Here’s How To Create Impactful OOH Advertising

As consumers spend more time traveling and away from home this year, brands are returning to billboards and incorporating technology to reach consumers in new and impactful ways. To learn more, I spoke to Kevin Bartanian, outdoor advertising (OOH) expert and founder of KEVANI, about how brands can harness the power of OOH advertising to create viral moments through the medium. KEVANI is a media sales organization that promotes national and local brands through innovative and unique outdoor advertising targets.

Gary Drenik: Billboards are one of the oldest forms of marketing – what makes them so effective compared to print or social media advertising?

Kevin Bartanian: There’s a reason billboards have stood the test of time – they’re extremely effective at reaching large audiences every day. OOH advertising creates brand awareness and keeps those brands memorable as they play a crucial role in a consumer’s purchase journey. Unlike print or digital advertising, outdoor advertising has a longer lifespan and ensures that your target audience sees and remembers your product and brand. As Gen Z’s spending power increases and Millennials represent the largest consumer group, it’s important to understand the advertising consumption preferences of these cohorts. According to a recent survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics, only 10.8% of Gen-Zers read media like newspapers and magazines, so targeting them through OOH content is crucial. In a study by Kantar Millward Brown, the results showed that Gen-Z and Millennials overwhelmingly disliked mobile/web/app ads while preferring OOH ads like billboards or posters.

drenik: What are some best practices for brands looking to create impactful outdoor advertising?

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Bartan: Personalize your message to the community. This can be done by localizing your creative, or by using a simple but dynamic creative that’s triggered by some kind of data source. The more you focus on your audience, the more your ads will resonate with consumers. Also, context matters. Familiarize yourself with the inventory you are purchasing. In a world where everyone wants you to be “Standard”, you should identify and mix unique assets that stand out from the clutter in any market you are in. And of course make it unforgettable. Remember that you take people’s place. It’s not an ad on a phone, so forget about repurposing your ads. You are in the physical world. You have the ability to make an impact on someone’s day. Think about how you design your ad to really build the best possible relationship with the public.

drenik: Do you think there is an overarching theme for advertising that caught your eye this year?

Bartan: It’s absolutely storytelling, brands are focusing on mission and value based storytelling to connect with their customers and build trust. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer Report, 81% of consumers say trust is a key factor in their purchasing decision. Unlike many forms of advertising, OOH immerses an audience in your brand story, making it one of the most effective mediums for powerful storytelling.

drenik: How is technology integrated into OOH displays?

Bartan: Many developments in digital media displays are being shaped by technology, including adjustments in planning OOH, targeting and measuring overall ad performance. Screen quality improves, interactive functions are very easy to perform and mobile devices can now be quickly paired with displays for brand loyalty. Improvements in creatives have also made the visuals more exciting. As an example, you can see a recent campaign for Nissan that uses anamorphic content that gives the illusion of 3D.

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drenik: How can brands create viral or shareable content?

Bartan: With the power of social media, ads can exist forever. Creating a viral moment is now easier than ever, but to create content worth sharing, advertisers need to know their audience. What music do they listen to, what is their daily commute to work, how often do they travel, etc. Once you can refine that, the next step is to identify the places that are best suited to reach this demographic and a to create an emotional connection. For example, if your audience is likely to be Taylor Swift fans and she’s performing at the YouTube Theater or the Kia Forum, you can buy media at The Trio Los Angeles, located outside of those two venues, and create a moment where your brand connects with it connects audiences as they walk/drive to and from the event. The creative could consist of them texting her name to a special phone number and having her name appear next to Taylor Swift on a full-motion digital billboard – you can safely assume they’ll take a photo or video of the experience to share online. Creating that emotional connection is essential for a viral campaign, and using the OOH medium as a portal to other digital outlets increases your reach and encourages moments worth sharing.

drenik: What are your thoughts on things brands should avoid when it comes to OOH?

Bartan: One size doesn’t fit all, which means your creatives shouldn’t be the same for every market. Your text should not be long – preferably eight words or less. Make an effort to look at each place you buy in person or on Google Street View before you buy. Don’t just rely on marketing photos. Most importantly, don’t treat it the same way you would a print or online ad — OOH Media is unique in that you occupy the public space, so take this opportunity to make a lasting impression and evoke an emotion — be it to bring joy, excitement, etc.

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drenik: Thanks Kevin for your insights into creating effective campaigns. I look forward to seeing more creative OOH campaigns around town this year.

Cash my website.

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