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Digital out-of-home: creative technologies

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Technology is opening up new avenues for creativity in digital out-of-home - from connected displays that enable brands to bring together the digital and physical worlds to displays that can precisely target advertising to the right consumer.

1. Facial Recognition

Since the beginning of out-of-home advertising, the medium has taken a broad approach to reaching audiences – with eye-catching creative that is designed to be noticed by as many people as possible. But with the advent of digital out-of-home, the medium is set to undergo a seismic shift: advertisers are now able to deliver targeted creative to audiences using demographic tracking.

Ocean is pioneering this audience-recognition technology with LookOut – displays equipped with cameras that track passers-by, identifying them by gender and age group.

Creative targeting

Using that data, Ocean’s LookOut displays can deliver ads that are aimed at specific demographics – as seen in Macmillan Cancer Support’s campaign at Westfield.

Using LookOut, gender-specific creative executions were triggered depending on whether the majority of passers-by were male or female.

Demographic tracking offers clear benefits to both the advertiser and the consumer. Advertisers no longer need to worry about wastage, delivering targeted, relevant ads to interested members of the public. And consumers are served advertising they want to see, rather than interruptive, irrelevant ads.

Recognition technology is only set to grow more sophisticated. With gaze recognition, it’s now possible to measure the impact of a specific creative on the audience. And in the future, we can expect to see true emotion recognition; ads that can surprise and delight by responding to viewers’ emotional states in real time.

2. Wi-fi

We live in a connected world. In the UK, 76 per cent of adults own smartphones and more than 32 million phones are sold every year, according to Deloitte. With internet access and social media enabling people to comment on global developments by the minute, is it any wonder that being cut off from the flow of information is unthinkable? 

Digital out-of-home displays equipped with Wi-Fi enable the public to stay connected to the global conversation – with The Grid, Ocean’s network of 14 connected displays, delivering high-speed internet in seven UK city centres. In Birmingham alone there are 12 Wi-Fi zones; once logged in, consumers can cross the city and stay connected to Ocean’s network.

Using Wi-Fi, always-on mobile devices  can connect to large-format digital screens – capitalising on the priming effect of digital out-of-home on mobile. Even the Wi-Fi login screen creates opportunities for brands – Keds at Westfield saw a 28 per cent sales uplift over two weeks from simply adding a voucher to its Wi-Fi login screen with a call-to-action on screen.

Creative opportunities

Connected displays open up creative opportunities too – enabling brands to connect live experiences with mobile and DOOH. In a recent L’Oréal Studio Pro campaign at Westfield, the Eat Street digital display was linked to a styling booth, with participants sharing their makeover on the DOOH display and across social media. We are seeing ever-more innovative ways of connecting brands and consumers, and Wi-Fi-equipped displays are at the heart of the modern city.

3. Fibre

Digital out-of-home advertising is evolving – it’s increasingly becoming a vital part of the modern cityscape, providing the public with information and experiences alongside commercial messaging. 

At the heart of this is fibre connectivity, enabling vast amounts of data to be delivered to or collected from screens across the country at high speed.

With a connected populace increasingly venturing out of home, fibre-equipped DOOH displays are an emerging content platform, offering a way to create public, communal experiences that are streamed simultaneously across the world. It’s a new broadcast medium that complements TV, ensuring people don’t miss out when they are out and about. People can now experience events as never before – as they happen.

Fashion Forward

Where events such as London Fashion Week were once closed affairs, live streaming over fibre enabled Ocean and the British Fashion Council to simulcast London Fashion Week across Ocean’s network of full-motion locations. The streets of London, Liverpool, Glasgow and Birmingham became the catwalk, with live broadcasts of shows including Fyodor, Osman, Temperley and Xiao Li.

For brands, fibre-equipped DOOH creates exciting opportunities – in the future, we can expect to see brands enabling consumers to buy products as they are unveiled live.

This year, fibre will be put to work on a grand scale – thanks to Ocean’s partnership with Team GB –  delivering real-time content to the masses, direct from the Olympics in Rio.


The Ocean View

Catherine Morgan, head of creative solutions, Ocean Outdoor 

Where static billboards once dominated the high street, digital out-of-home displays now bring vibrant creative executions to the public. But that’s just scratching the surface of the creative opportunities that technology affords us.

Wi-Fi displays are allowing brands to create interactive experiences, while fibre connectivity lets brands create live events that can be simulcast to displays around the world. And with LookOut, brands can create targeted executions that reach out directly to passers-by based on demographic information – directly addressing consumers with messages that matter to them.

This is just the beginning…

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