While the shift in marketing budgets from traditional media to digital has generally represented a loss for the former, out-of-home advertising has been one "traditional" medium that’s grown—creatively and to some extent financially—along with digital. Now that the digital ad world is evolving further, with emphasis shifting from the web to mobile (see: Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram), the outdoor space has become an even richer creative landscape for brands.
Of course outdoor has always provided a giant creative canvas, and some of the ad industry’s highest profile campaigns over the last several years have revolved around innovative uses of what we had always known as the poster (see the 2009 Trillion Dollar Campaign for The Zimbabwean Newspaper that turned worthless bank notes into posters and global awareness).
But the out-of-home category has exploded in the last few years with the growing sophistication of digital technologies, especially mobile, social, and location-based apps. Outdoor is where the rubber of digital meets the road, of, well, the road—outdoor ads bring digital to the streets.
In July 2011, out-of-home agency Kinetic Worldwide released a global digital out-of-home study that suggested that "with the rise of smartphones and tablets, mobile consumers have an increased appetite for engagement and interactivity with digital out-of-home."
Here we survey some creative, useful, and even tasty displays of interactive outdoor marketing. Click through the slide show above to see some of the most notable out-of-home campaigns in the categories of geofencing, augmented reality, social media, mobile, utility—even smell!