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Outdoor advertising: How the big brands have been using outdoor advertising to target customers?

The Use of Outdoor Advertising for Brand Promotion and Market Growth

21st century is an era of technology where most of the marketing takes place in the web world. It is because now people are stuck for longer on their I-phone and I-pad screens. Internet has become the main battlefield for marketers and brands fight the battle for market share over the web. However, this does not mean that the fight in traditional arena is over. The other marketing channels still have a very large audience and hold importance. A very large audience at least in the developing and underdeveloped nations can be reached using these traditional channels. Outdoor marketing and advertising therefore are still effective methods for reaching a very large segment of customers. Even the biggest technological brands like Google use this strategy for brand recognition. Google is also known to have started planning to make a foray into outdoor advertising which will be an extension of its existing Adsense. Even in the most developed nations like US and UK, this can be an effective method to attract the customers. The Cola industry and fast food industry are known to be ahead of all in this regard. The Cola Cola brand has found worldwide recognition using this strategy most effectively. Its logo can still be found in even the most underdeveloped corners of the world at unexpected places.

From Coca Cola to Pepsi and McDonalds, all of these brands have been using the outdoor advertising strategy for brand recognition and market expansion. Till before the arrival of the internet, outdoor marketing was among the favorite of the marketers. It was not difficult to find walls crowded with posters and billboards. Billboards used to be everywhere and their style and format has also changed a lot with time. The advertising industry has innovated its style to suit the need of time and its audience’s taste. The format of ads being used outdoors for marketing changed and grew more colorful and attractive. Apart from the food and beverages industry, the electronics industry is also known for investing heavily in outdoor advertising. Samsung, LG, SONY, Philips, Panasonic and several other big and small brands have been using   billboards to reach their target audience. What has changed with time is the form and format of these outdoor ads. A very large number of brands use attractive electronic billboards to grab attention and to build market share. SONY and LG have a rich legacy of outdoor advertising. These brands have kept promoting their individual products through the use of outdoor billboards.  While a large number of people believe that outdoor advertising has grown less lucrative in the 21st century, the way the celebrity brands like Nike and Coca Cola use them proves that these billboards are still far from losing their appeal.

Times Square is a living proof that these billboards are the lifeline of outdoor advertising industry. Millions of tourists flock to the Times Square every year and the square comes alive by the thousands of billboards that illuminate its beauty. Some of the most prestigious luxury brands’ billboards are visible at a height. While on the one hand, these billboards provide exposure to a large prospective audience, they are also good for branding. Overall, Time Square looks like an outdoor advertising haven because of these shiny square and rectangular Billboards. These famous brands have started using 3d technology and other advanced technologies to advertise their brands and products. In this context, Coca Cola has an incredibly rich legacy of more than 125 years of outdoor marketing through Billboards. Coca Cola’s promotional mix has always been rich with outdoor marketing signs. During the 1890s, Coca Cola advertised through paintings on the walls and these wall paintings had played an important role in raising the popularity of the brand. After these paintings, came the neon signs that dotted the skylines of cities and metros.  While these signs catch the eyes of the pedestrians, motorists and other passerby’s for just a few seconds, they still provide effective exposure and have played a central role in branding.

The advertising world has grown highly competitive and populated with brands. Every brand trying to catch attention has to make its advertisement appealing and eye catching. Many of these ads effectively sustain attention because of their design and format. Any form of outdoor advertising or signage is expected to make a lasting impression and therefore the outdoor advertising industry has kept pushing the line to make its impression bolder and stronger. Coca Cola has pushed the line very far in its more than 125 years of outdoor advertising history. Its newest experiment on Times Square is among the best in class in outdoor advertising. It has erected the first and largest 3d robotic design at Times Square.  The spectacular Billboard features 1760 independently moving LED screens. More than 300,000 people pass each day trough this busy intersection everyday which means a high level of exposure daily. You can understand the importance of such commercial intersections in terms of outdoor advertising. Coca Cola’s outdoor advertising strategy has changed and been updated a lot since in a century. The brand has kept investing in the most innovative technology and techniques for outdoor advertising.  It was around a hundred years ago that Coca Cola had erected its first sign in the Times Square. In the 1890s, it used painted wall murals for advertising and branding. Since then it has come very far to install the first 3d robotic design. It is not without reason that the Times Square has acquired the reputation of the global hub of 24/7 advertising. Coca Cola has kept raising the bar in the area of outdoor marketing and its new Billboard at the square is its latest step in this direction.

Apart from Coca Cola there are other major brands too that have been very clever in terms of outdoor marketing. Besides the highway, at the motel, at the petrol pump and on the sidewalls of the skyscrapers, bus stops; these are areas most commonly infested by outdoor advertisements. McDonalds has also been very clever at the use of outdoor advertising for its brand and products’, promotion. Its sign can be commonly found besides the highways in the Western Nations but apart from them .it also uses creative roadside advertisements to grow sales and attract customers. Its outdoor ads are commonly fund at the Bus Stops. McDonalds uses outdoor advertising for promotion of its products and McCafe as well as to convey its message and for branding purposes. Its latest experiment in outdoor advertising took place at Europe 2016 where the brand used outdoor advertising to convey its message of peace and unity between nations. In its outdoor ads fans hold scarves that support two nations. The scarves have names of two different countries merged into one. Two names are joined to look like a new one like Sweden and Italy together become Swetaly. The tagline of these advertisements says ‘come as you are’ and meant to promote generosity, harmony, tolerance and diversity. The logo of McDonalds features at the upper right corner. The fast food brand has used the event very well to propagate its message of love and unity. Such creative advertising strategies can be used to strengthen the branding efforts.

Nike is another celebrity brand that has used outdoor advertising with huge success. Its billboards are also a common scene in the Western markets. Its logo and tagline ‘Just Do it’ are quite popular in several corners of the world. It is not difficult to come across large Billboards with the images of shoes with Nike’s logo prominent and highlighted. Nike is also known to invest a lot in outdoor ads and its large billboards can be seen on the sides of skyscrapers in metropolitan cities. The Edgar Davids building wrap is a towering example of use of billboard graphics for promotions. It is known as the biggest building graphic in the world at over 10000 square meters where each side of the building was the size of the statue of liberty. Nike’s creative execution of advertising also becomes visible at the time of important sports events globally.

The world of outdoor advertising is vast and has a rich and long history. All the most well known brands of the world have grown using this medium. Till before the arrival of the internet, it used to remain one of the main focus of the marketers. Even now when the internet has taken over and digital marketing has become the most popular medium for advertising and promotions, the celebrity brands globally use it for branding and promotion. From fashion to fast food and soda beverages to electronics, all these industries have kept using the outdoor marketing strategy to grow their brand and attract customers.