The 4 Technologies That Helped Give Outdoor Advertising a Face Lift


A proliferation of affordably produced technologies that have become widely available on the market in recent years are responsible in part for this this evolution in modern outdoor advertising practices.
New, thoughtfully planned and executed outdoor advertising campaigns are leveraging an array of technologies to level the playing field, where they once fell short in comparison to their online counterparts.
Some of these technologies being deployed in contemporary outdoor advertising campaigns include cameras equipped to recognize faces, gestures, and even genders. RFID, Bluetooth, GPS, and WIFI are making it possible to target individuals in a specific area, or offer augmented reality scenarios.
Image by:Amit Gupta
Because of this, offline campaigns can now gather just as much quantifiable data, or provide the same level of interactivity as online ad campaigns.

Bus shelters, benches, and billboards are now even more functional spaces to carry out interactive outdoor advertising campaigns on captive audiences all over the world.
Here are a few of our favourite applications of technology in effective outdoor advertising implemented by our exhibition stand contractor and advertiser;
Facial Recognition
One reason advertisers typically prefer online advertising over offline advertising is that there is usually more information available about the participants in a given engagement.
However, with facial recognition in offline advertising, advertisers are able to disseminate the gender, mood, movements, or physical attributes of those they are engaging. This can provide opportunities for customized advertising experiences, much the way an online advert can.
And this is just what Plan UK did for its “Because I’m a Girl” campaign. The information provided by this interactive outdoor advertisement varies based on the gender of the person engaging with it.
Geo-Fencing has come a long way over the years. The technology has already revolutionised the supply chain by allowing companies to track everything from goods, drivers, and assets across geographically defined zones, and now it’s helping them track customers, too.
Using one or more of the tools in your smartphone’s arsenal, geo-fencing can allow advertisers to establish “hot zones”, or track customer movements in-store and in the street. Real-world “cookies” can be applied to your advertising profile; places of interest, previously visited shopping outlets, and behavioural patterns can be considered on-the-fly when serving outdoor advertising.
Geo-fencing is typically facilitated with an optional smartphone app download, as to not creep people out. Most commonly, advertisers looking to harness the potential of geo-fencing will present a promotion or coupon to a prospective customer at the right place, and at the right time.
That’s just what Starbucks has done with their mobile application which is available across every popular mobile platform. When users are in the neighbourhood of a Starbucks (and it’s hard not to be!), the cafe mega-chain has the ability to send a coupon, or a friendly reminder that they’re “right around the corner”.
Augmented Reality
Augmented reality campaigns vary in execution based on hardware requirements and the level of engagement required. In addition to visual stimulation, some campaigns push the envelope with additional audio stimulation, scents, and even actors.
An augmented reality campaign that requires a smartphone app will need a stronger hook to engage a user, whereas using pre-existing outdoor advertising infrastructure can make it much more consumable and less invasive.
This effectively engaging augmented reality example from Pepsi is executed like a boss: Londoners waiting for a lift on New Oxford Street in March 2014 were treated to a number of extraordinary scenes via a carefully placed LCD screen.
You can watch the video here:
Contextual Product Placement
And of course, the technology which underpins strikingly relevant outdoor advertising campaigns need not always be powered by silicon and LCD screens –sometimes the best way to have a remarkable presence outdoors (and offline) is simply to provide value at the right time, and the right place.
A thoughtful approach to the environment enveloping an outdoor advertising medium can make low-budget campaigns remarkable, with big-budget results.
In this example, Pedigree brand dog food commandeered a bus shelter near a dog park and offered free poop bags for dog walkers. The ad copy stated “Help keep your dog regular”, and combined tongue-in-cheek humour with contextually relevant value.
There are millions of examples out there right now –which are your favourites? Let us know in the comments.


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