Cannes Reflects The Power of OOH

Looking through the Cannes Website this week, I stumbled across two rather surprising things. Firstly, to buy a replica of your winning award could cost up to $2400. Ouch.

The second striking point is how many winning entries had a strong element of OOH at its core. In particular those entries that were in the Media category had a strong focus on OOH. Whilst OOH strives to reach 10% of total media spend, it seems these days unless you have OOH in the media mix, you will struggle to create award winning work.

Let’s look at some facts to prove the point (excluding the Outdoor category):

INNOVATION GRAND PRIX WINNER – Megafon / Sochi Olympics (a huge bespoke moving billboard)

MEDIA GOLD WINNER – Magic of Flying / BA (Digital billboard that reacts to live flight data)

MEDIA GOLD WINNER – Luna Corona / Corona (A billboard that matches the pattern of the moon cycle)

MEDIA GOLD WINNER – Rainbow for the Nation / Coca Cola (A billboard that creates a rainbow)

MEDIA SILVER WINNER – The Social Swipe (A poster that accepts donations via card payments)

MEDIA SILVER WINNER – Fuck The Poor / The Pillon trust (Old school OOH – a guy in a sandwich board)

MEDIA SILVER WINNER – Transavia / Ebay (OOH was the core mechanic)

You start to get the picture. But just to push the point a little further:

  • 30% of winning entries for the Media category that won a Gold award used OOH.
  • 29% of winning entries for the Media category that won a Silver award used OOH.
  • 50% of the Innovation winners were OOH focused.

OOH delivers on the “feel good” factor. This is clear to see from the faces of those who witness and experience great OOH executions. Whilst the likes of Apple and Dre-Beats win plaudits for being the cool brands everyone strives to replicate, no-one activates exciting OOH better than Coca-Cola.

What is perhaps most telling from their entries is that OOH is weaved into the very DNA of their strategic construct – ‘sharing happiness’. Having strangers smile and celebrate the same cause is a very difficult goal to achieve, but through OOH, Coca-Cola nail it each and every time.   

And there is a lesson for other brands to follow through their example. OOH should not be the afterthought, a way to tick the KPI of ‘increase brand awareness’ and hope that other media delivers on KPI’s.

In all of the examples where OOH plays a pivotal role, it hits home the message hard whilst helping to amplify the Social element. 

Why OOH continues to take a back seat on overall media spend when it delivers such award winning material is a mystery. Perhaps clients really are put off by the $2,400 fee for a replica.  

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