Tips for Mobile Outdoor Advertising in the Winter

Person Standing in front of a Train in the wintertime

It’s freezing outside. No one wants to be outside. The effectiveness of mobile outdoor advertisements during the winter can be contested. After all, who’s outside during the wintertime to see these ads? Most of us would rather stay inside tucked under our comforters than endure the blistering cold.

The Canadian Out of Home Marketing and Measurement Bureau (COMMB) says one of the advantage and uniqueness of a mobile billboard lies in its ability to reach the mass population of an area quickly. And, unlike online advertising, truck-side advertisements are harder to disregard since out-of-home advertisements can’t be blocked with an AdBlocker

“Drivers spend 10% of their time in congested traffic on a regular basis, traveling the same route daily to and from work during the ‘dreaded’ rush hour,” Effortless Outdoor Media writes. If there will be congestion along the roads and highways is no longer a question, but a guarantee. While it does prolong and limit how many impressions your advertisement can reach, heavy traffic makes transit advertisement more effective as people have more time to read and digest the message (and who knows, maybe they’ll look you up at that second because the car in front hasn’t moved an inch in thirty minutes).

Compared to the growing popularity of online advertisements where marketers and advertising agencies can easily collect metrics about the performance of the ad, much of outdoor advertisement is based on speculation. However, with the advent of data-driven mobile billboards arises the ability to track how many impressions and reach your advertisement is accumulating, resulting in more accurate data about the performance and allowing for greater analysis.

Although, the inability to gather data is cited as a problem in measuring the effectiveness of outdoor advertisements. Companies such as Movia Media have data-driven mobile billboards with technology that tracks impressions as they are made.

You’ll want to be strategic with your location. stuck in traffic due to a snow blizzard? That’s a lot of impressions!

A major advantage to outdoor advertising is the knowledge that your moving billboard is seen at pivotal points throughout the day to a large audience, which results in a good return-on-investment.

The Effectiveness of Mobile Outdoor Advertisements

The American Trucking Association found that “98% of in-car audiences indicated that they noticed truck-side ads”. Of those ninety-eight percent, 97% could recall the mobile advertisements.

While more people may be avoiding the trek outside due to the temperature, thousands of people still go to work and school everyday. The size of truck-side ads make them hard to overlook, even for the busiest commuters.

White Volvo Semi Trucks driving down a highway

Although, we may believe everyone is booking flights to the hottest vacation spots like Cuba or the Bahamas, the amount of people in transit is still sizable and the impact of an ad shouldn’t be undermined.

An analysis conducted by Mediacom (OUTFRONT) and the University of Alberta observed no significant difference in awareness levels of out-of-home (OOH) advertisements throughout the year. Outdoor advertisement is effective all year, COMMB says. The most “significant impact on campaign awareness levels” is the “creative execution and campaign characteristics”.

Learn more about the effectiveness of OOH advertising by visiting our previous blog post.

The key to tap into the wintertime commuter market is patience and serving advertisements as a compliment to their day rather than an interruption. Seamlessly integrating into the commuter lifestyle presents a more effective advertising tactic than disruptive practices such as advertisements interrupting a free service like Spotify.

Being deliberate and strategic will ensure outdoor advertisements in the wintertime run successfully.

It might seem like advertising in the wintertime, especially outdoors, is a waste of money and a less efficient solution, however, making use of the often disregarded winter time will lead to more impressions, leads, and sales.

By choosing to avoid advertising in the winter, you’re squandering potential conversions.

An empty road during wintertime by Robert Bye (UnSplash)

3 Factors to Consider about Outdoor Advertising in the Wintertime

When designing your advertisements, there are a few factors you should consider:

  1. Amount of Daylight: There’s less day light! In the wintertime, there is less than 12 hours of sunlight and it gets darker faster. Less light means less visibility, particularly at night time and on dark roads with heavy traffic as people return home from work. Consider the locations the truck runs. You’ll want spots that are brightly lit all-day and a design that doesn’t blend into the night.
  2. Weather Condition: Snow! You may get chills thinking about this one, but the weather condition is another important factor to consider in terms of visibility. A snowy day will reduce the visibility of your moving billboard, particularly if snow blankets the truck. Taking special care of the vehicle wrap will aid in the duration of the wrap. Vehicle wraps require care and maintenance to ensure longevity.
  3. The Impressions: It’s cold out and fewer people want to go outside. However, they still do and thankfully the beauty of outdoor advertising is there is still an audience as they still commute to work, school, and go on road trips.  “[t]here is “[n]o declines in audiences…[t]echnology doesn’t change your need to commute to work or go on road trips.” We are always moving and we’re fully engaged while we walk or drive.
    • “Consumers are 33% more alert when outside their home leading to lasting brand impressions,” COMMB says. One in four Canadians commute on the transit weekly, and the ratio is higher in urban cities.
    • And while in the warmer seasons in-car audiences may have zoomed past, drivers tend to drive slower and with more, thus increasing viewing time. Think of it this way, if your target audience is stuck in traffic during a snow blizzard, there’s not much else to look at, so a creative advertisement can pique their interest and drive leads to your business.

