The art of out-of-home advertising…

Better by Bus - Strand Banner

Driving down the Strand, on Liverpool’s bustling waterfront, you can’t help but notice the cute kid on the huge billboard looking frustrated at the wheel of his car. The Better By Bus campaign, an alliance between Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach, in a bid to encourage the public to ditch their cars in favour of the bus, has taken up residence at this busy commuter location. The campaign exemplifies how companies like Open Messenger can utilise location advertising as a powerful tool to get their clients message to a target market. Sick of traffic? Take the bus. It’s as simple as that.

The advert only works because of where we encounter it; it makes sense at rush hour, on one of the busiest commuter routes in the city.Host the ad on a quieter road outside of city centre and it loses its impact. It’s a case of being in the right place at the right time and herein lies the beauty of out-of-home advertising; the advertisers message and your subconscious colliding before you notice. 

In home advertising, on the other hand, despite its potential for massive reach, can be invasive and annoying. When a nice dress you view on the internet is splashed over your screen for the next fortnight, you’ll begin to wish you hadn’t bothered, ‘Skip the ad’ seems like a no brainer, usually done without consideration. Although it remains true that online and television adverts saturate the industry, as a society we’re becoming increasingly immune to them – it’s so easy to click away, or to switch off from something that’s intruding into your private space.

Out-of-home is different.  Despite being physically bigger in size, out-of-home adverts seem to gracefully avoid this invasive tactic. It’s like an old acquaintance – there for you if you need it without being too overbearing. Easy to engage, easy to avoid, it’s none threatening and can bring vibrancy and interest at unexpected times, in unexpected places.

And out-of-home advertising is evolving rapidly, with digital innovation being introduced alongside standard print and paste promotions.  Think Times Square -  a sea of vibrancy essentially made up of a tonne of ads. It feels exhilarating, it feels like the future, and it feels like a world that you want to be a part of.  Luckily, we’re only going to see more of this on home ground.

Technology is advancing so quickly that advertising companies can play around with the likes of live social media feeds, facial recognition and temperature triggers to further engage their audiences. Ads can now include high tech features that capture data and measure reach whilst continually informing brands who they should and shouldn’t be targeting. This is the next generation of digital advertising as the public sphere is brought to life with IoT’s taxis, billboards and buses.

The potential is endless. Open Messenger for example can utilise the intelligent software hidden in the back of each of its smart taxi to manipulate the LCD screen advert depending on the weather. Being able to communicate at this level with your audience makes for a more immersive, two-way, connection. 

Out-of-home advertising is developing at an exhilarating rate and with chatbot and AI technology emerging we can expect to see the continued revolutionising and growth of this channel.  Cities and spaces will be transformed like never before and for advertisers the message is clear, its time to look up from the screen and submerse your brand in the art of out-of-home adverts.  

 By Amy Shaw

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