When most people think of advertising they tend to think of two primary categories: traditional (print) media and new (digital) media. Few stop to think about the third category: outdoor advertising. Outdoor advertising is often lumped in with print ads but it really deserves its own space. This is largely because while people continue to doubt the future of print advertising, outdoor advertising is unlikely to ever go out of style.
As a very broad definition, outdoor advertising is any marketing that targets consumers outside of their homes. For example, posters on lamp posts, billboards, bus stops and buses themselves. Despite its endurance, outdoor advertising hasn’t escaped the digital revolution. Many billboards are now digitally operated and augmented reality has seeped into some of the busiest city centres to enthrall passersby.
Typically, billboards are the most popular and effective type of outdoor advertising, but, as media planners know, the more advanced the technology gets, the more outlay is needed to make the most of the medium. Flashing words and images are one thing; it’s when you start getting to augmented reality that it starts getting really interesting.
If you want to keep expenses manageable you might want to consider a smaller static display, such as those found at bus stops or train stations. An even cheaper option is to design eye-catching posters and place them on lamp posts. The down side is that these tend to be the most ignored of all types of outdoor advertising – there are simply too many posters to take notice of them all, so they fade into the background.
Alternatively you could go mobile. Many companies advertise their wares on their company vehicles, be they cars, vans or trucks. You can kick it up a notch with advertising on taxis and go even larger with advertising on buses.
If you can afford it, one of the best avenues for outdoor advertising is sports stadiums. If you can’t afford to advertise right on the field you could always have a banner made and attend the event, either in the stadium or in one of the hospitality boxes. You could even have something inflatable with your company name and logo. Inflatable options include air dancers (those wavy men), balloons, balls and blimps.
Global Industry Analysts Inc. (GIA) estimates that outdoor advertising will grow to become a $43.8 billion industry by 2017. It makes one wonder when people will stop debating the pros and cons of print and digital media and stick their heads out the window to get an idea of what really works.
About the Author
Sandy writes for a number of different blogs, on a number of different topics like media planning, travel and the environment.