Despite the weather people still go to school, work, and carry on with their days—although with an additional 5-pounds of winter jackets/gear and boots.

A truck-side advertisement on the road

The good news is you can always design around these setbacks. Even outside of the winter, moving billboards (like any form of advertisement), can have weather issues such as the heat of the sun damaging the advertising.

A good advertising company will insure every ad, so if these issues happen, it can quickly be resolved.

How to create effective winter advertisements

Here are some tricks to combat some of the issues concerning outdoor advertisements:

Be aware of the following:

  1. High Quality Vinyl: To increase the longevity and durability of the advertisement, invest in high quality, premium vinyl. Aside from quality assurance, however, two considerations must be taken in the vehicle wrap process:
    1. The Installation: Installing a vinyl onto a vehicle must be done inside a warm building at a minimum temperature of 15° Celsius. When installing vinyl for truck-side advertisements in the winter, consider the high temperatures needed to stretch the material around the curves of the truck.  Vinyl installed in cold conditions may not “properly stress or conform and may even tear”.
    2. The material: A good vinyl is both waterproof and weather-resistant. While vinyl can melt with enough heat, and become brittle with enough coldness, a good vinyl will offer some protection against the elements. Vinyl conforms based on the temperature of the surface it’s applied to. The material will expand or contract depending on the temperature which can make the installation tricky—which is why professional installation is a must!
  2. Make it bright: We mentioned before that visibility is an issue that designers, advertisers, and businesses must consider when investing in out-of-home advertisement. The weather and the amount of daylight can impact the target demographic’s ability to see the advertisement—if they can’t see it, there’s no point. By using large, readable fonts and bright colours (white is reflective and neon will show up when light shines on the truck) will help reach your customers longer.
  3. Find heavy traffic areas: Heavy traffic areas where people can see outside even while indoors. Remember, it’s not just the drivers who will be seeing these moving billboards—it’s people huddling inside coffee shops, commuters waiting for the bus, etc. The advantage of outdoor billboard ads is how much more visible they are than traditional indoor advertisement since there is a continuous flow of people over a static, niche audience.

Busy street in the city during  the winter

Create Creative Vehicle Wraps

Instead of viewing the advertisement as a drawback, we can capitalize on this opportunity to design more creative advertisement. The temptation is to stay within the safety of traditional outdoor vehicle wraps, but exploring more imaginative options.

  1. Lights: Pairing the digital with the mobile, some advertisers use LED displays with backlights to keep the advertisements visible throughout the night. In the winter, people are craving warmth and light. One advertiser suggests using bright colours in your advertisement to evoke this feeling.
  2. Clever Messages: It’s winter time, there are many cool (pun intended) things you can do to make your ad stand out. Everyone can relate to the frigid temperatures. Use that relatability to market towards the target audiences.
  3. Reflective colours: We haven’t see this one, but it might not be a bad idea—and possibly proprietary. Designing advertisements with reflective materials, so the advertisement will glow or reflect light once light is shone on it.
  4. Make it 3-D: What better way to take advantage of the snow, then to incorporate snow into your advertisement. TSN Advertising designed a 3-D truck-side advertisement for Coors Light that not only incorporated snow into the design, but they also made it 3-D which adds another strong visual element.

Red and White Dear Miller Budweiser Truck-side Ad

Budweiser Dear Miller ad: We’ve featured this one before in our post on Truck ads that rocked the world,
but it was so clever, we had to show it again. This truck-side ad directly references the weather and
region to create a relevant message to its audience that works.

3D Rocky Mountain Coors Light Concept for Truck Ad

Coors Light Born in the Rockies ad: The three-dimensionality of designs is guaranteed to attract
attention to the advertisement. On top of it, the ad is simple, light-coloured, and legible.

Other unique and innovative truck advertisements such as showroom and custom built out (3-D or textures).

There are many holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Boxing day that all occur in the winter months. Being aware of the various events and national holidays happening in the season.

The good thing about the holidays is the festivities and the larger than normal generosity by people. Advertisements that feature people and use images are more likely to trigger an emotional response that will stay with the audience.

Additionally, remembering the virtue of relatability, you can provide the audience with an escape by placing them somewhere they’d like to be (for example, include images of beaches, etc). Continuing along the theme of light and warmth, these images will create a positive association with your brand.

Winter advertising campaigns can and should where possible incorporate your audience’s senses by harping on their sense of community and hospitality during the holidays. By doing so, along with keeping in mind the weather conditions, you can produce some creative and effective mobile outdoor advertisements.

Talk to a Mobile Billboard specialist today

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