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Somewhere around 1835 when the first billboard was rented, little did they know that outdoor advertising would become a popular advertising tool that it is today. In an age when non-traditional media and social media influencers are reigning supreme, OOH is still the crowning glory. How, you may ask?

OOH – Out-Of-Home – advertising is everywhere. You step out of your home and by the time you reach your destination you are bound to come across at least a few hoardings. OOH is an attention-grabbing, non-invasive medium to reach the customers. The main advantage being that you connect with the customers where they are. And brands are leveraging this media as never before. Have you heard the term, ‘Instagrammable billboards’? It is a term coined to refer to hoardings that appeal to people so much so that they are compelled to share these images on social media.

“If you do any outdoor campaign in a unique and creative way, all the people connected on their mobile phones will want to share it on social media,” he said. “Outdoor advertising can become social media,” said Alex Bodman, Spotify’s global executive creative director in an interview. Spotify leveraged the outdoor media for their launch in India with a campaign that struck the right chord with the audience as it was highly localised and extremely relatable. Their ‘There’s A Playlist For That’ campaign was highly shared on Instagram and became a trending topic too.

As a media, Instagram Out Of Home is still at a nascent stage in our India, but in many countries, brands find it to be the most powerful tool to engage with their audiences. The customers today are stuck to one device or another and are constantly moving between various media. Hence brands are using this opportunity to create work that complements across platforms. Imagine this: One billboard, in one city, with a message can travel the globe in an instant.

Outdoor advertising is now becoming a social channel and it’s the people that are doing the amplification for the brand. Today, creating a great outdoor campaign is not about devising a strong, as short as possible key message, but is more about creating some sort of an art installation, something unique and quirky.

Apart from the Spotify campaign, a good example of a brand that localised the content and gave a good value proposition while customising the campaigns according to the local TG is Google Maps.

Google’s ‘LookBeforeYouLeave’ campaign was an instant hit. A key feature of Google Maps was ‘offering real-time traffic updates and alternative route suggestions to save commuters’ precious hours’ and to promote this feature the campaign was launched. It reminded commuters to check Google Maps’ real-time traffic updates on their phones before hitting the road. The locally relevant creative not only resonated with users quickly but by tying the creative to uniquely Indian cases and habits was effective in driving awareness and ‘shares’.

Breaking the stereotype that creative folks saved their wittiest lines for digital, Zomato launched their outdoor campaign for their food delivery app. In tune with the brand's theme, a series of bright red billboards with bold white text begun to grab the attention of daily commuters in various cities across India. One copy read - 'tu cheese badi hai mast mast - love things extraaa cheesy? get food exactly the way you like it'. A play on words coupled with the quirky twist of old-school Bollywood songs hit the nostalgic spot as well as the funny bone while driving home the message. The ads became so popular that they were a part of many Instagram stories and online conversations.

Instagrammable OOH can be a game changer if brands use this medium with content that connects with the consumer and not as a commodity to ‘get the message across’.

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