Magic happens when digital and real worlds collide

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We always knew that Einstein was a smart chap and this month it was proven beyond doubt that he was a genius ahead of his time. Einstein had anticipated over a century ago that there were gravitational waves in the fabric of spacetime, and his physics was proven right. Big news in science which may change the way we view the universe.

But I see you asking what does this have to do with Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising? Well, it is a long bow but what we can prove in OOH is that your outdoor advertisement works – particularly well with digital – especially in this mobile-centric age. As other traditional media channels continue to see audiences fragment and decline, marketers are experiencing the benefits that OOH has to offer. But what’s more interesting, like the latest scientific discovery of gravitational waves, is that as OOH gains momentum, it is attracting more digital and technology advertisers who are using the great outdoors to give their brands a ‘real world’ presence.

Companies like Facebook, Foursquare, Google and Apple, along with a suite of start-ups are putting new twists on old-school advertising to build brand recognition.

In March 2015, Apple’s Shot on iPhone 6 campaign was curated via content from social media feeds, like Instagram, and uploaded to a dedicated online portal. The company then used that crowd-sourced content in a worldwide outdoor ad campaign, leading to multiple Cannes Lions award wins and a second incantation of the campaign launched earlier this year.

And while Millward Brown attributed the iPhone 6 launch last year to Apple’s ascendancy to the No. 1 spot on the Top 100 Brands of the World in 2015, Shot on iPhone 6 is backed by a serious marketing budget. However a legion of small start-ups with their bullish attitudes are also dominating the space; capitalising on the creativity of the medium, but also the fact that Outdoor makes small brands seem bigger.

Five years ago, start-up, Buddy Media, was just starting to define its business. The company purchased OOH space in airports and across cities to capture CMO and digital marketer attention, integrating their advertising campaign across OOH and digital. Somewhat of a ‘first’ for the time, the OOH campaign made the brand stand out, ultimately leading to the acquisition of the company by Salesforce for $689 million.

We’ve always said that Outdoor and Online work well together, in fact, Online works as Outdoor’s second screen during the day. It’s evident that advertisers, big and small, are looking for a media channel that can build awareness, drive desire, trial and transaction, all while complementing their online and TV campaigns, with Outdoor equipped to meet these needs.

As we continue to embrace technology, with increasing numbers of digital screens outside and videos playing in airport lounges and train stations, Morgan Stanley predicts that these new OOH platforms could help grow the market to over $800 million annually by 2020. We are a bit more aspirational at OMA, predicting a growth of $1 billion by 2019 – now that’s a magical target to reach!