The 2000’s generation has no doubt brought us some of the most iconic ad features in outdoor environment, especially due to the connectivity between smartphone and OOH, “internet language” like gifs and memes, and dynamic trigger advertising. This generation has tremendous out-of-home capabilities that precede the visual effects and longstanding impressions of advertisements in the earlier years of the field.
Whereas earlier forms of outdoor advertising typically included static billboard messages or PR stunts in public venues, outdoor advertising campaigns of this generation include more innovative, creative approaches that link technology to superior performance. OOH ad campaigns may be ambient, mobile, or interactive through touch screens. Wherever the example, these fresh out-of-home campaigns always deliver a strong impression. Let’s take a look at some of the best OOH ad campaigns of this generation and dissect why they work.
Netflix Gif Campaign
When Netflix rolled out in France, they wanted to broadcast their service in a relatable and digestible format, clearly targeting an in tune millennial audience. They hired Ogilvy Paris to create digital outdoor advertisements that used 100 original GIFs with actual footage from shows and movies found on Netflix. These digital videos weren’t only meant to be eye-catching video installations, but also reactive to current events, breaking news, and weather patterns that were happening at the time. For example, when it happened to rain outside the digital Netflix GIF message would change to “we know it’s raining, so cozy up to some Netflix content” with an appropriate video GIF response.
This made people remember Netflix as a familiar brand because it reacted live to what was actually going on at the time. In creating these OOH digital billboards, Netflix turned a pop culture tend into an original outdoor media presentation. Because Netflix is based on the art of entertainment, they made outdoor spaces very much so entertaining through their curation of exciting, yet call-to-action enforcing, digital GIF billboards.
TNT Network: Push To Add Drama Campaign
More so falling into the category of a live publicity stunt, when the TNT drama television network came to Belgium they wanted to show up in a disruptive and overly dramatic way. Their OOH delivery was essentially like watching a series of catastrophic events that took place in a usually quiet area. They suspiciously installed an arrow in the middle of the area that said “Push to add drama” with a big red button on a podium next to it. This invited any pedestrian to take part in revealing the surprising marketing ploy. What came to follow was intense, epic, and the perfect way to dramatize a boring day out in public.
Anyone who was curious enough to push the button was then confronted with a live series of dramatic events that happened right before their eyes, and everyone else’s around them in the proximity, which included a person in a stretcher falling out from the back of an ambulance, to a street brawl, to a shootout between criminals and police. After the drastically shocking events went down, a big billboard rolled down from a building next to the button installation that said, “Your Daily Dose Of Drama From 10/04 On Telenet- TNT: We Know Drama”. This was the most captivating and gripping way to engage public audiences on the message of tuning into this new network for exciting TV surrounding dramatic storylines.
In less than a week, this OOH campaign had over 29 million views on YouTube, more than 3.8 million Facebook shares, and massive international media attention, among other results. You can find the events that took place here on YouTube.
Louvre Abu Dhabi Highway Gallery
In order to promote the first universal museum in the Arab world, while beautifying the long stretch of highway that Dubai visitors regularly drive through, TBWA/RAAD took advantage of billboards along the EE/11 Sheikh Zayed highway by featuring 10 major works that can be discovered at the new gallery. This is seen by approx. 12,000 commuters on a daily basis and makes their drive all the more interesting, while giving them more reason to take part in the museum experience. They transformed a boring highway with desert lookouts to an exciting art infused travel journey. By tapping into radio stations, drivers had the pleasure to tune into a few popular local stations on their drive that served as a museum audio guide- giving way to interesting art history which described the billboards of art they drove past. In this way, the OOH ad campaign was both an outdoor visual display and a connected indoor audio sensory experience.
The public was now allowed to take part in a well-crafted and multimedia art campaign that combined people’s interest in visual masterpieces with a storytelling radio broadcast. The OOH billboards included ancient works of art, like the Mari-Cha lion, to more modern pieces, like Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black. This reformed highway gallery gave new meaning to a driver’s commute because it successfully provided art history, from the grand museum opening, to the comfort of their long drives. It’s an outdoor drive many would be excited to be a part of.
Scary Clown Night By Burger King
Meaning to poke fun at their main competitor (McDonald’s), on Halloween of 2017 Burger King restaurants near Miami, Boston, LA, Austin and Salt Lake City invited guests to come into one of their stores dressed as clowns in order to receive a free WHOPPER burger. Known for their cheeky marketing strategies, Burger King created a humorous and crowd-pleasing incentive to bring in more customers through an OOH costume contest, lead by their consumers. Titled “Scary Clown Night”, this campaign began on social media through a “very scary” commercial building people up to visit Burger King on Halloween night. However, the public that obeyed this commercial were the real OOH ad participants as they spilled onto the streets in their best clown costumes, all for the goal of a freebie. This was basically free publicity for the Burger King brand and solidified their position as a fast food burger place to beat, creatively.
The “Deisel” Pop Up Shop
For New York Fashion Week in 2018, the popular brand Diesel opened up an OOH knockoff shop on Canal Street, which is an already famous street known to sell knockoff products from known brands, purposefully misspelling their name. The popup shop called “Deisel” sold authentic Diesel products under an inauthentic and fake formula designed to get people raising their eyebrows. All clothing sold was stitched with a label that read “Deisel”. Only open for two days, Diesel soon revealed that the store was actually filled with real, one-of-a-kind Diesel products and the line grew down the block. Fashion heads and social media influencers began to see an opportunity publicizing this Diesel stunt, while getting their hands on the special products being offered.
After the popup closed its doors for good, consumers began reselling pieces online at a very high value. For example, a “Deisel” sweater that sold for $60 in the popup was later sold for $500 online. This gave Diesel a branding glow-up, and allowed them to provide an ironic and innovative out-of-home shopping experience to fashionable consumers that desire exclusivity. Diesel wanted to make a statement about how fake products bring brand quality down by purposefully bringing their brand image up through manufacturing seemingly inauthentic products. This OOH campaign was effective because it was an experiential event with a clear target in mind that received plenty of coverage, while selling plenty of goods.
Corona & World Oceans Day Sculpture
In June of 2018, Corona wanted to make an OOH difference for World Oceans Day by installing a sculpture in London’s Old Street created mostly by everyday waste and used up plastic. This creative outdoor installation featured a large billboard of Australian actor Chris Hemsworth surfing on a 3D, in-your-face wave of plastic junk crafted to look like a tidal wave. People passing by the sculpture were prompted to leave their trash there, adding onto the powerful OOH message pertaining to marine pollution across the world.
Since Corona’s branding already features strong, positive images of enjoyment of the beverage around water and beaches, they wanted to now show a contrasting image regarding water pollution that happens over time. This was a smart move by Corona because it played into their usual design and marketing message, but twisted it a little by creating a polarizing image of the harmful amount of pollution we put into our cherished bodies of water. Consumers love to see brands standing for social good, and this OOH installation encompassed that aspect while tying in perfectly with the importance of the day.
After checking out OOH ad campaigns that played into millennial tropes, staged outdoor drama, art history, participant publicity, popup designer fraud, and a meaningful message of social good, it’s clear to see how these top outdoor advertising stunts spoke to our generation of buzz-worthy consumers. Each distinct ad campaign served a purpose, and gave consumers a fresh perspective of a brand’s marketing message. In an era of speedy excitement and digital creativity, these noteworthy out-of-home ad campaigns made the mark.