OCTOBER 25, 2017
'You have one second to reach people.' How to achieve the creative potential of DOOH
Welcome to the BLACK Letter,
a monthly update on trends and topics in advertising. In our first edition, a timely briefing on the transparency problem in programmatic advertising.
In her 20-year career Allison Wagner has seen a lot of creative campaigns, from award-winning work that she's contributed to for The Globe and Mail to brilliant ideas that never saw the light of day. She's also the steward of all creative that is displayed at the BBTCA tunnel facility, which has given her unique insight into what works and what doesn't.
Wagner says the best creative isn't simply a print campaign regurgitated for DOOH. "Brand programs aren't being planned to include creative specific to DOOH, and it's a shame," she says. Here's her advice for maximizing the advantages of digital out-of-home:
Rule 1: Keep the creative simple
That doesn't mean the execution has to be simple, but it has to be something [a viewer] can get right away. We know from our experience that you have one second to reach people. If you can be direct and reach people quickly, your effectiveness is going to shoot through the roof.
So often you'll see things where the ideas are really cool but they're complicated. If it's too complicated, it just falls right over.
Rule 2: Invest in the wow factor
There was one project from Forever 21 a few years ago that really surprised the heck out of me. The brand mimicked a digital screen, but instead of pixels there were spools of thread. This is an example of the brand believing in something different and in doing something that was going to take a lot of time, cost a lot of money, but they really saw the value of reaching the customer in a unique way.
Rule 3: Communicate in real time
Netflix did a great job of this with their GIF campaign, which reacted to current events and weather with GIFs from their shows. This is a good example of a simple execution. It's very repetitive and everything is a template. But the way that they've done it, you can [understand] it quickly.
A good way to do something like this and keep it simple would be to just use text and beautiful typography with a feed that updates the text. You could talk to people very quickly and have a sense of personality and humour about it that could connect with people.
Rule 4: Give your creative a sense of place
Done right, tying a creative idea to a specific place can surprise and delight people. This billboard from Sweden is a perfect example of having huge impact with a very low-cost execution. The technology is a simple motion sensor. That's it. Super easy but really, really brilliant. It resonates with people while being truly consistent with the brand message.
Rule 5: Don't let storytelling get in the way of the brand story
I think that storytelling is great in certain places, but brand story is most important.
Wealth Simple has done an excellent job telling its brand story. They're not afraid to reflect real life and that's what makes them stand out. Ideas need to be real. They're talking candidly about how finances can be hard and it reflects real society. Plus, the execution and art direction is excellent. And simple. As a result, they're able to tell their story in a very clear, fun and effective way.
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Copyright 2017 K.D. Black & Company Inc. All rights reserved.

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