A look back at some of the best Out of Home campaigns of 2018
By Ben Hope, Head of Design & Product Marketing
The advertising industry has seen some incredible creativity pouring out of agencies and clients this year.
It’s the season to take stock and review the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m sure there’ll be articles a plenty looking at the greatest and the favourite campaigns from many-a-folk out there. It’s also time to look ahead at what’s coming next year too.
I’m ultimately going to take a slightly different approach to most other articles you will probably read wrapping up 2018, and call out a few clients that I think have done some outstanding and noteworthy work in my native Out of Home space.
Firstly though, it would be remiss of me to write any creative blog reviewing this year without mentioning a few of stand-out campaigns which will feature on almost every creative list:
Volkswagen kicked off the year with Bam the Ram, the cheeky ad-hopping character pushing the T-Roc.
O2 continued their incredible multi-award-winning Oops / Stuck campaign and then pulled out their show-stopping Netflix partnership with the Stranger Things special build on Old Street.
KFC got it so right when they got it so wrong – FCK me that was smart, a missed opportunity for Out of Home.
McDonalds kept it simple whilst winning the Cannes Outdoor Lions, and also turned the Imax into a giant Big Mac.
Nike kicked off their year with Nothing Beats a Londoner, to mostly critical acclaim, but some negativity around it being so London centric. Personally, I’m a huge fan. Passionate, emotive, amusing – and it speaks to a diverse, modern society. In 2018, Nike also delivered to the world Take a Knee, a powerful piece that actually saw it’s shares drop. Brave, bold, important marketing.
Noting the last point, I also think I need to mention here how we’ve seen a fundamental, societal shift in advertising this year as brands more authentically rise to the challenge of standing up for their values. It feels like we’re heading for the plains of advertising doing good, more frequently. Some stand-out campaigns alongside Nike:
Iceland (and Greenpeace)- Rang-tan was deemed too political for TV, and probably reached a much larger audience as a result.
Dave + CALM– #BeTheMateYoudWant – highlighting important issues of mens mental health to Dave’s target audience. A smart collaboration.
ThePeoples Seat – focussed on the UN’s #TakeYourSeat campaign to get people to care about the urgent need to tackle climate change,and pulling out national treasure David Attenborough to do so.
Stabilo – Highlight the Remarkable – a campaign from Germany highlighting incredible women from history frequently overlooked by their male counterparts. This particularly resonated in the UK with it being the 100 year anniversary of women’s right to vote.
The Stabilo posters were the trigger for this article. A campaign not only delivering a powerful message, perfectly tied to the product and brand, but also they’re just brilliantly designed and executed.
So, here we get to the point. Nothing makes me happier than to see a brand use Out of Home ‘properly’. A well designed poster. A crystal clear message. A design that does not cram every ounce of information they can onto display. A poster designed for the right audience, in the right environment. Brands being more playful.
In a recent research project from JCDecaux, The Brand Gap, the following quote truly resonated; “I can’t think of a single brand that has grown via paid-for Online display”. It’s one of the reasons I love working in Out of Home. The space for brands to think about the long-term, not just short-term response. It’s the medium to build big brands.
I’ve seen many superb Out of Home executions over the past 12 months, but here are three brands I’d like to give a big shout out too:
Squarespace. Make It. A demonstration of big, bold design, with just one message to convey. Make It. The brand aligning themselves with creativity, through creativity, as the platform for creativity. My only regret for these stunning artworks is that we didn’t see them more widely across Out of Home on classic or digital posters across the UK’s creative hubs such as Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and beyond. Work this good deserves to reach a broader audience!
Diageo. Guinness. Made of More. A brand never far from advertising genius, with more memorable campaigns than most in their past, and this year was no different. As well as their continued excellent use of posters for brand messages with strong imagery and smart copy Guinness stepped it up a gear on Out of Home this year. A brand thriving on the Clear Channel mantra to ‘Be More Playful’. Adding subtle motion and full motion across our estate where capability allows, as well as using data and technology for additional contextual elements. The 6 nations campaign not only added kick-off times to those brand posters, but told their audience exactly where they could watch matches nearby with their favourite pint…
Mondelez. Cadbury. Glass and a Half. Back in February Cadbury painted the nation purple with posters showing strength and confidence in their brand. Strong, positive iconography associating their audience with a real sense of happiness and fulfillment and a simple, clear reminder that joy is in all of us. A campaign that brought a smile to my face every time I saw it, warming me up in the bleak weather. It was delivered across both classic and digital, maximising Reach across the UK. A true display of branding. Simple. Colourful. Beautiful.
So, what about next year?
I’m excited to see brands continue to push the boundaries on Out of Home. I’d love agencies and creatives to further harness the power of technology to ‘Be More Playful’ to take their marketing as far and wide as possible. But most of all, I hope to see more brands being more confident in their approach to Out of Home, using the strengths of the media to reinforce the strength of their brand. After seeing some of the campaigns from this year, I’m sure the Outdoor Media Awards 2019 will be one to look forward too!
2018 has been a brilliant year. Here’s to 2019.