Digital out-of home and out-of-home advertising recently teamed digital signage and digital billboards with social media and even static signage to make a point about the effectiveness of OOH advertising during the 10th annual Advertising Week in New York City.
A network of digital signs, digital billboards, billboards and static posters across the country worked together to prove to the American public that OOH advertising is "EverywhereUR," according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.
Signage promoted the campaign, with a call to action directing people to take a photo and tweet it using the hashtag #everywhereUR. The photos were filtered by the hashtag, and censored for appropriate content, to appear in a photo reel on a digital billboard in Times Square. The images also were captured by cameras and sent back to the sender's Twitter account, giving them a keepsake of their personal image on a prominent Times Square billboard.
"OOH is the perfect medium to allow advertisers to engage with the public because it is everywhere you are, reaching consumers where they spend more than 70 percent of their waking hours — outside of the home," OAAA President and CEO Nancy Fletcher said in an announcement of the project. "The proliferation of social networks has taken OOH to new heights, positioning the medium to emerge as a key advertising option that amplifies integrated marketing campaigns. Through this campaign, we hope social media users enjoy seeing themselves in the bright lights of Times Square, and we hope advertisers see the effectiveness and versatility of America's OOH network."
The project was initiated by the OAAA, with help from Aerva and a host of OAAA members including Clear Channel Outdoor, CBS Outdoor, Cemusa, Lamar Advertising and Titan, and according to Aerva CEO Sanjay Manandhar, the campaign was intended to show off OOH to advertisers but also to point the way to the future for signage companies in general.
The majority of the OAAA membership is static signage companies, and it seems as though the trade association might be trying to show its members that the future is digital, and even more so that the future is interactive, Manandhar said in an interview today.
"And if that was their objective, they absolutely made a very good first successful dent into an ongoing process," he said.
OAAA CMO Stephen Freitas said the association was "very pleased with the results" of the Twitter-activation campaign that reached almost 300,000 social media users, with 436,000 deliveries on Twitter timelines during its two-week run. The OAAA was "delighted with those numbers," Freitas said, acknowledging while Twitter doesn't have the penetration of Faecbook, it is still important, particularly to advertising professionals "who as a group would be more inclined to use social technologies, so it worked really well from that point of view."
"Our goal was kind of twofold, and one was to really just generally bring attention to out-of-home's ability to link and engage with social media, but two, also to specifically make that point to the people attending advertising week who are the advertisers who might be intrigued by this kind of interaction between out-of-home and social and mobile," he said.
This kind of interactive project also shows advertisers how to extend their engagement beyond just the eyeballs seeing the screen and into social media and online, Manandhar said.
"We can increase the reach of those eyeballs and we can increase the virality [of the campaign]," he said. "So you don't have to go to Times Square to have your picture in Times Square. Because you get the evidence — you get your picture in Times Square — sent back to you by Twitter."
Freitas also brought up the extended reach and virality of the campaign. One of the more interesting aspects of the project was where the amplification of the campaign happened, he said. With both digital and static signs in various DMAs around the country running promos, the campaign took on a life of its own. "We had people tweeting in their photos from Iceland and India, and from all over the place, so it went viral to a large degree."
"And what the campaign really showed was that with a call-to-action trigger ... you can make the trigger work with a static or a digital board anywhere, to get people to engage and act," Freitas said. "They take their picture, they still get it in Times Square — so you're linking these static or digital call-to-action boards all around the country with the Times Square experience, and then the bounceback for the keepsake, and so everybody gets to be a part of that whole experience whether or not they were in Times Square in New York during advertising week, so they can experience it everywhere."
In the end, advertising is about the end-user experience, Manandhar said, and this campaign integrated three elements that too often are kept in separate silos: social media, online and OOH. And more and more campaigns going forward will be integrated like that, he said.
"The end-user drives dollars nowadays — that's no surprise to anyone — and the end-user does not care about our silos," he said. "And the ad industry is still siloed ... but the end-user doesn't think like that."
Watch a video about the project below:
(This article was updated from its original to include comments from OAAA CMO Stephen Freitas.)
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