The Oomph In OOH Advertising

The integration of creativity and technology is propelling OOH advertising into a new era of audience engagement, altering the rules of advertising

The integration of digital technology into Out-of-Home (OOH) campaigns is grabbing attention and offering the OOH framework an extra oomph in the modern advertising landscape. 

OOH advertising has been typically considered to be a static image. However, undergoing a digital revolution and embracing digital innovation, OOH advertising has been turning heads by turning billboards into dynamic, data-driven digital displays that are capturing audiences worldwide. In this digital age, it has become a canvas where creativity meets technology. 

GroupM’s ‘This Year Next Year 2023’ report reveals that Out-of-Home (OOH) is expected to register a 31 per cent growth this year and is projected to touch Rs 3,400 crore, in terms of ad spends. Clearly, OOH seems to be on the rise, and it's riding the digital wave.

OOH's Impact on Engagement 

Humour and emotions seem to be taking centre stage in today's era of advertising. OOH advertising in 2023 is witnessing a fusion of memes and billboards with witty and humorous messages drawing attention.  For instance, Zomato's 'Kheer Mangoge, Kheer Denge' or BlinkIt's 'Doodh Mangoge, Doodh Denge', brought a fresh dose of humour to the streets with attractive billboards.

Moreover, it is the level of personalisation that resonates with the audience on a personal level, transforming OOH into a more engaging and impactful medium. 

Sahil Sethi, Senior Marketing Director & Category Leader Healthcare at P&G India notes that consumer engagement has evolved over the past one and a half years, with a move towards digital touchpoints, highlighting how traditional channels have seen a resurgence in relevance. He underscores, “Digital OOH is where consumers are excited, and the brands are optimistic about what more can be done on that front. As far as the consumers are willing to consume the content through these channels, digital OOH campaigns will continue to grow in future and we as marketers or brand builders are always on the lookout for where consumers are interested in consuming the content.” 

Interactive OOH Campaigns for the Win

Interactive OOH campaigns are taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies like touchscreens and augmented reality (AR) to offer viewers unforgettable experiences. Titan Eye+ used a live OOH mall kiosk to feature a life-like image of Ayushman Khurrana that comes alive, allowing shoppers to have real-time conversations with the actor about the new line of products the brand launched or consider boAt's OOH campaign for World Music Day, with QR codes leading viewers to artist profiles and streaming platforms.

These interactive elements not only engage viewers on a personal level but also generate valuable data on consumer behaviour. 

On interactive OOH campaigns leveraging technologies, Aman Gupta, Co-founder and CMO, boAt predicts that creativity backed by technology will lead to immersive and integrated campaigns. He stresses, "Brands have started thinking technology first to build stories/ narratives around consumer lives where advertising fits perfectly and does not force attention but grab it. Building in-house capabilities of AR/VR and AI design thinking in visuals helps create a lasting impact and turn all traditional mediums into Experiential forms of advertising." He further adds, "Using 3D Models, opportunities for personalisation through beacon technology, rendering techniques to create realistic holograms advertising would start to break the fourth wall."

Pushing Creativity Beyond Limits 

Advertisers are developing narratives that shift as the day progresses or respond to current events since they can alter information in real-time. The boundaries of creativity are being pushed by the integration of digital capabilities into outdoor advertising. 

 A recent example includes Brooke Bond Taj Mahal Tea's Guinness World Record-winning 'Megh Santoor' campaign, blending technology, nature, and music in a celebration of the monsoon rains.

Mitesh Kothari, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at White Rivers Media asserts that digital OOH ads are breaking barriers of creativity with the approach of enabling new and innovative ways to reach and engage audiences. He stated, “In the digital arena, programmatic buying hones precision by targeting demographics and locations, while AI-driven dynamic ads adapt to real-time events and weather conditions. But what has currently taken over is its integration with social media and mobile devices makes it easy for viewers to share and interact with digital OOH ads.”

Strategic Digital Integration

Advertisers can enhance the percentage of their total target audience that a campaign reaches by combining a variety of complementary channels. Sleepwell's 'Did You Sleep Well' campaign, for instance, incorporates retail OOH mediums to capture the World Cup season, alongside TV and digital channels. The synergy between OOH and other marketing channels enhances brand visibility and amplifies the campaign's impact.

"Using real-time data targeting, to cross-channel messaging or showing product feature fits through actual utility, digital integrations are moving beyond just a simple QR. The growing use of Anamorphic & AR brings a shock and awe moment for brands and consumers leading to organic chatter", says Gupta.  He highlights that brands are realising the potential of bringing storytelling and creating a larger-than-life experience by harnessing digital integration to immerse consumers and enhance engagement by extending their narratives. 

OOH advertising is no longer passive but an active, interactive, and strategic way of reaching a broader audience. It is rewriting the rules of engagement, leaving an impactful brand presence in today's interconnected world.