We see the light at the end of the Covid tunnel: brands are going live, and they’re doing it in new, innovative (and Covid-safe) ways outside. Here are five of our favourite examples.
It’s so good to see the re-emergence of live experiences in the UK (finally!). As expected, the industry has embraced the world as we now know it and adapted creatively to suit, designing new, contactless ways to engage, entertain, and convert consumers.
As the industry wakes up we’re beginning to see it all, from smarter retail activations, as shown here by Vans, through to head-turning awareness and drive to purchase – something which brands like Nike are masters at. We love their smart outdoor running ‘bench’ campaign. It proves that limitations breed creativity, especially within critical areas like the OOH advertising market which is expected to reach $33.1 billion by 2026.
Businesses want to kickstart their economic recovery and head back to profitability, and this includes aggressive marketing. Previous work with our clients and our research is showing that using OOH marketing and reimagining live events to be safer can create massive ROI. According to research, consumers are 48% more likely to engage with a mobile ad when exposed to the same out-of-home ad first.
The question is: how do you harness this smart new OOH marketing momentum for your own brand? You start by checking out our five favourite OOH examples. While they’re all different, they all fit into one of the following categories:
- It used new physical areas and designs for marketing.
We’re talking about new ad types, territories, and artworks. Rules are being broken for the better, including how and where the brands are displayed.
- It harnessed smart technology in a creative way.
VR, AR, IoT; we’re talking all those fancy acronyms. Our favourite? Virtual Atoms (VAs).
- It was contactless or Covid-conscious.
This limitation has spurred out-of-the-box thinking.
- It used the ‘drive-thru’ tactic in a new way.
Fast food outlets have gifted us with a brand-new experience.
- It used novel pop-up experiences and themed activations.
From hotel takeovers to bespoke scare parks, the creative landscape is unlimited.
The trick? Aiming to include as many of these categories in your next campaign or experience. These awesome examples will provide you with some inspiration.
1. McDonalds turned a billboard into a walk-through experience
This pop-up ‘walk-thru’ billboard was created to target passing public, people who didn’t want to step inside a restaurant when in a hurry for a McFlurry. The result: the customers got the ice cream into their hands faster and with social distancing, and their brand was more visible in a busy commuter space. The burger brand wasn’t alone in transforming billboards; Jägermeister used a coffee-issuing billboard to promote its new cold-brew coffee liqueur and Bacardi created a pop-up, drink dispensing billboard.
2. Pepsi pranks bystanders with AR to go viral
This soft drink giant turned a busy bus shelter into a ‘window’ where incredible scenarios were projected onto the onlooking street using AR. The result: pranking thousands of bystanders and generating plenty of buzz by turning a day-to-day routine into a memorable brand play. The good news: you too can use AR or place QR codes or scannable digital assets (talk to us about Virtual Atoms) onto your billboards, social channels, and outdoor media, which customers can then view, scan, and interact with on their phones. We regularly use VAs to drive customers to collect digital tokens which they could redeem at a nearby brick-and-mortar stockist. We did exactly that with a TV advert for our client, Jaffa Cakes, and the conversion rate was phenomenal.
3. KFC created a pop-up themed hotel for an unforgettable experience
It was called the House of Harland, and the proceeds went to their charity. Guests were transported in a black Cadillac (the ‘Colonelmobile’) from the train station, and were met by a ‘chick-in’ clerk. The rooms included botanical infused self-care products, “chick-flicks” in a cinema room, a KFC arcade machine and a button that activates a chicken concierge service! The result: this fun, unconventional approach ruffled feathers in the right ways to earn huge engagement results.
4. Hun transforms a car wash to drive new results
This drinks brand transformed an American Car Wash into a giant drive-thru where the customers could pick up a free can of their alcohol-free, vegan sparkling white wine to celebrate its launch. And if you wanted something with a kick, they offered a ‘walk-thru’ entrance where you could pick up a can from their alcoholic range. Smart, contactless, and successful: the perfect example for your next Covid-safe campaign. Streaming giants Netflix and Hulu have also used the drive-thru method to create new Covid-safe experiences for their loyal fans. Netflix created a Stranger Things Drive-Into Experience, a themed, car-based experience of the famous eighties-themed sci-fi series. Not to be outdone, Hulu built Huluween, a unique drive-in horror festival and scare park to entertain its fans during the pandemic.
5. American Express turned cars into fine-dining restaurants.
Similar to the drive-thru method, American Express Gold Card created The Resy Drive-Thru, where you can enjoy a ten-course tasting menu from Los Angeles’s best chefs, and all from the safety of your car. The Hollywood Palladium was turned into a labyrinth filled with ten different restaurant pop-ups. Hyundai Motors used the same idea to create an immersive drive-thru art museum to honour Hispanic Heritage Month. The experience kicked off with a custom-built LED wall tunnel before driving around on an ‘art safari’ to see all the different Latin-America inspired artworks.
Whatever flavour of OOH and live activation you end up choosing, now is the time to strike, as people want to be outdoors and to experience new things – as long as it is safe or contactless. You don’t have to follow traditional thinking, the creative canvas here is broad, and you can unlock even more engagement power by using the latest technology.
We see this kind of immersive, consumer-focused strategy as the future of brand experiences, especially when it’s part of a hybrid marketing solution that marries the best of physical and digital.
Wrapping things up…
We call this multidimensional marketing, and we can do it for you, too. Drop us a line here, and we’ll craft a potent, safe, live campaign together that sets your brand up for success. Or if you want a live sample of our marketing mojo, let us host a FREE masterclass for you.