Massive leaps have been made in recent years with Out of Home media. Today, OOH and DOOH in particular are more dynamic and efficient than they have ever been, especially in markets like the UAE and Saudi Arabia where they are very common in malls and public transport.
The effectiveness, especially across MENA, has often been assumed or anecdotal but it is now proven thanks to driving key metrics, from footfall through to brand image.
The popularity of OOH in the region is remarkable. It accounts for 20 per cent of media investment in MENA (versus only 4-5 per cent in the US). DOOH opens up new creative opportunities, but more importantly, it’s powering much more sophisticated targeting and effectiveness tracking.
Thanks to investments across the region, but particularly in KSA, it’s expected to generate over $600m in media bookings in 2028 (from $288m in 2023).
“The level of creativity that’s coming out of MENA DOOH, particularly creativity that embraces new technologies, can be overlooked. Marketers should be turning more to MENA as a source of inspiration to push the boundaries of digital Out of Home,” said Mo Moubayed, co-founder of Veridooh, an ad tech company that verifies the performance of DOOH campaigns.
However, the creative challenge of developing a placement that really plays with its context and encourages people to actually stop and read (and so, remember), remains pretty much unsolved.
A few brands have leaned into technology to turn these placements into mini brand experiences; most notably, in this region, Adidas.
ADIDAS LIQUID BILLBOARD
When you know women feel uncomfortable swimming in public, why not create the world’s first swimmable billboard to launch your new range of modest swimwear?
I love this idea. I don’t think many women took them up on the offer, but it is both provocative and playful, which is very much on-brand for Adidas.
ADIDAS I’M POSSIBLE
I like this one even better. Adidas encouraged women to share snaps of themselves working out, and then showcased these everyday heroes as awe-inspiring athletes across their digital OOH spots. I’ve also never seen Adidas play with its logo like this before, which was refreshing.
However, I’m left with a nagging feeling. It’s clever, striking and award worthy, but is the introduction of innovation adding much value to the people who saw it?
Can’t we use the technology at our disposal today to get beyond novelty and newness?
Below are a few examples of work where I think a more meaningful layer of technology has been added to an OOH placement:
RED BULL: PROMOTE A LIVE EVENT
At the iconic Citadium in Paris, Red Bull promoted the 20th annual BC One, the hypes-breaking competition. And where better than the iconic Roland Garros for the world’s best B-Boys and B-Girls to face off?
By scanning the poster, fans were treated to an exclusive AR dance by local favourite and breakdancing legend, Lilou.
This was then extended to the event itself, where we developed an AR Mirror so people could have a short virtual break lesson with their hero, and learn a few of his killer moves.
‘‘MARKETERS SHOULD BE TURNING MORE TO MENA AS A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION”
ELEMENTAL: PLAY WITH THE CHARACTERS
Disney is a brand leaning into technology to really evoke emotions, for new fans and old. From the guest experience at the parks, through to its film launches, it is leading the way.
Disney knows people love its content; but it also knows people today are demanding more; more than beautifully polished video content, to be viewed passively. It is empowering fans to bend, flex and break the screen behind which Disney’s magical worlds and characters currently sit, so they can come alive in people’s hands.
When Disney recently launched Elemental, it wanted the film poster to be memorable; we created an AR experience that allowed people to play with the characters, including Ember, and give movie-goers a sneak peek of what the movie had in store.
So let’s challenge what’s possible creatively; the tech exists and people are ready to lean in when we can deliver a real value exchange. It could be as simple as an offer, free gift, behind-the-scenes clip, opportunity to take a selfie with their hero or a gamified experience.
It can shift with the time of day, weather or location of the placement. The opportunity to add a meaningful and valuable digital layer to your Out of Home media placements has never been bigger or easier.
By Vishal Badiani, General Manager, Atomic Digital Design