Why You Should Try Ambient OOH Advertising

Yes, out-of-home advertising is great, but have you considered ambient? Chances are you did, but you may not know it yet. And for those who are still new to the concept, ambient advertising is a type of out-of-home advertising that involves using unusual objects and places to advertise a product or brand’s new messaging. It’s sometimes referred to as guerrilla marketing, although there are slight differences between the two.

Ambient OOH has many advantages other OOH examples don’t. It’s less aggressive. By that, I mean that the public is advertised to without even realizing it in some instances. It’s so odd and entertaining that people don’t directly think “oh, another ad” when they see it. But there are many more reasons why it’s a great advertising option, and I will list a few reasons why you should switch to that medium or at least try it out for a campaign.

Huge Room for Creativity

Creatives often struggle because it’s hard to find the appropriate way to communicate their message. Too often their ads need to be edited either because of the language or some regulation concerning the medium they are using to air the ad. Notice, I said, “air?”. That’s because it’s usually TV that put creatives through such struggles. With ambient advertising, though, you don’t face such limits.

Creativity comes in many forms, and ambient advertising allows you to explore them all. Well, most of them. Do you want to advertise in an elevator? In public bathrooms? On the crosswalk? Suit yourself! Other advertisers have done it before, and the result was rather impressive. Let me show you some examples.

This ambient shows McDonald's coffee poured from a street lamp
This ambient replaces subway poles with trees

Bottom line is, with ambient, you don’t even have to use an object that is already there. You can create your own. How cool is that? The more expected, the harder it is to ignore. So don’t hesitate to be bold when it comes to ambient advertising.

Can’t Be Ignored

There is a condition to this one, though: location. Like any OOH ad, you have to be mindful of the location you choose to advertise in. It has to be relevant, but you also want to make sure it will reach your target. Now, you have two options: either making it blend in so much so that it impresses your target audience or making it stand out really loud. Take the following ambients, for example. Movie ads always do the most, but we love it.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs took ambient to the next level with these larger-than-life food displays

This is an ambient for the movie Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. The story is simple: in a city called Swallow Falls, citizens can’t afford to eat anything but sardines. A scientist saves the day by building a machine that converts water into food, but then he loses control of it putting the world in grave danger. We could all be buried under giant mounts of food! Well, as a food lover, I wouldn’t mind, but we need to breathe too. In any case, this was a successful ambient advertisement because it grabbed people’s attention by making it appear as though popular food items had just fell from the sky and splattered onto the street.

This Resident Evil: Extinction ambient is showcased on a regular elevator door

Resident Evil: Extinction featured an ambient that helped advertise the movie. For those who don’t know the movie, it’s about a woman with superhuman abilities who, with the help of her comrades, is trying to eradicate a virus. That virus transforms humans into zombies, so yes, it’s that serious. Even if you don’t know the movie, this ad tells you more than enough about it. If you look closely, you can see that a bunch of zombies are trying to escape from the woman chasing them. It’s creepy enough to make you curious about the whole thing. And, let’s be honest, even if you’re someone who doesn’t usually pay attention to advertising, spending one minute in this elevator will make you take a closer look at this one. And that’s another success for the advertiser.

This Kill Bill ambient floods a public bathroom
This Kill Bill ambient floods a public bathroom

Such an unexpected place to advertise a movie, isn’t it? But as long as it’s effective, who are we to judge? From a creative’s point of view, it’s genius. When entering a public bathroom, the last thing you expect to see is a bath of blood spilling out from one of the stalls. You can be horrified, but you’d still be curious. Finding out after opening the stall that it’s an advertising stunt for a movie, how would that make you feel? Exactly. This right here is another reason why you should give ambient advertising a try. Still not convinced? Of course, there are more qualities.

Cost Effective

I couldn’t find the exact rates, but putting up an ambient ad is way cheaper than TV ads or even billboard ads. Well, digital billboards at least. Plus, you don’t have to put it up for a month or more. Just long enough to be impactful. You might have to go through some administrative process, especially if you’re building your ambient ad along the lines of the pictures above. Unlike renting and advertising on a billboard, ambient advertising would never cost you up to $10,000. Unless you’re going to do something big and blow everybody’s mind. After all, there is no limit to what you can do when you have a lot of creativity.

