Most Effective OOH Ad Campaigns for the Holiday Season

A Spotify holiday ad that says 'Everyday is Christmas'.

As the holidays approach us, it becomes more important than ever for companies to produce creative, exciting, and festive advertising campaigns to drive consumer engagement and increase sales. With events such as Christmas, Black Friday, and Boxing Day, it’s no wonder why these weeks are the busiest of the year, especially when considering companies increase in sales and consumer spending, whether that be online or in stores. It’s interesting to note that the holiday season is responsible for 30% of retail sales in any given year. This means that investing in advertising is extremely important during this crucial time.

When it comes to OOH advertising during the holiday season, it’s evident that this form of advertising is extremely effective because of the many creative and innovative ways a campaign’s message can be presented. As people shop for their holiday gifts and essentials, they’ll see OOH ads right before they drive to the store or are already in the store, meaning that they can make their purchasing decisions instantly. Whether you go the traditional route of billboards and posters, or the more modern route of digital out-of-home advertising, you will surely make a statement with the bold and exciting approach OOH ads have to offer. This article will demonstrate various OOH holiday ad campaigns and the impact they have on driving sales, building brand awareness, and increasing consumer engagement.

Swarovski Wish List

A Swarovski digital panel in a mall that says 'touch here' and a woman trying it out.

An extremely creative holiday ad campaign was created by Swarovski. The company conveniently placed digital panels in shopping centers so that shoppers could create a wish list with the digital interactive ad. This was a great strategy to engage with consumers that were looking for a gift, as the built-in app displayed a catalogue of their products that shoppers could choose from and add to their wish lists. Consumers were able to check out all of their new holiday products and choose the prices they were most comfortable with, as well as their favorite items from the catalogue. This wish list could then be sent to others in case the shopper wanted to ask their loved ones to buy a Swarovski item for them for the holidays. This was a brilliant way to engage with consumers and build brand awareness, as the ad not only allowed consumers to choose items to add to their wish list, but also allowed them to send the list to family members and friends for holiday inspired gift ideas. By creating an OOH ad campaign with the consumer in mind, as well as providing inspiration for holiday gifts, Swarovski was able to increase brand awareness and show off their new holiday products. Furthermore, by creating this interactive digital ad in a shopping center, it allowed consumers to check out the products and instantly go to the store and make their purchase decisions on the spot.

Spotify ‘Wrapped’ Campaign

Spotify 'Wrapped' campaign billboard that says 'Streaming of All I want for Christmas is You over the year' and showcasing the number of listens.

Spotify created an OOH ad campaign called ‘Wrapped’ demonstrating statistics about user behavior over the years by utilizing their music subscription service. Since the Wrapped campaign took off back in 2015, Spotify has recreated the same holiday-inspired ad campaign every year since. What makes the OOH billboards so fun and relatable, is the many interesting statistics that are presented by Spotify. Each billboard showcases how music has evolved over the years as well as how many more listeners Spotify has gained. Anyone who passes by the billboards will surely be able to notice the bright colors, bold text, and have a good laugh at the witty messages the company has to offer. For example, one of the billboards includes, “Streaming of ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ over the years,” with a picture of the artist getting bigger and bigger as the song was streamed more frequently as the years went on. This was a clever way to showcase the music subscription service, the artist, the song, and get viewers into the holiday spirit. Furthermore, users have statistics and data of their own most-played songs through the app which they were eager to share across social media. With the use of several advertising mediums, the campaign became a huge success.

Coca-Cola Christmas Countdown

Christmas countdown Coca-Cola digital billboard with Santa Claus holding a bottle and a live countdown clock.

Coca-Cola is well known for their creative holiday-inspired ad campaigns. A recent digital out-of-home (DOOH) campaign that the company created was displayed across Dublin, Ireland, where huge LED billboards were placed with a real-time countdown clock that counts down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until Christmas day. The enormous billboards were bright red, which signified both the infamous Coca-Cola brand color as well as the color of the Christmas holidays. The billboards also showcased Santa Claus holding a Coca-Cola bottle which would not only get people in the Christmas spirit, but also boost brand awareness. Brian Nolan, account director of Kinetic stated, “The creative campaign combines classic Out-of-Home formats with our dynamic DOOH content management system, D:FOUR, to deliver a really engaging campaign. The exciting countdown feature highlights the real-time capabilities of Digital Out-of-Home while creating a sense of hype around the festive season.” With the use of bright LED lights and an innovative real-time countdown clock, the company was able to increase consumer engagement as passersby were mesmerized by the bright display and eagerly counting down for Christmas day, just by seeing the huge billboard. This allowed consumers to get into the holiday spirit, thus boosting their mood and making them more likely to remember the display and purchase Coca-Cola next time they go to the store.

‘No Kid Hungry’ Holiday Campaign

A 'No Kid Hungry' billboard on a highway saying "Help feed hungry kids. Donate."

The holidays are not just about receiving gifts, but also about giving as well. ‘No Kid Hungry’ is an organization with the goal to end child hunger across America. This year they released a DOOH ad campaign along with Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, which included billboards asking for donations in order to help in the fight to end child hunger by providing children with the healthy food that they require. The holiday season is a time of giving and this is the perfect opportunity for the organization to promote their cause and gain donations as people are most generous during this time of year. Due to the COVID pandemic, most kids were unable to go to school and therefore unable to receive free meals for lunch. Scott Wells, CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor Americas stated, “For decades, out-of-home media has played an essential role in addressing issues that affect the lives of those within our communities. We are proud to partner with No Kid Hungry on this important holiday in order  to combat hunger by making people aware that there is help available and inspiring others to take action with the power of our medium.” This ad campaign began around American Thanksgiving and will last until the end of the year, helping raise awareness about the ongoing issue of the hunger crisis among many children in America. The campaign will also feature messages to inform people about an online food aid locator. The ‘No Kid Hungry’ organization is planning to reach tens of millions of people across the country with 1,400 digital billboards being displayed.

Amazon Music

A bus-side ad for Amazon Music with a picture of John Legend and message "Alexa, play holiday music".

Amazon Music created an interesting holiday inspired OOH bus-side advertisement. It featured an image of John Legend, who released a new Amazon Original rendition of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” alongside  the message, ‘Alexa, Play Holiday Music’, which promoted Amazon’s virtual assistant smart speaker device. Amazon took notice that the request to listen to holiday music was used over 100 million times in a year and decided that using OOH advertising would be a cool way to promote Alexa, as well as build brand awareness and engage with consumers. Using a bus-side ad was a smart way for the company to show off their holiday spirit as the mobile billboard could be viewed by the largest number of people at once in the most high traffic areas. The holiday-inspired ad would surely get any passerby in the spirit to listen to some holiday music and likely even purchase their own Amazon Alexa.

Final Words

With the holiday season just around the corner, companies are trying to boost their sales and increase brand awareness by creating new and exciting holiday ad campaigns that will surely be noticed. By incorporating OOH advertising into your holiday ad campaign, you will be ahead of the game as more people take notice of huge digital billboards, creative truck-side ads, and more. People often make their purchase decisions on the spot, so by conveniently placing your OOH ads on the way to major stores or inside of shopping centers you will more than likely be able to increase sales. Since the most amount of revenue is generated during the holiday season, now is the time to invest in OOH advertising, as it is not only cost effective, but also the best way to reach a mass audience.

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