OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE OOH: An Education on the new High Street using a Back-to-School lens

Schuh Campaign

As the second largest retail season after the winter holidays, the back-to-school shopping period is a pivotal time for brands to connect with consumers. Even though schools have just begun their summer holidays, parents are already feeling the pressure of preparing for the return to school amidst consistently high costs.  

In this blog, we lay our cards on the table – literally. These are OOHs ACES, the four cards we play to make sure your media plans deliver this back-to-school season.

OOH’S ACES: Audience, Creative, Effective, Sustainable

Get to know the back-to-school AUDIENCE

Over the last year, the back-to-school shopping landscape has evolved. Inflation remains a major concern, with 84% of respondents feeling the impact of the cost of living on their shopping habits, though slightly down from last year. Interestingly fewer consumers are seeking offers (42% vs 89%), opting instead to budget more carefully, with 92% spending less, with a third spending between €200-€300. As a result of this there has been a notable decrease in higher spenders (down 20% in the €500-€1,000 range).

Timing as always remains crucial, with August emerging as the preferred shopping month as families prioritise summer vacations in June (21%) and July (17%) delaying back-to-school preparations. Women exhibit greater organisation, with only 2% waiting until the last week, compared to 12% of men.


Retail environments are growing increasingly more creative, making it the perfect time to craft a recipe for success. Today’s consumers are inundated with advertisements, demanding that brands stand out. This is where the magic of creative solutions come into play. By thinking beyond traditional billboards, you can create truly immersive experiences that resonate deeply with shoppers.

Specsavers 3
Specsavers Dundrum Mill Pond Stunt

Research underscores the effectiveness of impactful and unconventional OOH, which can drive up to 7x higher brand recall compared to standard media. These creative solutions don’t just elevate brand recognition by 5.9%, but also amplify emotional responses by an average of 120% and boost purchase intent by a substantial 176%. Digital OOH takes this a step further, enabling brands to deliver tailored messages dynamically and programmatically, achieving a 32% increase in brain response by displaying contextually relevant content.

OOH is EFFECTIVE at reaching back-to-school shoppers

Irish consumer confidence is on the rise this month – marking it the first uptick since January, signalling an opportune moment for brands to leverage Out of Home (OOH) advertising to effectively reach back-to-school shoppers. This positive shift indicates increased consumer optimism regarding spending and economic outlook. OOH plays a pivotal in driving consideration, particularly for items such as clothing (34%), footwear (35%) and tech (25%), which see rapid purchasing decisions within a day of exposure to an OOH ad.

JD Sports Campaign

Retail environments naturally spur consumer action, with OOH ads prompting 25.5% of consumers to discuss brands with family and friends, 21.6% to research a product on their mobile phone, and 15.1% to make a purchase. Point-of-sale ads further catalyse both in-store visits and online shopping, with 58% of consumers likely to visit a physical and 59% to shop online post-exposure.

Identifying the optimal OOH formats to capture back-to-school shoppers requires a nuanced understanding of their unique purpose. Roadside formats excel in raising awareness (+8%), while transport ads are the most liked advert (64%), and digital formats are effective in driving bottom-funnel metrics (57%). Each format serves a distinct role in engaging and influencing consumers throughout their purchasing journey.


But OOH advertising is not only about reaching your audience – it’s the medium that gives back to communities. When planning your campaign, consider using sustainable practices such as opting for eco-friendly transportation methods like electric buses and adopting sustainable printing methods to minimise landfill waste. Additionally, ensure your digital campaigns are powered by renewable energy sources and that digital screens are powered down at night.

Why should we care? It matters to consumers, with 82% willing to stop buying from brands perceived as unethical. It’s also crucial for business success, as 72% of investors screen for sustainability risks. Furthermore, sustainability is significant for attracting talent, with one-third of GenZ rejecting jobs with poor sustainability credentials. Clients are also prioritising sustainability, with 43% of brands making it a key priority in their marketing strategy, up from 26% in 2021.


As we approach the back-to-school season, it’s essential for brands to leverage the power of Out of Home (OOH) advertising to connect with consumers in meaningful ways. By focusing on the ACES – Audience, Creative, Effective, and Sustainable – you can craft campaigns that not only capture attention but also drive action and foster positive brand associations. With consumer confidence on the rise, there’s no better time to think OOH’s ACES to ensure your media plan delivers this back-to-school. Reach out to a member of your Talon team to learn more.