With Ad Blockers being used more and more often on computers, and companies like Netflix not carrying any advertising at all the battle to get people to look at outdoor advertising is more competitive than ever. So until that episode of Black Mirror comes true and we can actually block what our eyeballs can see in everyday life, perhaps the battle today is not for the future of advertising but for the present.
It’s still incredibly hard to avoid outdoor advertising. Walk down any busy street where there is a lot of traffic and advertising is everywhere. Even if a bus is blocking your advert, there’s more than likely another advert on the side of the bus.
There are many different types of outdoor advertising, all of which can be bought or hired:
We’ve all see these lorries hauling around huge double-sided images, as they have been around for a while now. They used to be exclusively static images but we’re now seeing more and more video.
Every city centre now features plenty of these, giving us all a feel of living in the actual Los Angeles of Blade Runner. Digital billboards can be ultra-widescreen and high definition, so even people close-up can view them. Of course, they can also be seen at night.
Any town or city centre always has plenty of taxis bombing around, and the amount they can be customised to suit advertisers’ needs has advanced greatly over recent years. You can have your logo on the side of a cab but you could also completely change the colour scheme of the cab so that the whole of the outside is an advert. Black cabs don’t need to be black after all. Some taxis can even carry digital screens on their roofs.
Just as black cabs don’t need to be black, so the classic red bus doesn’t need to be red. Buses can be liveried in a broad range of designs and most tailor the design to the shape of the buses, cleverly moulding the design to include the windows of the bus, especially the double-decker variety.
Naturally, most outdoor advertising is targeted at where they’re going to be seen by most people. Advertising used to be very popular alongside busy motorways until it was proven that particularly distracting adverts caused accidents.
Most advertisers will agree that they want their audience to be distracted, so in order to not be responsible for quite so many accidents, they tend to concentrate their locations where the most people will see it over a given time: town and city centres.
Most town and city centres cater to two types of people which can broadly be slotted into two distinct categories: day and night.
Day town and city centre visitors are mostly shoppers, but they can also include tourists and families on day outs. The advertisers aiming for these people could be family-friendly products such as baby products, school items such as stationery, clothes and toys. It’s highly likely that these customers will be going home once the shops are shut, so these potential customers could be interested in activities they perform once they get home, so these advertisers could also be television and streaming services, games and takeaways.
People visiting town and city centres at night are usually visiting bars and clubs, going to the theatre, watching the latest films at picture houses, or going out for meals. Advertisers for these people would be promoters of alcohol, fine dining and the latest plays and films. It’s highly likely these people would have avoided walking around town during the day, most likely because they’re at school or work, so they might be interested in things could do during their time off, such as holidays.
In a world where people are more and more actively avoiding adverts, Outdoor Advertising is one of the few areas where advertisers can rely on their product being seen by a lot of people. It may not have the potential reach of television, radio or print but when someone assures you it will be seen by a set number of people, you can be sure it will.