OOH Advertising for Fashion Brands: Why and How

For decades, out-of-home (OOH) advertising has been a highly suitable advertising medium for companies within the retail industry. This is because they are highly visibly, unskippable, visual, large, bold, and they reach consumers at an extremely crucial point in their purchase making decisions – right before they walk into a store. These days, it’s becoming increasingly overwhelming to know where and whom to shop from when it comes to clothing because the possibilities are endless – especially now that online shopping has become so accessible. However, one reliable and clever way that retail companies can stand out amongst the crowd is by investing in OOH advertising. In fact, the 2019 Cuebiq Football Attribution Benchmarks study showed that OOH media drives more uplift in store visits than mobile campaigns, with OOH uplift being 80% to 120%. In this article, we’ll take a look at why retail companies should invest in OOH and some amazing examples of OOH campaigns by luxury retail brands and clothing stores alike. 

Social media and OOH – combine them!

An image of a billboard promoting London Fashion Week. It has a skirt, a dress, and lipstick on it. Also has two fashion models on the far right.

Over the last couple decades, and even more so due to the Pandemic, social media has become an integral part of people’s lives – and a crucial way for brands to reach consumers. According to BigCommerce, a public technology company, over the last five years brands have collaborated with social media influencers across channels to generate awareness. Subsequently, influencer marketing grew from an ancillary marketing tactic to a 5-10 billion dollar industry. However, by investing solely in influencer marketing, fashion brands are restricting themselves to a niche demographic – that of Instagram and Facebook users who follow specific influencers. When you compare this to the exposure from out-of-home advertising, where roughly 90% of the population can be reached no matter what their demographic, it seems almost detrimental not to use it. Thus, OOH advertising is the most ideal form of marketing that can build brand awareness on a large scale. But it shouldn’t work alone. According to a study done by Nielson, OOH triggers 10% more activations on Facebook and similar engagement rates on Twitter and Instagram. Before consumers look to their social media channels for more information about a product, their awareness and excitement is triggered by an OOH ad first. By combining the two ad mediums together, you acquire the initial engagement from the OOH ad and continue to gain their attention through social media. Right now, it’s the best combination out there in terms of advertising and should be integrated into every retail company’s marketing mix.

Visuals are huge for retail marketing

An image of a busy street corner showcasing a Saint Laurent massive billboard. The billboard has a model on it with a low-slung dress, looking down.

One of the strongest methods for marketing a clothing brand is the imagery. Quality graphics and pictures of clothes, shoes, and accessories are crucial for brands to sell their products. OOH advertising is ideally suited for this type of marketing. Larger-than-life billboards and truck-side advertising can deliver big and bold creative at an unmatched scale, which is extremely engaging and exciting for potential customers. Not to mention that OOH ads reach consumers at the most crucial time – right before they go into a store!

Let’s take a look at the tech

An image showcasing billboard recognition and engagement. It shows the passersby purchase behaviour based on them looking up at the billboard for rag & bone.

In recent years, location-based mobile data can measure who is exposed to OOH ads, how many are exposed, and what they do after they’ve been exposed. What’s especially relevant for retailers, is the fact that this kind of technology can provide consumer behavioural habits and certain demographic traits. For example, the location data can determine which customers you should target around a particular sale event or promotion and when. It can also tell you what consumers are doing and where they are going after they’ve left your store. This crucial information can help retailers promote their clothing, shoes, and accessories at specific times and in specific locations in order to maximize the amount of people that see it, engage with it, and hopefully buy products because of it. To further prove that point, Nielsen’s OOH Advertising Study reports that 20% of OOH viewers have visited a business directly after seeing a directional ad and 74% of those visitors made a purchase – those are high numbers! OOH advertising is the perfect way for retailers to gain traction in their stores because it’s so flexible, creative, enticing, and cost effective – and with the help of new location-based technology, it really is unmatched.

Now let’s take a look at some of the best and most relevant OOH campaigns created by luxury brands and various retail brands alike.

Recent Knix Campaign collab with Movia

An image of a street in New York City that is showcasing a dumpster truck that has been wrapped with an ad for Knix. On the left hand side it has a woman wearing the new leakproof underwear.

