Not so long ago, the clever clogs at FCO Univas stuck a Ford Cortina on to a 48-sheet billboard to sell glue. It was brilliant, and our gobs were smacked.
Thirty-odd years later, digital technology now drives and inspires out-of-home creativity in ways we could previously only dream about.
Brilliantly disruptive outdoor ideas are no longer rarefied art pieces to be enjoyed in person by the lucky few. Digital out-of-home offers creative advertisers the opportunity for their work to be experienced for real and in context by mass audiences.
It engages by using surprising and entertaining content in immersive, emotive ways.
DOOH provides advertising creatives with a richer palette of potential. Genuinely interactive and immersive experiences can be used to captivate individuals sitting at bus stops or making their way through train stations. Brands can now hack into the real lives of their audience.
Relevant, emotional engagement is the critical part of the process and the creative technology solutions we obsess over work to support this goal.
The result is a reimagined channel. Technological advances have turned outdoor from a passive, purist medium into an in-your-face rock ’n’ roll star.
Thanks to the development of smartphone technology, social networks and the emergence of the tech-savvy consumer, DOOH can also sit comfortably at the heart of an integrated ad strategy.
It can take a TV idea out on to the street, adding a layer of depth to the idea rather than simply reflecting the lead medium’s imagery.
The Axe Apollo campaign is a good example of this in action. It put the idea of the astronaut as the ultimate hero into the hands of the public.
In fact, it put them right into the heart of the campaign, allowing their face to appear in the helmet of the huge, floating spaceman suspended high over Westfield London.
DOOH allows consumers to become part of the campaign in the course of their everyday lives and to share it with all their friends. It’s the equivalent of climbing inside Araldite’s Cortina in 1983 and driving round to your mate’s house to show off your new tube of glue.
Digital has made outdoor agile. Sites are no longer 10ft x 20ft wooden frames in which to display an unchanging message.
They are now dynamic and fleet-of-foot – topical, charming opportunities to comment on real-world events in real-life environments.
Technology has turned outdoor into an in-your-face rock ’n’ roll star
A nationwide DOOH campaign can now communicate an of-the-moment message, invite interaction via social channels and be updated in real time through the use of OpenLoop.
For example, with precisely timed animation, giant Oreo cookies partially eclipsed the sun to coincide with the actual solar event. The creative ran for two hours on Friday 20 March matching the trajectory of the eclipse in real time.
And, in a similarly topical way, the antihistamine brand Benadryl uses the local pollen count to trigger appropriate, timely reminders of its symptom-alleviating treatments.
Out-of-home no longer means out of touch. Digital technology – in partnership with genius creativity – has brought the scale and impact of the medium closer to the hearts and minds of consumers than ever before.
We have come a long way from sticking handles back on to teapots.
By Dan Dawson, creative technology director, and Neil Morris, founder, Grand Visual