Let’s face it, digital advertising is exciting. Ad spend for online ads is on the rise as brands look for new ways to reach the always-on generation through their phones, tablets, and computers. However, as brands move away from most traditional advertising such as print, radio, and television, Out-of-Home advertising shows no signs of going the way of the classified ad. A 2018 study of the state of OOH globally conducted by Magna Intelligence and Rapport showed $13 billion growth in OOH in the Asia Pacific region, including a 12% increase in the Philippine market with double-digit growth projected for the next five years.

The case studies support the numbers with global brands, such as McDonald’s, Disney, and Coca-Coca, and tech brands, such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Netflix, continuing to pour ad dollars into OOH executions. Money talks, and this shows that these brand giants still believe in the relevance, effectiveness, and value of OOH, even in the smartphone age.

Novelty is one reason for this. Because of the exponential growth of the digital ad landscape, it is becoming very cluttered. Savvy consumers have learned to block online ads and pop-ups, ignore or skip video ads, or may even come to resent and reject the brands that interrupt their online experience. In contrast, a well-executed creative billboard has the ability to surprise, delight, and engage consumers and capture their priceless attention. These moments (which can be lengthy in high-traffic and traffic-clogged areas) can make a difference in the consumer’s relationship with the brand.

Creative execution is where traditional can borrow a page from digital, as brands must find ways to engage with their audience in innovative ways. Where, before, OOH was simply used for brand awareness, today, it’s not enough to simply plaster a logo, product, or celebrity on a billboard. Brands can use billboards as a medium for a call-to-action, to get them to search for more info on a product, to go inside a store for time-sensitive sale, to interact with the brand on social media or use a brand hashtag, or to start a conversation about a product with their network (expanding the ad’s reach). Because OOH reached across demographics, marketers can reach a wider audience, even those they wouldn’t reach with a targeted online campaign. But because OOH can be targeted by location, it can be close to the point of sale

Creative marketing for your brand can mean thinking outside of the box—or the billboard. While billboards are the largest and most obvious OOH medium, there are a variety of other channels that are underutilized and untapped, giving brands that use them effectively an edge and the opportunity to make an impact in this powerful, less crowded ad space.

Filipinos spend a lot of time in and around malls and on the road, where mall ads and transit ads can shine. Imagine the impact of seeing a great deal on a delicious meal just as you enter the mall at lunchtime, or having a beautiful and eye-catching ad for a fashion brand (with a store at your destination) keep you entertained as you wait at the airport departure lounge. Bus ads traveling great distances can take your message to a wide range of customers over and over again on their daily commute, while bathroom stall ads can deliver a demographic-focused message to a near-captive audience in a space where they probably wouldn’t take out their phones or tablets. The beauty of the connected world is that a well-designed, well-conceptualized OOH ad can even become an online viral sensation.

Which is why it’s not about which medium is better. Digital ads have their advantages, but savvy marketers know not to ignore or underestimate OOH ads. More brands are moving towards an omnichannel strategy, maximizing each medium’s strengths and optimizing their ad budget. The right question is not “Should we use OOH advertising?” but rather “How can we use OOH strategically to meet our marketing goals (for example, sales, awareness, or market share)? Finding your answer could be the key for your brand, like it has been for so many other brands since OOH advertising began and will be for many years to come.           

PHOTO: iStock

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