Thinking outside the box with Out-of-home Advertising

Out of home advertising is the general term covering all advertising that is typically encountered outside the home, as opposed to press, online and television advertising which may be encountered outside of the home but are usually assumed to be inside. While billboards are the typical and most common example of out of home advertising, it encompasses many different forms and media.

Ambient advertising is a subtype of out of home advertising, which is growing in popularity. Ambient advertising involves juxtaposing the advertising message alongside other items in the general environment. For the most part ambient advertising creates impact and interest while raising the brand awareness, but it is possible to include more traditional advertising. There are many examples of ambient advertising, with the key to a good campaign being its inclusion in day to day activities. The back of car parking tickets, along the handles of supermarket trolleys, on floating blimps, projected onto the side of buildings, even in the urinal in the men’s toilets, ambient advertising involves thinking outside the box to place information and the brand in the consumers viewpoint at the most unusual of times.

The best examples of ambient advertising are those with creativity and humour, and are often collected on the internet, allowing the message to reach a much wider audience. Examples which have reached the public imagination and been deemed worthy of inclusion on internet collections are:

  • The Ikea campaign, where boxed furniture such as benches and litter bins were left in place of normal street furniture with the addition of the slogan “better assembled”
  • A campaign for Tramontia precision knifes, printed along the side of a cookbook with an apple, the brand name and “ultra-thin slices” for the slogan
  • A Unicef campaign highlighting the problems of clean water in the developing world with a “dirty water” vending machine, allowing the user to select what they would like their water to be contaminated with and accepting donations to water aid
  • A living poster for Fishe Franke in Germany, with a poster with a plate behind a tank filled with water and real fish
  • A CFolgate campaign where icecream sticks in the shape of toothbrushes were inserted into normal ice lollies with the colgate branding and the slogan “don’t forget”
  • A Rimmel quick dry nailpolish campaign, which featured giant bottles of nailpolish mid pour and suspended on the stream of polish, which were placed around the streets of London
  • A German campaign for dental insurance, where 10 pin bowling lanes had mouths placed around them, with a more traditional banner advertisement in the eyeline of bowlers knocking out the “teeth”

While consumers are seeing traditional in house advertising in more locations as mobile internet brings online and even television advertising to the daily commute, out of house advertising remains a key platform to raise brand awareness and connect with the consumer, and the more out of the box the campaign is the more it captures the public awareness and becomes a talking point.