The Year-End Holidays And OOH: A Dynamic Duo

With the winter season quickly approaching, it’s also that time of year for gift giving and receiving. Companies are beginning to ramp up their advertising efforts in preparation for the annual holiday shopping festivities. However, this unprecedented year has brought on new challenges for advertisers – especially when it comes to finding ways to reach consumers without being ignored, blocked, or dismissed. With the constant bombardment of brands competing for our attention online, adding an element of organic visibility can go a long way. Using Out-Of-Home (OOH) advertising alongside digital marketing is a great way to reach your target audience this holiday season at a time when people are continuing to venture outdoors, despite the increasingly cool weather. According to Omnicom, using OOH ads together with online campaigns can increase their effectiveness by more than 40%. Big, bold, and bright OOH is exactly the kind of advertising that will catch consumers attention and keep it this winter. Let’s take a look at how OOH thrives during the holiday season, why you should use it, and some amazing examples of holiday OOH ads that sparked worldwide curiosity.

Consumer behaviours during the winter months

According to nutritional psychiatry research, during the winter months people crave warmth, light, and amusement. This is because the colder months can feel endlessly dark and gloomy. Consequently, this is why a lot of advertisers choose to create bright, colourful, and bold OOH ads that can raise anyone’s spirit – even in the smallest of ways. Not to mention that vivid and lively outdoor ads directly contrast with the surrounding dull and lackluster environment, which makes the ads stand out even more. A couple of years ago, Interac created a holiday-themed multi-media campaign called, “Pay like magic”. They placed massive vibrant and bold billboards, alongside television ads, social media posts, and digital animated screens that focused on new technology-based payment options to make purchasing as easy as possible – almost like paying by magic. The dynamic colours, the vibrant gifts, and the gold star-like strokes make for quite the eye-catching advertisements. Interac won the 2018 CMA Silver award and garnered worldwide recognition for the campaign. Clearly, it pays to integrate OOH advertising into a campaign – especially one that can brighten the mood so effectively.

Pull at their heartstrings

When considering the psychological behaviours of consumers, it’s also important to take emotive advertising into consideration. The holidays are a time for getting together with loved ones, reminiscing, reconnecting, and sharing, which brings out a lot of different emotions in people. This time of year is perfect for re-creating those same kinds of atmospheres through advertising in the hopes of stimulating the emotional triggers that influence purchasing decisions of consumers. For two consecutive years, Cadbury has created an OOH pop-up post office in the UK that allows its users to anonymously gift its chocolates to loved ones across the country. They call it, “The Cadbury Secret Santa postal service”, which travelled to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, and Liverpool and captured endless imaginations along the way. The campaign was so successful back in 2018 that last year, they recreated the same campaign but also included an online voting system through Instagram that allowed consumers to vote on where the final destination of the travelling postal service would be. Overall, the campaign stoked excitement, joy, and kindness in consumers across the UK during the holiday months, which in turn, created exceptional brand awareness and boosted sales for Cadbury.

An image of a bunch of people lined up outside of a Cadbury postal service pop-up.

Another example of a similarly exciting and festive OOH ad was created by Australia Post. The postal service company created gift-wrapped bus shelters all over Brisbane and Melbourne that allowed passersby to scan the ad through an in-app camera that would allow them to then purchase a gift card for Australia Post. The bus shelters were wrapped in massive red ribbons that turned heads and brought about feelings of joy and enthusiasm from those who engaged with or passed by them. Not to mention the fact that it provided the perfect time and place to target last minute shoppers who were looking for a gift for the holidays. 

Reaching people where it matters

Despite the fact that the pandemic is keeping people inside their own homes, a study done by the director of OOH products at Ubimo found that 90.4% of consumers are still leaving their homes at least once a week. However, these trips are now way more purposeful and planned, where consumers know exactly where they’re going, what they need, and in what order. Because of this, OOH has the opportunity to insert itself into the line of sight of consumers on their path to purchase, in the hopes that the ad will impact consumers’ decision-making. In this way, brands are able to stay ahead of the game and drive sales this holiday season. After all, from the same Ubimo survey, they found that 60.4% of consumers are likely to purchase a product on their shopping trip after seeing an OOH ad. A couple years ago, in order to promote their seasonal menu, McDonald’s created and placed festive OOH bus-stop advertisements across New York City. The advertisement sparked curiosity and festivity through its minimalism, displaying two curly fries shaped as antlers and a ketchup package as a nose, which created the illusion of a reindeer. The ads also ran in close proximity to McDonald’s stores, shopping malls, and grocery stores in order to encourage consumer engagement right before the point of sale.

An image of a bus stop ad for McDonald's. The ad shows two curly fries and a ketchup package that work together to look like a reindeer.

Counting down the days

The anticipation that surrounds the holiday season is also another reason why OOH advertising is a fantastic way to market to consumers this winter. During the cold and dark months, the holidays are something that a lot of people look forward to and are eager about. That’s why so many brands begin advertising for the holidays as soon as possible, because the anticipation is all part of the end of year excitement. In India last Christmas, McDonald’s unveiled a gift-wrapped billboard that was set to be revealed on Christmas day. Before the launch day, McDonald’s sparked anticipation and excitement on Twitter by using the hashtag, #NotSoSecretSanta, posting photos of the iconic OOH billboard, and encouraging users to tag a friend that they want to send Christmas love to. On the launch day, McDonald’s revealed that they had sent specific Twitter users that had Tweeted with the hashtag, a bag full of Christmas goodies and McDonald’s food. The billboard was also revealed on Christmas day to display the goodies and food that McDonald’s had sent to their loyal consumers. Overall, the campaign was a massive success by combining digital and OOH media to create exciting user engagement and made the festive Christmas holidays all the more special.

An image of a billboard with an ad on it for McDonald's. The billboard looks like it's wrapped like a gift with the classic McDonald's colours of red and yellow.

Wrap up

Due to increased consumer spending during the holiday season, the wintertime is a significant period for advertisers to capitalize on. Despite the increasingly cold weather, the pandemic has made people more restless than ever, which in turn, has kept people outside. Consumers are looking to engage with organic OOH advertising when they’re doing their essential outdoor errands. They’re also more susceptible to engage with advertisements that are colourful, vibrant, bold, and festive as we approach the holiday season because they provide a sense of joy and fulfillment. Investing in OOH alongside other advertising mediums seems to be the most effective way to engage with consumers this holiday season – especially those that spark anticipation and excitement about the holidays. Without OOH in your marketing mix this winter, your campaigns will be missing out on a massive profit margin. Invest in OOH and utilize its platform to elevate your marketing campaign this winter, you definitely won’t regret it.

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