Feel-good audiences and brands return to broadcast OOH

August sees the reintroduction of a wide range of “feel-good” activities, that help the UK population spend more time out and about, not just socialising and enjoying the benefits of a return to normality, but rewarding themselves with some much-needed personal attention that brings normality another step closer.

The effects of lockdown will certainly change many behaviours, something the Government is already influencing with its Eat Out to Help Out initiative, plus the rise in e-commerce and the incredible acceleration in holiday staycations. It creates a real opportunity for brands to be more contextual and dynamic in their communication and how they position their businesses to people whose mindsets are literally flipping from one thing to another as genuine change – not least factoring in a return to the workplace for many – takes place.

Three areas have emerged to influence our behaviours this month, with brands already capitalising on the broadcast potential of Out of Home as part of their consumer re-engagement. With roadside audiences returning to normal levels, advertisers are seizing on the benefits of talking to local communities and there are some great examples of brands restoring connections with consumers in leisure activities, staycations and the revived health and beauty sector as we chase the feel-good factor.

Leisure Activities

One feel-good industry heavily affected by lockdown and now enjoying a revival, our demand for freedom and leisure activities will continue to thrive as the road to recovery unfolds. People have shown an insatiable appetite to get out and do the things they love. And one brand, McDonald’s, has seized the opportunity not just to return to normal, but to define the new normal.

From the hour long drive-thru queues that seem a distant memory, to the smart brand communication to set the brand apart from some less agile competitors who’ve been much slower to re-emerge, the brand has been active, engaging and highly visible. To accelerate recovery, the brand now plans to boost its marketing spend, making sure its voice is heard in the public space.

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We were first aware that “The Mac” was back, when it was widely broadcast across OOH. Since then, the brand has found its cheeky tone again, reminding audiences that whether their preference is “Gherkin or Gherkout”, it’s back.

McDonald’s has also most recently celebrated its affiliation with the Government’s latest “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme by reminding its customers that new, lower prices are reminiscent of the brand’s prices in the 90s! They even produced a nostalgia-laden film used on social channels to amplify the journey.

The “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme has already helped restaurants see a huge 70% rise in sales in its first week. The Government’s own campaign messaging has now evolved to “Enjoy Summer Safely,” reminding audiences contextually through digital OOH how they can return to feel-good activities and locations. Using Ada, we’re able to track real audience behaviours enabling brands to hyper-focus campaigns and vitally target their audience Out of Home at optimal times and occasions.


We’re at the height of our very British response to summer 2020, with staycation bookings accelerating. We estimate an increase of at least 10 million people to the UK’s roads this summer; similarly amplifying the genuine broadcast opportunities for OOH.

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Our ongoing Ada audience measurement tracking has already reported the return of roadside audiences to normal levels, particularly in staycation destinations like the South West. Various brands are using OOH as a broadcast channel to reach and influence audiences, including easyJet as it battles Government actions to compete with the staycation boom. Another advertiser, the AA, has made its return to OOH by reaching out to those who are loving being back on the roads. The smart-linear campaign reminded returning audiences that the AA is still there to help them get back onto the roads, adding more safety to their domestic excursions.

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Health & Beauty

Feel-good behaviour is exemplified by our reaction to those personal treats that were taken away for months. Despite many getting creative at home with DIY beauty treatments and online fitness classes, the reopening of businesses from beauty salons to gyms will amplify our consciousness of personal mindfulness and audiences for a genuine target for brands and services.

L’Oral has also targeted multiple brand messages at re-emerging audiences, using the power of large-format broadcast branding. With OOH’s unique positioning across various roadside and shopping centres, the brand chose to use OOH as the broadcast medium for promoting its latest products.

August has genuinely opened a sense of recovery for brands and a channel like OOH that is once again supporting broadcast messages. The list of major brands using OOH indicates not only are successful brands following the “advertise through” mantra to the letter, but also seizing on the creative and contextual opportunity to stand out and both reassure and attract consumer behaviour at this crucial time.

This is a time for advertisers to consider branding, trust and activation messaging for returning audiences. With consumers being deprived of many feel-good factors for so long – and the hot weather can only improve our spirit and receptivity to better focus on recovery messaging – our mindfulness, eating out and staycation activities all create the right environment for engaging audiences in the right way on the move.


Frank Bryant, Co-CEO, Talon UK