If you have been out and about in West Yorkshire recently, you may well have seen Donald Trump’s perma-tanned face and bizarre orange mane looming large above the skyline. Don’t worry, this is not an unfortunate apparition, but a genuine example of how creativity and striking visuals can bring outdoor advertising campaigns to life.
We have to take responsibility for this at Airoutdoor, as it was our decision to use Trump’s face as an eye-catching marketing tool. It is the creativity and innovative nature of the advert that is more important than the content itself, as such thinking can prove key when looking to engage customers in the OOH (out-of-the-home) marketing space.
So why does this approach work and how can you use creative thinking to drive engaging, connected and socially relevant outdoor advertising campaigns?
The Advert, its Message and the Importance of Creative Thinking
The Trump-inspired advert is featured at one of our West Yorkshire sites, while it was designed exclusively in-house by our talented team. Featuring the U.S. President’s leering face and brash smile, it includes a speech bubble and the text “Advertising works, look where it got me.” Playful but impactful in equal measure, it is a relevant campaign piece that embodies the promotional (and some would say self-serving) nature of Trump and his unorthodox path to the White House.
To some degree, we have used this advert as a direct call-to-action, in order to sell advertising space and drive business. This was not the primary reason for its design, however, as our main goal was to highlight the benefits of using creativity and innovative thinking when creating material for outdoor advertising campaigns.
Such an approach is crucial if you are to effectively target and engage customers in real-time, particularly in a competitive and challenging space. Our partner director, Paul Inman, sums it up best when he says, “Billboards are everywhere and on average you only have six seconds to capture the attention of drivers and pedestrians, so it’s important to avoid the trap of just blending in. Smart billboards can grab the attention of a local audience and leave a long-lasting impression.”
With the aid of a creative thought process and innovative hook, it is possible to leverage the potential of OOH and establish truly viral campaigns.
How Can Creative Billboards Drive Social Interaction?
Beyond instantly engaging consumers and soliciting an emotional response in real-time, creative, outdoor advertising campaigns can also bridge the gap between offline and online marketing. More specifically, your creative billboard can provide a natural and engaging hook that can drive social interaction, so long as you are able to leverage this and reach the right influencers. This is something that we managed to do with this particular billboard and campaign, so the question that remains is how was this possible?
The process began once the billboard had been erected in Leeds, at which point is had already become something of a local talking point. Our team then leveraged Google search feature to find a list of newsworthy sites that may consider featuring our campaign. A simple search for ‘advertising news’ returned a concise, but purposeful list of sites that report on business developments.
At this point we began searching through active reporters on the site, seeking out those that covered topics that were relevant to our campaign.
Once a small list was finalised, we pitched our story and the details so that the reporters could feature an article on the advertisement, almost guaranteeing some PR exposure and social media traction. Within a relatively short period of time, the post had gone live on Campaign Live.
On top of this exposure, the campaign made its debut in the social space, we also shared this prolifically across our own, integrated profile in order to drive further engagement. The result was a burst of activity and social shares.
— Team At Copestone (@CopestoneTeam) January 25, 2017
If that wasn’t enough, the advert generated significant conversations and a few sales in the process.
This is a tactic that your brand can follow too, as you look to optimise the full potential of your outdoor advertising by using it as a key driver of social and online interaction. You can also contact as many sites, resources and influencers as your desire, with the key being to focus on relevant outlets that enable you to reach your target audience.
How to Strike a Balance When Developing Creative, but Effective Ads
The subject of relevance is central to any effective advertising campaign, but it is easy to lose sight of this when attempting to develop truly creative content. This is something that we tried to keep in mind with our own ad, as while the use of Trump’s image and the presentation of the content may have been slightly left-field, attention grabbing and tongue-in-cheek, the tycoon’s renowned salesmanship and ability to promote his brand (and own self interests) offered a relevant link to our own proposition as a company.
With this in mind, the key is to think creatively but within a predetermined context, as you look to create an innovative but clearly-defined connection between the content that you use and the proposition that you are making to customers.
This approach has additional benefits too, particularly when looking to grab customers instantly and reinforce your proposition. An easy to understand and coherent advert is more likely to drive real-time engagement, regardless of how creative or unusual the material is. This is only possible if you have a relevant and concise message, as the last thing that you want to do is confuse your audience and leave them struggling to work out the context of the advert. Interestingly, this also helps when reaching out to influencers, as you can present your concept easily and empower them to share an exciting narrative.
So there you have it; a brief insight into how carefully managed creativity can drive engaging, impactful and far-reaching outdoor advertising campaigns. So, while we remain sorry for using a larger-than-life likeness of ‘the Donald’s’ all-too familiar face, we hope that you can learn something from our recent OOH campaign.
You can read the full article on Campaign Live here.