Does Outdoor Advertising Work?

Anyone who’s been to London, New York, Tokyo or any other major city will have seen a vast number of outdoor advertising hoardings on buildings, buses, digital displays, in taxis, on the train…everywhere, really. This is called Out of Home (OOH) advertising, or in the case of digital, Digital OOH (DOOH).

It may be everywhere and, for some, it’s an essential part of campaigns- particularly in the retail and FMCG sectors. So we ask the question: does outdoor advertising actually work?

On the whole, advertising spend is up year on year and steadily increasing. It’s a cornerstone of the UK economy, in fact, generating £14bn of revenue. OOH plays a significant part in generating this revenue, accounting for nearly £1 billion of the total.

Clearly, marketers are investing heavily in outdoor advertising. And it’s paying off: FMCG brands reported an average of £1.25 in sales for every £1.00 spent on OOH; retail saw ever bigger returns, with £3.57 of sales for every pound spent. When looking at overall campaigns, despite TV advertising having a higher proportion of the total mix, the return on investment from OOH was higher than TV when production costs are factored in.

The effectiveness of OOH doesn’t stop there. Extensive research indicates that increasing the share of total advertising spend towards outdoor boosts the return on investment for other main media- in particular, print, direct mail and radio are enhanced significantly when combined with an outdoor element of campaign.

Perhaps the reason why OOH is so effective is the unique ways in which it can reach people. When thinking of outdoor advertising, billboards and buses spring immediately to mind, but if you delve deeper into your memory you’ll probably be able to recall seeing advertising at the side of a motorway, plastered on phone boxes, all over shopping centres, even on petrol pumps! There is constant innovation in the outdoor arena too: recent developments including the use of painted turf and the use of warehouse roofs on major flight paths. Clever stuff, without a doubt.

Perhaps one of the big rivals for OOH advertisers is the online arena. Online advertising, in 2015, will account for almost 25% of the entire ad market. Whilst OOH is effective alone, increasingly outdoor campaigns are supported by online channel marketing: as we said above, OOH enhances other channels of the campaign mainly through reinforcing the message- after, all as all marketers know (according to the old adage), a consumer needs to see a message seven times before it hits home!

But any great campaign needs great marketers behind it. It’s easy to disregard the creative work that has gone into the adverts you see: after all, the message you’ve received was thought up by another human being, desperate to connect you with the brand they represent, and the colourful, clever design was painstakingly laboured over by a talented designer. Copy, imagery, colours and all the elements you can see (and the subconscious intentions of the campaign also) are, after all, the brainchild of real people.


Campaigns should be formulated within the context of your brand and the personas you seek to target or it is likely they will fail. Smart marketing is less about gimmicks and clever tricks and is more about the sophistication of your messages and the emotions they trigger. Powerful, emotive content (stuff that makes people laugh, sigh, smile or cry!) is what allows people to truly connect with your brand and subsequently become customers, or remain as loyal customers.

Why do we say this? Well, of course, Umbrella Marketing TEAM is made up of a blended mix of professional marketers, all of whom have experience in creating, executing and driving advertising campaigns within the context of their organisation and brand.

Here at Umbrella Marketing TEAM we offer a fresh approach to resourcing in marketing and digital services.

We differ from using an agency because we become an extension of your team and employ appropriate resources – so you don’t have those overheads, recruitment hassles or career development challenges. We are your company’s extended marketing department but at a managed cost.

Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you develop your brand, execute your campaigns and sustain your business with credible leads that turn into real revenue, impacting on your bottom line.


Images: CollegeHumor.com; British Heart Foundation.


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