will amplify the #ReclaimSocial message to an estimated audience of 1.7 million people. The digital ads will display the latest tweets using the #ReclaimSocial hashtag. Lightful CEO Vinay Nair says the campaign will have a role in “proving just how well outdoor can complement a live social media campaign.”
The idea of employing user generated content in digital outdoor advertising is fairly recent. And it has massive potential. It shows the way in which the lines are blurring between outdoor and online, and how the two mediums are not mutually exclusive.
The digital outdoor campaign highlights the fact that many outdoor audiences have a direct relationship to social media. A car driver glimpsing the call to “reclaim social media for good” may well search for the campaign on social media when they are next in front of a screen. The outdoor campaign will have facilitated their journey from offline audience, to participator in an online conversation. And that has the potential to be a very powerful driver of engagement.
Understanding online-offline strategy
There are strategic similarities with National Geographic’s #SaveTogether campaign. Real-world ad sites combined with user generated content and a branded hashtag served to link multiple marketing channels together into a cohesive whole.
Cancer Research UK have also drawn on user generated content, displaying user photos of Race For Life participants wearing pink shoelaces to show their support for the cancer charity in London Underground.
The relevance of outdoor advertising in a social media world
The #ReclaimSocial campaign underscores the fact that social media is suffering from a legitimacy crisis. The Cambridge Analytica scandal, combined with the impending GDPR, has forced social media platforms like Facebook to take measures to regain audience trust.
The campaign shows that individual users and like-minded organisations are also taking it upon themselves to clean up social media.
Outdoor is looking increasingly like a go-to way to aid this rehabilitation process. Because the reality is that out-of-home advertising builds trust for brands in a marketing environment in which trust is at a premium and bad PR can cause big problems for companies and charities alike.
The power of billboards
Research has shown that 71% of people aged 25-34 have noticed a billboard in the past month. This is also a demographic that has a strong and active social media presence. Linking a social media campaign to outdoor media can therefor have a very powerful impact on audiences. Savvy marketers are increasingly adopting this cross-channel approach.
Want to know more about linking outdoor and online marketing? Check out our handy guide.