Creativity and innovation with OOH

OOH Creative Evolution Post-Lockdown: Embracing Change

This first appeared in Accord Marketing on 23rd July 2020.

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a year unlike any other. It’s almost hard to remember what ‘normal’ life was like before the UK was put into a total lockdown on 23rd March. From commuting to work to leisurely activities such as visiting family and shopping, all aspects of our lives have changed over the past months.

In the OOH world, the way we work has also drastically changed. In response to the pandemic, campaigns were pulled, others postponed, whilst some brands pivoted their creative in response to the circumstances.

Over the past few months, there’s been a plethora of articles written about how brands can adapt their messaging. However, what now as we find ourselves emerging from full lockdown? What is the next stage of our creative evolution when it comes to OOH?

Get creative

The most creative and effective Out of Home campaigns have always been, and will continue to be, those with originality in content, craft or canvas.

Creating quality content has become more challenging amid social distancing restrictions as TV and Print assets have reduced significantly with the cancellation of international shoots. Instead brands have leaned on creative teams to leverage their design resources and produce engaging OOH ads from scratch. Brands have also considered repurposing creative built for other purposes such as video content designed for social media.

Given the proliferation of digital behaviours during lockdown as people have utilised video calls, social media, digital entertainment and online shopping, tapping into some of these new digital habits has become a great starting point for OOH post-lockdown. Short form social content can also be integrated with ease into an OOH campaign, as shown in Talon’s 4th Space research which showed that brands who used the same content across social and OOH benefited from an increase in campaign effectiveness of 23%*.

Whilst DOOH allows advertisers to play with different types of content, people also appreciate the special way in which an original idea can be brought to life physically, the craft. Creative that has broken out of the boundaries of a poster or a special build, creating something truly unique, has helped to drive real engagement in the post COVID-19 world where we’re already seeing OOH premium inventory booked out.

For advertisers wanting to experiment further with creativity, they should consider the opportunity to innovate and source a unique canvas. In testing times like these, some will want to shout louder and dominate their environment or surprise consumers with a new way of using outdoor space. Traditional OOH space is finite so anything that delivers reach and cut through will be an asset as we transition into the post-lockdown environment. Whether it is projecting creative on skyscrapers, hand painting your message onto empty walls or turning the bottom of a coffee cup into a brand statement, ambient formats provide an opportunity to produce highly effective campaigns.

In a recent Talon study, it was found that campaigns using special techniques boosted purchase consideration by 35%** when compared with standard OOH, and 65%** of respondents felt that those brands were more innovative and more exciting.

As marketers endeavour to reconnect with consumers and create more relevant messaging, it’s reassuring to understand that the way we grab their attention will remain precisely the same.

As the market has slowed down, it’s allowed people to take more time with the briefs they do have, and what has been really positive to see is a resurgence in the appetite for creative and to do things differently. This is a trend that we hope will continue and translate into some amazing work over the coming months.

Creativity is crucial, and the time is now. Think outside of the box; with a little bit of time and bravery, we should embrace the challenging times and set about creating our own canvas.


Jay Young is Head of Creative Solutions


*Talon 4th Space
**Talon Special build effectiveness research