OOH media can start conversations, create spectacle and influence employees, the artist community and entire cities if used strategically
Last week, I was at the Goa airport. And I couldn’t help noticing the lazy way in which a major telecom brand had used the OOH property in the airport’s vicinity.OOH is very often used as a plain-Jane reminder medium. The lack of imagination in planning and execution often underutilises the medium. Let me talk about three international examples which have challenged the definition and boundaries of OOH communication in the recent past.
1. Create brand spectacle & buzz.HBO’s Voyeur project: This Cannes Promotion Grand Prix winner was a theatrical multimedia experience and marketing campaign, which used voyeurism as a vehicle. Content was scattered online in fictional web pages, on Flickr and YouTube, in blogs, on the HBO channels and through mobile content. But the focus was on people living in eight fictional apartments on the corner of a New York Street. The display was projected on a massive never-before-scale on the side of a building. OOH was used dramatically to bring to life the brand promise of - “See what people do when they think no one is watching.”HBO Voyeur was one of the most buzzed-about campaigns that crossed all media and categories. And while OOH was just one vehicle in this multi-media campaign, it was the building-sized peep show that gave the campaign scale, spectacle and buzz value. A magnificent case study of how OOH can allow consumers to interact with the brand on a much deeper level through story-telling.2. Cause meets commerce The 59th minute video art project at Times Square: It began with a special screening of video artist Tibor Kalman’s work in 2000. The 59th Minute has been a consistent platform for the presentation of new and historic video art. The 59th Minute’s goal was to offer artists a special opportunity to present their work in the public forum of Times Square and allow them to stand out in the midst of the commercial clutter. The site and the 59th minute of every hour were donated by Panasonic. Panasonic got a lot of positive PR for this programme. The brand also connected to museum shows, artist performances and lectures! The press loved the project and Panasonic received accolades as well as PR that cannot be bought. This example demonstrates that OOH can be used innovatively so that it lends a support to artists, to civic institutions and causes and yet generate PR mileage for the brand. 3. OOH as a brand identity toolBloomberg’s corporate headquarters in Manhattan: It glistens with video terminals and lobby displays. The displays combine informational aspects as well as atmospheric and styled data visualisation video content. The internal sign system is part of Bloomberg’s brand and identity. The image that the brand wants to convey is that it is a stimulating place to work. So, basically, it fits within the internal brand communication to have a lot of different television screens, showing information and content flowing about... highlighting that they are not a staunch conservative company.The examples above demonstrate that OOH can start conversations, create spectacle and influence employees, the artist community and entire cities if used strategically. To use OOH as an influence medium for Indian brands, we must follow the principles of intrusion, transformation, installation, illusion, infiltration, sensation, interaction and digital. But more about these in a later piece.
(The author is senior vice-president, Mudra Marketing Services, and head of strategy, Prime Group, the specialist OOH company of the Mudra Group)