Tag Archives: outdoor

Sao Paulo’s Ingenious Move For Return Of Banned Billboards

Outdoor advertising is creeping back into one of the world’s biggest cities after a decade of being banned.

In 2007, São Paulo’s then-mayor shocked marketers and ad agencies by making illegal everything from billboards to large store signs in the Brazilian city of 21 million people. At the time, São Paulo had been overrun by huge billboards, and previous efforts to work with the ad industry to curb their proliferation largely failed, leading to the drastic “Cidade Limpa” (“Clean City”) law in 2007 that transformed the urban landscape.

Now, a pro-business mayor, João Doria, wants to auction off rights to bring some back in return for ad dollars for public works. The city has just opened bids for 32 LED panels, one for each of 32 bridges on the ring road that is a major traffic artery encircling the city, reports Meio & Mensagem, Ad Age’s editorial partner in Brazil. In return, the winner is responsible for painting, cleaning, lighting, installing cameras and otherwise maintaining the bridges, which the city estimates will cost about $95 million total during the 36-month contract. The city specifies that the LED panels be 13-feet wide and about 17-feet high, and that 50 percent of that space can be used for advertising messages. The rest must be devoted to information such as the time and traffic news.

There have already been a few small steps toward reintroducing out-of-home ads on a limited basis. Several years ago, media company Otima won a contract to maintain 5,000 bus shelters in return for ad space on the shelters. And outdoor giant JCDecaux maintains the big outdoor clocks on São Paulo streets.

Doria has made it clear he’d like to relax the Clean City rules, and has suggested projects like new public bathrooms that outdoor ads at those sites could fund. In fact, the city may be the biggest offender of the current rules: Earlier this year, São Paulo had to remove its own signs promoting companies that had supported a city beautification program after local journalists wrote about the move.

In the absence of outdoor ads in São Paulo, the huge metropolis offers an inviting canvas to a few creative marketers, usually under the guise of graffiti. Converse and The Community invited people to donate their own shadows so some of Brazil’s best graffiti artists could turn the outlines of their bodies into colorful pieces of street art. The murals were plastered across São Paulo two years ago and spread on Twitter and Instagram after the agency reached an agreement with the city to allow the murals for a month. The “Donate Your Shadow” campaign was a big winner at international award shows.

Another marketer, GE, also used art to open a loophole allowing a small logo on graffiti projects that would beautify the city. GE and São Paulo agency Almap BBDO created the GE Gallery five years ago, painting three colorful, graffiti-like panels 120 feet high on São Paulo buildings in high traffic areas. A week later, a small GE logo was added and a social media campaign unleashed. The panels represented, somewhat abstractly, three areas GE operates in: energy, health and transportation.

At the time, Almap BBDO partner and Creative Director Marcello Serpa told Ad Age that the law had gotten rid of the visual pollution caused by too many billboards, but left the city gray. “So we tried to use buildings as billboards on a huge scale, to give the city some color and bring art to the people, and to use it as a tool to subtly talk about GE products,” he said.

It’s unclear how far São Paulo will go in bringing back outdoor advertising, but Doria told Brazilian media earlier this year, “Don’t tell me the law can’t be changed. I’ll make it flexible. It’s the duty of the state … to act with the population in mind.”

The Critical Role of Out-of-Home in the Marketing Mix.

With almost two-thirds of all consumer purchases made within half an hour of being exposed to Out-of-Home advertising, it’s time to revisit the critical role the medium plays in the broader marketing mix. Roadside Outdoor Audience Data (ROAD) now provides rich data on the consumption and impact of billboards, and integrated with other media stats allows brands to further craft effective, integrated campaigns. OOH should play a key role in this space, argues Howard Lonstein, Marketing Manager for Outdoor Network. 

