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Out \ Look: Virgin Media Unleashes Playtime Retail Takeover

Aaron Poole, marketing executive, PML Group with this week’s Out \ Look on Out of Home

Virgin Media Unleashes Playtime Retail Takeover

Virgin Media is making a bold statement in the retail landscape this cycle with the latest phase of their ‘Playtime’ campaign. Employing an innovative, multi-format approach to engage consumers across high-traffic shopping centres, the deployment underscores the telecoms brand’s commitment to leveraging Out of Home advertising as a primary conduit for brand communication.

The campaign is planned by OMD and PML, with creative from Publicis, unfolding across prominent Dublin shopping destinations including Dundrum, Swords Pavilions, and Ilac Shopping Centres. Encompassing a mix of classic and digital formats including mall digital, DXScreens and vinyl wrapped surfaces, the campaign is captivating shoppers at every touchpoint. This is in addition to the wider campaign encompassing a mix of T-Sides, Metropoles, 48 Sheets, 6 Sheets and the Green Screen at Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre.

Dundrum sets the stage for Playtime with an attention-grabbing takeover of the centre’s walkways as dPods immerse shoppers in the campaign’s playful narrative from the moment they step foot in the centre, while DXScreens and Sipit-designed lifts and lift doors maintain the narrative at the heart of the building. Swords Pavilions also commands attention with vibrant vinyl displays dominating the main entrance, while Ilac Shopping Centre welcomes visitors with vinyl installations at the mall’s Henry Street entrance.

Expanding upon the campaign’s first iteration, the current initiative celebrates Virgin Media’s mission to empower customers to embrace play in all its forms with a narrative that resonates with audiences, highlighting the freedom Virgin Media offers from the monotony of everyday life.


Niamh O’Driscoll, Head of Brand and Marketing at Virgin Media, shares insights into the campaign’s creative vision: “We know that Play is an important part of our lives at all ages, so with this campaign we wanted to go further to show just how expansive it can be and the many forms it can take for all our customers”.

In addition to its visual impact, the Playtime campaign leverages the unique environment of retail DOOH to drive diverse and valuable audience engagement. The Point of Search research indicates that consumer searches initiated in OOH locations yield higher levels of receptivity and action.

OOH Remains Top for Prompting Spend on Key Occasions

Key consumer occasions such as Mother’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter etc. are crucial opportunities for brands to influence buying decisions by being both physically and mentally available to consumers. As part of PML Group’s Media Impact Study, we partnered with Ipsos B&A to revisit the effectiveness of media in reaching and influencing Dubliners on these key occasions.

The findings point to OOH media being the most effective in driving mental availability for brands across various demographics, in the run up to these significant seasonal events.

For the full respondent group, bus shelters are considered the most effective form of advertising in prompting respondents to make a purchase associated with seasonal events. On an effectiveness scale of 1-5, 56% of respondents gave bus shelters a rating of 4 or 5, i.e the most effective – an increase of 5% year on year. Closely behind in second place were billboard ads at 55% and bus sides at 54% – both marking increases of 4% and 6% respectively compared with the year prior.

Although some other media perform strongly among specific audiences, Out of Home formats are the most consistently represented among all age groups. In fact most groups classify a form of OOH as most effective at prompting spend on key occasions, with only the 25-34 year old segment noting social media as top, closely followed by bus stops and billboards. For Gen Z in particular Out of Home was far ahead of any other media, showing how strongly the medium resonates with the audience in terms of getting their attention.

The research supports Kantar’s Media Reactions research which showed consumers prefer channels that cause the least interruption to their lives. When it comes to advertising, consumers prefer in-person media channels like OOH, with the average person on the street preferring ‘sociable’ over social media.


Attention on Easter

A month away lies a core key occasion for advertisers in the form of Easter weekend. There is ample opportunity on offer for brands to harness OOH as a dynamic marketing channel to generate physical and mental availability. Recent Kantar data revealed that consumers in the Republic of Ireland typically spend an average of €114 during the Easter period.

Ipsos B&A/PML Group’s iQ research on Dubliner’s Easter weekend plans highlighted trends for 2024:

  • Community Engagement: 68% (+8%) of respondents anticipate gatherings with family and friends.
  • Urban Exploration: 46% (+7%) of Dubliners plan to venture into the city centre.
  • Staycation Surge: A notable increase (+9%) sees one-third of participants opting for a local getaway.

For home birds 44% intend to clothes shopping and go to the cinema over the weekend, while 21% plan to visit family attractions. The break also loos to see many leave Ireland for a weekend excursion: Easter 2023 saw Dublin and Shannon airports handle almost 560,000 passengers as the weekend marked the start of summer travel.

Seasonal events are a valuable opportunity for friends and family to gather and share joy. For brands, OOH represents the chance to engage consumers and play a role in leveraging that sense of joy and togetherness – the sense of communal experience.

Contextually relevant dynamic content is a powerful conduit for brands to entertain and inform consumers in the weeks, days and hours prior to such occasions.

To explore how OOH can elevate your brand presence during Easter and beyond, contact us at info@pmlgroup.ie.



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