At long last, Americans are enthusiastically flocking to beaches, parks and farmers markets. Schools will soon be back in session and shopping districts and festivals are raring back into action.
Also on the move are advertisers who have pulled back their out-of-home campaigns during the pandemic. Now is a prime time for advertisers to reintroduce brands to consumers, and what better way to reconnect after a year of digital saturation than with OOH campaigns?
Read on for three unexpected OOH advertising ideas to reintroduce brands, share eye-catching calls to action and drive consumers to websites, apps, eateries and storefronts.
Take to the skies with aerial advertising
Aerial advertising encompasses all ad forms that take place in the sky. Blimps? Aerial advertising. Airplanes towing banners? Aerial advertising. Skywriting, skytyping (a technique where smoke is emitted in a series of dot-like bursts) –- aerial advertising.
In the sky, there’s no competition or clutter. The ads stay visible for an extended period of time, ensuring the advertiser’s message has plenty of time to be noticed and inspire action. On top of that, the ubiquity of social media -– especially Twitter and Instagram -– gives aerial ads the power to go viral. Take a recent L.A. marriage proposal. A man spent a reported $17,000 on a sky-written proposal that thrilled spectators and spread like wildfire on Twitter. But the proposer had one more thing to add to his declaration of love: a joke directed at podcast host Joe Rogan’s height. Within hours, the viral Twitter moment became headlines all over the globe and was seen by millions. The takeaway? Don’t sleep on aerial ads to get noticed and even go viral.
Cruise local waterways with amphibious ads
What aerial advertising does in the skies, amphibious ads do on the water. Popularized along the East Coast, advertisers from the Jersey Shore to Daytona Beach and Miami turn to billboard boats, floating barges and anchored stand-alones to increase brand awareness and get people talking. But these land/water ads aren’t just for beaches. Popular lakes and river spots are prime locations as well.
Ads that turn up unique places –- like on water –- have a way of standing out. For one, people tend to focus their attention on elements that are new, different or unusual. And two, with little waterway competition, amphibious ads command every passerby’s attention. The novelty of water-based ads doesn’t mean they’re prohibitively expensive though. In Daytona Beach, advertisers can secure an on-the-water ad run starting at a few hundred dollars. This level of accessibility is especially beneficial on busy holiday weekends where there are larger crowds or when a small business (located along a boardwalk perhaps) wants to drive traffic to its storefront.
Make a human connection with experiential ads
Experiential OOH offers a fresh take for advertisers to create impactful connections with consumers. Experiential marketing, aka engagement, live or participatory marketing, directly engages consumers in brand experiences that they want to be a part of. This approach enables brands to interact face-to-face with consumers in bold and creative ways that make lasting impressions. With experiential ads, there’s a go big or go home mentality. Brands can embrace engaging videos, themed pop-up retail or coffee shops and larger-than-life installations.
Take the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau. The organization invited New Yorkers to “break out of the NY chill” to celebrate the launch of direct flights to Palm Springs. Using whatever they had on hand, passersby were prompted to chip away at large stacks of ice blocks to get their hands on warm-weather prizes and tickets out West. Another example is from the last iteration of SXSW. Austin-based Bumble’s coffee and breakfast pop-up attracted some 20,000 visitors who got a first look at the company’s new product features and participated in speed mentoring and breakout sessions focused on dating, friendship and business networking.
As consumers embark on summer vacations and make their way back to local beaches, music festivals and popular attractions, brands have an opportunity to seize upon large gatherings to capture peoples’ time and attention –- and inspire action. Whether taking to the skies, cruising local waterways, or engaging consumers in-person with interactivity, these types of OOH advertising options should be on your radar this summer and beyond.
Matthew O’Connor is the co-founder and CEO of AdQuick, a technology company building software for the out of home advertising industry. Brands and agencies of every size use the software to plan, purchase and measure OOH campaigns.