What magic can teach you about making creative brilliant

What magic can teach you about making creative brilliant

Date Published: 20 March 2019 |

By Simon Valcarcel, Head of Creative and Media, O2 / OOHCC member

You’ve hit gold. Your campaign was actually effective. Changed behaviour. Shifted perceptions. Smashed your KPIs. Everyone back at the ranch is happy. Your campaign gets entered into loads of awards. It wins. You’ve been up on stage to collect the award from a celebrity host barely holding proceedings together. You’ve posted the photos on LinkedIn and your team WhatsApp group. Life is good.

Wouldn’t it be great to make effective award-winning campaigns, consistently? Well, there’s a way you can improve your chances.

Last year, only 6% of all digital OOH campaigns used dynamic creative. Let that sink in for a moment.

94% of digital OOH campaigns effectively stuck up a paper poster, but used pixels instead of paste. 94% of campaigns wasted the opportunity to make the creative more relevant, more interesting, more playful and, ultimately, more effective.

This blog post was meant about future trends in DOOH. However, that changed when I heard Helen Weisinger, Chief Client Officer at Outdoor Plus, speak. Helen opened her talk with that blockbusting 6% stat. That was the moment when I realised, writing about the future of DOOH would have been a fool’s errand.

“The future is already here – It’s just not very evenly distributed.”

The often-quoted Economist, William Gibson, is spot on. In some channels, the future is very evenly distributed. Everyone is well aware of the endless possibilities for Facebook, Snap, Insta and Twitter. In fact, most brands will have regular innovation sessions to push those platforms forward. Strive for media firsts and drive more effective and creative campaigns. So why isn’t the same true for digital OOH?

Could the recent report The Brand Gap by Justin Gibbons and Tony Regan shed some light? Are media agencies not recommending DOOH or do they have a bias in some way?

According to the report findings, nope. DOOH comes out top (74%) of the media channels perceived as being ‘on the up’ followed by the data rich environments of Online Video (52%), VOD (45%) and Social Media (43%).

Source: ‘The Brand Gap’ by Justin Gibbons and Tony Regan, 2018

If it’s not a problem of perception, what else could explain such a large number of marketers ignoring the endless possibilities of using data to make their DOOH creative more effective?

Don’t paper and pixel.

The answer lies in OOH’s paper and paste legacy. That needs to change.

What was the one thing that all the 6% of campaigns had in common? Magic.

Full disclosure. I love magic. From the moment I got Paul Daniel’s magic set for my 7th birthday to today following the best magician on Instagram, Julius Dein. I love that moment of ‘how the hell did they do that’. For a split second you’re gobsmacked. That feeling of wonder is what data led dynamic creative can invoke in people who see your campaign.

So, what magic tricks can DOOH perform? Allow me to demonstrate…

Lexus used cameras to identify the brand, model and colour of passing cars and served different messages to drivers.

The NHS Blood and Transplant service used location, date, time of day, day of week and live appointment data combined with real images of people who had had their lives saved by blood donations to drive immediate response.

Hiscox built their headline up based on a live data feed of real time cyber-attacks.

When temperatures drop below a certain point, messaging comes up on Clear Channel’s screens around London helping the homeless get the help they need to get off the streets.

Just a handful of best-in-class examples to demonstrate how different brands have used data to drive dynamic creative to brilliant effect.

What can you do to start increasing that percentage of dynamic creative campaigns in DOOH?

“A magician with decreasing practice sessions will give defective performances.”Amit Kalantri

Performing brilliant magic is all about practice. Once a magician has mastered a trick, it ceases to be a trick and, for the audience, becomes magic.

So, like a good Magician start practising these habits to make your DOOH campaigns more effective:

  1. Don’t paper and pixel. Approach DOOH as a data led channel, not just a poster site which allows you to supply really really late.
  2. Use your own 1st party data as much as possible. Could it be used to make the creative more relevant to people. Make your brand stand out versus the competition.
  3. Get creative and media agencies in the same room when developing ideas. The standard data feeds you have at your disposal (weather, time, traffic speed, location, social media feeds, the list goes on) should be at the heart of the creative process, not an afterthought.

“If you are a magician then you can always do a lot more magic than you think you can.” Amit Kalantri

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