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2023: A Showcase in OOH Innovation

Colum Harmon, marketing director, PML Group, with this week’s Out \ Look on Out of Home

In our final Out \ Look of the year, we take a brief look back on some of the outstanding and innovative OOH campaigns from the past twelve months. 2023 was a year of quality and quantity as substantial growth in advertiser investment was complemented by clever and engaging activations and special builds.

Here’s just some of what made OOH great in 2023.

An Event-ful Year

Event-based marketing was the basis for some stand out work across 2023.

As we approach Christmas, An Post are bookending 2023 with an impactful set of 3D lighting special billboards in Dublin. “An Post are delighted to bring the magic of post to life through this work. A  great collaboration with Core, Boys and Girls and PML Group to execute this OOH special build for our Send from the heart Christmas campaign,” notes An Post commercial marketing director Julie Gill.

The year kicked off with great work from Kellogg’s, using Digital OOH to react within hours to an unexpected product call out at the Golden Globe awards.

Both Vodafone and Guinness mesmerised at the airport with show stopping activations that leveraged their association with Irish rugby during the men’s world cup in October.

Cadbury marked key occasions such as Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day with bespoke digital messaging and Paddy Power celebrated the launch of the 2023 Comedy Festival with eye-catching classic and digital, including LUAS Column builds and a takeover of Camden Corner.

In September, Breast Cancer Ireland used digital projections to great effect in promotion of its Pink Run.

A Dynamic Approach

Many brands elevated their digital OOH communications in 2023, by adding a dynamic element to the message. Examples included data use such as live sport scores, location, and environmental factors such as temperatures.

Kit-KAT referenced current and likely weather conditions as it took a novel approach to encouraging ‘a break’. Temperature was also used to trigger McDonald’s McCafé Iced creative during the summer months.

Sport, and rugby in particular, was the dynamic trigger for campaigns for Guinness and The Irish Independent.

Time formed the basis for dynamic activations for Virgin Media and Lipton Iced Tea. The Telecoms company counted down to an upcoming bank holiday while Lipton used special lunchtime creative to drive sales at that key daily occasion for the brand.


Wow Factor

OOH has a unique ability to literally stop people in their tracks with special builds and dominations that are enjoyed and shared by an attentive audience.

Heinz, Phonewatch and Durex were among the brands to show the value in high impact special builds, all using large format to pack that extra punch in their campaigns.

In Northern Ireland, Spar stood out at Halloween by using a shadow effect, with large fangs installed behind the vinyl skins of the Backlit panels. As the ambient light decreased and the internal illumination of the Backlit became increasingly visible, the fangs gradually appeared.

McDonald’s made the medium the message as they incorporated exploding T-Sides and parallel bus shelters into their McNuggets campaign.

Citroen showcased their special build on Dublin’s Usher’s Quay, marking its award-winning ‘Power of One’ show garden at Bord Bia Bloom festival. The innovative OOH installation was constructed to promote the car marque’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

In July, Diageo celebrated their charismatic revamp of Rockshore. Aungier Street’s Golden Square was spangley-fied, with the blue colours reflecting the sunshine and highlighting the waves adjacent to the standout pint and lettering.

In the same month, Disney+ did a full takeover of Dublin’s Connolly Station. Highlighting an eclectic mix of new content, the takeover encompassed the station front, tunnel underpass, digital gallery, turnstiles, and wrapped staircase bannisters.


Serious about Sustainability

One of the most significant campaigns of 2023 came towards the end of the year, with Bord na Mona the first brand to appear on MicroMedia’s fully solar-powered billboards on Pearse Street and Sandwith Street. Both locations operate 100% off grid and are the first zero emission illuminated billboards in the country.

Global launched a pack of 100 Dublin Bus sightlines, which are posted only on hybrid buses in the Dublin Bus fleet.  These buses produce less CO2, have a plugin capability, do not idle in traffic and can run in Zero Emission mode for up to 4.8KMs.

JCDecaux also announced that it will power down all roadside digital screens between the hours of 2am-6am, from January 2024. The media owner’s roadside digital inventory includes Digipanels, Digipoles, Digishelters, and Digital 48 Sheets.

Powering down of digital units such as Clear Channel’s Adshel Live, Global’s dPods and JCDecaux’s iVision has been in place for some time now and those times vary depending on location.


Looking Forward

As we close the book on 2023, it’s evident that this was a year where creativity, sustainability, and innovation were common threads when it came to harnessing the power of Outdoor. 2024 is poised to see OOH become an even more pivotal medium as we continue to leverage our expertise in creating engaging, sustainable, and technologically advanced campaigns.

In the year to come we expect OOH growth will be fueled by our commitment to capturing consumer attention – a factor that will ultimately be underpinned by innovation, technology, and data-driven insights. Our focus remains steadfast on delivering OOH campaigns that foster genuine connections between brands and consumers.

Looking ahead, we are excited to explore new frontiers by combining creativity and innovation with sophisticated marketing strategies to ensure our clients’ brands not only get noticed but also leave a lasting impression.

For more information contact info@pmlgroup.ie.

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