The Changing Face of Out of Home installation advertising

A New Era in Advertising

Christmas is officially here. With John Lewis launching its new TV ad “The Bear and The Hare” – and a host of other brands and retailers following suit – it’s time to do all things seasonal.  The success of John Lewis’ recent Christmas campaigns can be mainly attributed to fantastic story-telling delivered in a brilliant TV edit, for which Adam & Eve has been rightly applauded.

Interestingly this year, perhaps in recognition that their Christmas ads are starting to become a cherished tradition, John Lewis’ strategy was to tease the arrival of their ad on TV, online and in out-of-home, as well as via social media.  Teaser #sleepingbear TV edits were released a few days before the main event, as was a unique audio-visual projection installation on the South Bank in partnership with Curb Media and Talon.

The strategy certainly worked, as people flocked to Twitter and Facebook to add their opinion on what #sleepingbear might refer to, generating John Lewis (and other brands closely associated with Christmas!) lots of free earned media. Whilst the TV ad itself drove most of the interaction, this is not the only measure of success. The supporting OOH installation added an extra dimension, providing a tangible incarnation of the TV ad which gave people something real to experience for themselves, and in doing so amplified the impact of the TV ad and contributed to the social commentary.

As part of the launch-weekend social media frenzy around the TV ad (3-4 million views, 86,000 tweets), hundreds of photos of the South Bank AV installation were posted to social networks. The resulting hundreds of thousands of online impressions in more than 40 countries is a great demonstration of the global impact local OOH events can now achieve.  This is particularly the case when in support of an exciting brand launch or a heightened seasonal sales period.

Since the launch of the John Lewis activity, Sony PS4 has augmented its game console pre-Christmas launch by lighting up the iconic Oxo Tower in London with its familiar symbols replacing OXO for a short, yet highly impactful period, generating untold PR and earned media value.`

Historically, we would create one-off events or installations hoping that the immediate audience would like it so much that they might tell their friends face to face.  While this still undoubtedly occurs, the wider – and measurable – benefit now takes place online on an international scale.

The graphic represents the impacts generated for the #sleepingbear installation on Twitter in the days before the TV ad launched.  This international amplification of outdoor activity that captures the imagination is becoming a key reason to go the extra mile when planning impact-grabbing OOH, keeping that bear awake even longer to deliver an even larger audience.