When it’s possible to map the customer journey in intimate detail (turning on the TV over breakfast, passing billboards driving to work, surfing the web during the lunch hour, paging through a magazine at the dentist, listening to the radio on the way to gym), thanks to social listening tools and other data sources, it’s clear that marketing is entering a new era. Knowing where consumers go, what they pay attention to, what they need and where they shop gives us unique insight into how to reach them, and how we can customise messages to engage them in the most relevant way as they go about their day-to-day business. This makes media placement easier – and it also changes our approach to OOH enormously.

Harvard Business Review says the days of treating advertising touch points as if each works in isolation is long past and marketers should ask themselves which combinations of ad exposures work best to influence customers. Think static OOH doesn’t speak to smartphone-clutching millennials? A recent study of 1 837 smartphone users by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America found that OOH media is especially effective at reaching consumers before they search or shop online, while geo-fencing can work seamlessly with out-of-home formats to target consumers in a particular area. The context within which a consumer is exposed to brand communication becomes even more important as the clutter increases. The right message, at the right time, directed at the right consumer results in greater impact and ultimately in action being taken. Marketing Week has predicted that incorporating cellphone connectivity with OOH will become the norm, not a ‘special’ part of a campaign, and it’s hard to disagree. Remember that a customer can be ‘switched on’ at any time during the consumer journey – even stepping out from work to grab a sandwich.

It would be perverse to ignore the role OOH and impact can play in a campaign. It is commonly accepted now that OOH provides great frequency, which is a key driver in priming awareness for campaigns. This is particularly true in terms of digital platforms which reduce the CTP for the overall campaign, providing greater value for advertisers and brands. It is imperative that brands are exposed to these facts and the benefits that are derived when OOH is part of a broad campaign. It is worth noting that the OOH industry in the US recently reported its seventh consecutive year of revenue growth, with a more than 15% increase in 2016 from the previous year, according to The Outdoor Media Association – this reflects a global trend.  


Apple expanded its ‘Shot on iPhone 6’ print ad campaign by displaying 162 photos taken by iPhone 6 users (not professional photographers) on giant billboards in 73 cities across 25 countries, along with a 30-second TV ad and videos. Having photos blown up to billboard size gave a good idea of the power of the product without having to spell it out (less is always more on billboards), plus the scale was an ideal showcase for an ‘art gallery’ of images. OOH amplified Apple’s message and achieved enormous reach – the billboards received 6.5 billion media impressions and 255 million online impressions.

Coca-Cola has always loved multichannel marketing. The 23 000-pound ‘drinkable billboard’ it rolled out shot soda through a straw into a drinking fountain, complementing interactive TV commercials and downloadable coupons available from mall kiosks – in this way, it created a brand experience on a large scale, gaining traction via OOH, experiential, digital, social and broadcast channels. It was also vital in terms of increasing social media engagement.

Big brands know the value of high-impact, in-your-face media, but even smaller brands know that OOH delivers. A recent Posterscope US study showed that you can increase reach by as much as 303% if you add billboards to a mobile app and web campaign. Adding OOH to internet ads increases retention by two days, according to research conducted by Brand Science. A billboard can drive online research about a product and lead to online purchases, for example. In South Africa, radio and TV are hugely popular, but younger generations demand a brand experience that talks to them across different channels (and less traditional channels) – something that media planners need to take into account. The Brand Science study shows that ad retention of media one week after seeing an ad is 55% for OOH as against 49% for print and 35% for radio – and 58% of people report consciously looking at OOH ads, which is a higher rate of engagement than other forms of advertising can provide.

Seamlessly integrating OOH into your campaign can help to drive campaign objectives. OOH is a crucial touchpoint because it is so good at engaging with consumers in a way that builds relationships with brands; in fact, when used alongside above-the-line advertising, OOH has been found to play a crucial role in long-term brand-building. By leverage OOH in your campaign, you can reach more people more often, target the consumers most likely to be interested in your brand, drive consumer action, and optimise reach and frequency at a relatively low cost. All this points to a high return on investment, which is a prime consideration in today’s tough market.