Over the past few months, Knix, an intimates brand, has been showcasing its new Super Leakproof Underwear with a collaborative OOH campaign that has been running throughout New York city. Amongst various social media posts and online advertisements, Knix partnered up with our truck-side advertising company to customize a dump truck that called on women to “stop trashing their periods”. The vinyl wrapped dumpster truck toured around iconic locations in New York – including Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, and the Brooklyn Bridge – showcasing the new underwear and promoting the brand in general. The campaign was a huge success, creating tons of exposure for Knix and engaging with the public in a fun and creative way.

Luxury brands specifically

An image of a large billboard for Prada. The billboard has two models, one on each side.

When it comes to luxury fashion brands, they have always associated themselves with specific locations, for example, Armani and Milan, Burberry and London, Tiffany and New York. With OOH being the versatile medium that it is, it’s possible for these brands to place their advertising right in the heart of their desired city – creating an effective place-based advertisement.

Back in 2018, during the Milan Fashion Week, Armani created a city-wide OOH campaign that would conclude at the Milan Linate Airport where the fashion show was taking place. Armani wrapped various transportation vehicles – including buses, trams, and trains, that would take travellers around the city to some of the most iconic landmarks in Milan and end at the airport. The campaign garnered immense attention both from the onlookers who watched the moving ads pass by as well as the travellers inside the public transit vehicles who got to experience the wonder and awe that they came to associate with Milan and subsequently, Armani.

Similarly, Coach, the luxury handbag company, transformed the arrivals gate at Hong Kong International Airport into a make-shift closet displaying its 1941 collection for the company’s 75th anniversary. Stepping onto the moving walkway on your way to the arrivals gate, passersby would be taken on a fashion journey back in time as Coach took over the arrival concourses, baggage claim area, and greeting hall. Not only were the displays visually spectacular – they were also interactive. Using Beacon technology, onlookers were able to take a photo of any of the Coach ads, shake their phone, and enter in a chance to win one of Coach’s signature handbags. This interactive edition to the campaign not only created a fun and engaging personal experience for consumers, but also provided Coach with vital information about who and how people are engaging with their products. This campaign was a brilliant way for Coach to celebrate the company’s success and was also an entertaining way for consumers to directly participate with the products while at the same time gain pertinent data about consumer engagement.

A couple years back, Gucci decided to create an OOH campaign that would transcend the boundaries of just one advertising platform using what they call their “Art Walls”. This campaign began in 2018 when Gucci unveiled two murals – one in New York and one in Milan. Gucci commissioned Spanish artist Ignasi Monreal to design and create their Spring/Summer campaign. The catch was that the massive, colourful, edgy, and unique murals came with an ultimatum, “you have two months to get them onto your Instagram feed”, upon doing so, they would be taken down. In the words of Jeff Beer, the publication writer, “Social media’s meteoric rise has brought about the opportunity to use outdoor space to attract not only eyeballs but active engagement”. At a time when social media is so overwhelmingly popular, the best way to engage with the public, and subsequently create potential consumers, is by enticing them through OOH advertising. The “Art Walls” campaign was a huge success from the beginning, so much so, that Gucci has created various “Art Walls” over the ensuing years – which include an array of diverse artists and outdoor formats alike.

One of the most creative and unique OOH campaigns to date was created by H&M a few years back when they created the first ever Fashion Automatic Vending Machine during the holiday season. The brightly lit, holiday-themed OOH pop-up ran from December 4th to 26th in Antwerp with help from Space, Outsight, themoodstudio, and Urban Media. As passersby would stop and stare at the beautiful display, they would also have the opportunity to purchase an accessory from the Holiday Season collection through the attached vending machine. The results were outstanding. The campaign spawned a global recognition of 54%, an efficiency index of 1,579 – which set a world record for an activation campaign – and a bronze AMMA for Best Creative Media Use. This impactful and experiential OOH format allowed H&M to engage with their target audiences in a totally unique and ingenious way.

Wrap up

One thing is for certain, retail brands should always be thinking about gaining the upper hand over their competitors because it’s such an oversaturated sector and one that is always changing. The most cost-effective and enticing way to do this is by investing in OOH advertising. Retail stores rely on big, bold visuals to showcase their products and engage with their target audiences. They also rely on advertising that reaches their audiences at the most optimal time, which is usually right before they decide to make a purchase. These must-have advertising features can be made possible with OOH advertising. Not to mention that when OOH is used in tandem with other advertising mediums like social media, your overall retail store marketing campaign will be taken to the next level. Stay ahead of your competitors and engage with your target audience in the most enticing and extensive way by using OOH.

Talk to a Mobile Billboard specialist today


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