Out-of-Home Advertising: Why is it so effective?

31 May 2019

In the hot summer of 2018, McDonald’s teamed up with an unlikely ally — Met Office in the UK — to talk about the weather with all the passers. Leo Burnett has turned the chain’s menu into weather icons. The out-of-home advertising was short, concise, and communicated the company’s message. The creative ad raised a smile on many people’s faces and saved at least a couple of people from soaking wet. It also had a positive impact on the company’s reputation, making it one of the best McDonald’s campaigns of the year.




While the ad is attention-worthy and amusing, it is far from being the only one. In recent years, out-of-home advertising (and especially digital out-of-home advertising) has turned into companies’ favorite type of promotion. But while all of us are continuously bombarded with ads shining from LED displays, only a few know what the term means and what makes it so effective at persuading us to follow its lead.


What advertisers want their ads to achieve? They want people to remember them, easily recall them later and eventually buy their product. And yes, it is just as difficult to do as it sounds. Especially if you keep on choosing the wrong tools. Digital Out-of-Home advertising is like the ultimate superpower. It has even proven to increase the effectiveness of ad campaigns by 86%.


First, what is Out-of-Home Advertising?


The term, often abbreviated to OOH, stands for Out-of-Home Advertising, and is used to reference all the ads we encounter outsides of our homes. It is a broad domain of advertising that has been for decades, if not centuries if you count in hang-signs outside of blacksmiths’ workshops. The medium has stuck around because it is just very good at doing its job.


To avoid generalizations, in this article, we will be mostly talking about its most recent branch — digital out-of-home advertising or DOOH. The difference is in the technology they use. The OOH can be static images, while DOOH is displayed using digital technologies like LED displays and are dynamic. Those ads often have video format and intend to engage their viewers while they are busy living their lives.


1. It’s flashy and bright… Just like our times


The best thing about digital out-of-home advertising is that it is in line with the time. If you have been asked, what our time looks and feels like, what would you have responded? We bet your answer would have said something lines ‘snappy, visual, and quick’. And, you have guessed it, so is the digital era.



It appeals to the modern viewers that do not want to spend too much time on anything, especially consuming ads. Out-of-home advertisers find the viewers where they are instead of trying to persuade them to watch their ads.


2. You Can Never Do It All




The possibilities are endless. Considering it is a dynamic advertisement you can make it just as crazy or as subtle as you want to. Most of the time, what makes them even better is that it is more money efficient to create a digital add than install a real image — you do not need to print the picture, only to be replaced in a month. It allows for more creative freedom while saving money — no wonder so many companies around the world find it a win-win situation.


3. Notice Me


All digital out-of-home advertising sucks you in with all your senses and thinking. It actively and steadily ingrains itself into your memory and does not let go of you. It creates all conditions for you to remember something easier and thus recall it later without difficulty.



Out-of-home ads like to ‘scream’ and do so shamelessly, which only makes them all more powerful. It does not take much to recognize its powers — all you need is to find a list with some of the best outdoor advertising campaigns. They are shocking and proud and people love them for it. 


4. At the right place, at the right time


The ‘background’ nature of the medium has made DOOH so popular. The allows you to access customers at times you know they will be. Even better  — it cannot be skipped. Unless something is blocking people’s view, or they are going out of their view to avoid it, people have no choice but to watch it.



It might not seem intuitive, but you have more influence over conditions outside of people’s home. You can know when, why, and how the person will see your ad. You can know if the place that couples, middle-class families, or travelers like. All of those factors play in favor of digital out-of-home advertising, allowing you to create a custom-tailored ad that people will remember.


5. To be boring or not boring… Wait, is it even a question?



Not all digital out-of-home ads are exciting, but the truth is — they can be. The medium itself always for a lot of playfulness and can capture attention thanks to its size and flashiness. The practice also shows that out-of-home advertisements are creative. Like the ad we mentioned above, all the conditions have created the perfect environment for it to be memorable.


6. The better way to advertise


The other reason the ads are so effective is that they have transitioned in the way the traditional TV did not. Unlike it, digital out-of-home advertisers are on the rise, and it is not expected to change soon. Not only more people are watching less television every day, leaving conventional media channels clueless of what is coming next, but the advertisers are recognizing the intrinsic value of digital out-of-door advertising.




It is easier to target, change, replace, and measure. All that makes the medium attractive to advertisers and brand who are looking exactly for that. You might wonder why aren’t they the same old ads just displayed on the larger screen? The answer is yes, and now. Yes, the digital LED screens are similar, but the audience they target and the purpose they serve are very different and in the advertising industry, it is all that matters. The medium has finally allowed the brands to do what they have always wanted to do — target large audiences right where they are.


Digital Out-of-Home Advertising is Advertiser’s Best friend


Digital out-of-home advertising is effective. They help you reach the right customers at the right place and the right time, engage them and track their reaction to create better ads. The medium and interest in the ads produced by the best agencies make it the one people have the most faith in. No questions asked — we will see more and more cool ads, coming our way from the favorite brands. The medium is here to stay. With the body of work it has already produced — it is only good news.


The expression ‘LED displays are here to save your business’ might sound like a cheap sales pitch, but it seems like, as believable as it sounds, it is exactly what they can do.


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