Not to mention pairing your ambient OOH ad with your online business. If you include links to your social media accounts and website on your ambient OOH ads, the ads will start doing all the work for you, saving you additional online advertising costs. Consumers will engage with the OOH ad and be more willing to check out your business online. Additionally, with the help of a Toronto SEO Expert, your website is more likely to be seen by more people, at a lower cost. Utilizing OOH advertising in tandem with online marketing and SEO analysis, your business will definitely be ahead of the advertising game

It Can Be Interactive

As we all know by now, interactive advertising isn’t only for the digital category. Interactive ads also include sampling, product demonstration, and any action the target can participate in showcasing the product. Your ad can consist of a process the audience has to follow in order to get a reward or, in advertising terms, a sample of your product. A great example of the audience literally participating in the ad is this ambient ad by Carlsberg. You’ve probably seen it somewhere already, but I’ll mention it again since it was a brilliant idea. The ad was literally people pouring themselves a beer. I mean, there are amazing billboards out there that can make your day, but a beer dispenser billboard was a first at that time. Because why the heck not?

This interactive ambient by Carlsberg encouraged people to step right up and get a beer

The brand Fanta found a fun way to communicate the message that their drinks are, well, fun to drink. They installed a branded slide at a mall in the U.K., and it was very entertaining, especially for children. What a fun way to make people remember your product. Plus, it’s an ad people won’t be able to ignore, even if they don’t interact with it. It’s simply a joyous sharable moment with a brand done up in an ambient fashion.

This Fanta slide encouraged fun

Having someone stand in the streets to give out business cards isn’t effective anymore. Instead, try to be as creative as this dentist was. Glueing a gum with teeth on a tree in the city? Better. As you can see in the picture, the teeth would stand in as the dentist phone number. A creative ambient ad might be the reminder you needed to visit the dentist.

A dental ambient encourages people to call their dentist back

You Can Put it Anywhere

On transit, benches, on the side of the road, on a monument. Anywhere. Even truckside advertising can count as ambient. Not all truckside ads count, though. It’s most likely the 3D truckside ads, and a lot of advertisers use those nowadays. But a truckside ad with a little twist can make all the difference. It doesn’t have to be 3D to count as ambient as long as it’s unordinary but surprisingly cool. But really, ambient is mostly about executing ideas that no one ever thought would work. This ad by Kleenex is a perfect example of that. Plus, it’s simple but still gets the message across: “let it out.”

This Kleenex ambient relies on the back of the vehicle to motion the graphic

Some billboard ads can also count as ambient. It’s all about the context. Take a look at this ad by Metamucil, for example. They found a clever way of advertising a medication for constipation that will definitely make you look twice. See what they did there? Again, surprising.

This ambient relies on a potty trope to get its message across

I’ll repeat it, IKEA has the best creatives in this industry. What more proof do you need than the billboard bellow? If you thought there was only one way of using a billboard to advertise, then think again.

This billboard uses an ambient tactic to display its message

Over the years, our authorities have found many ways of warning us about dangerous road practices. It started from simple messages such as “don’t drink and drive”; “don’t text and drive” or “fasten your seatbelt.” Now, they have more creative ways to show us how dangerous it is not to pay attention when behind the wheel. Funny? Impressive? Scary? You decide. But one thing is for sure, you will take a second look.

This ambient billboard displays roadside accidents in a creative way

You even have brands advertising in the sky. Don’t gasp, it’s true. As I said, ambient advertising knows no limit nor restrictions. McCann Thailand made an incredible ambient ad for Big Bloom a while ago, and it created some considerable buzz.

Big-Bloom Bubble Gum soars off like an air balloon in this ambient
Big-Bloom Bubble Gum soars off like an air balloon in this ambient

To show the public that Big-Bloom Bubble Gum can produce big bubbles, they created a balloon in the colors of the brand and attached a life-size kid mannequin to it. It floated in the sky for a few hours, and kids loved it. They didn’t even spend much, and yet the ad was so creative. Best product demonstration ever, if you ask me.

As you can see from all the examples listed in this article, ambient advertising is an exciting OOH addition that many companies should try in order to, first and foremost, create large buzz and brand share-ability.

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