All posts in Billboards

Eco-Friendly OOH Takes Over the Arena District

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If you were anywhere in Columbus’ Arena District today, it would have been impossible to miss. Parked right on Nationwide Blvd in the heart of the district (and conveniently across the street from DOmedia World Headquarters) is a huge GE: ecomagination semi truck carrying a larger-than-life propeller from a wind turbine. The truck and propeller are part of ecomagination, GE’s effort to help “solve the world’s biggest environmental challenges,” according to their site. One of the program’s commitments is to engage the public through creative advertising. So they got their hands on a giant wind propeller, branded it, and are now taking it on the road as part of the “Catch the Wind Tour.”
GE: ecomagination
Aside from its sheer size, the traveling campaign is raising awareness in the mid-west by encouraging people to make a commitment of their own. Written on the side of the propeller is a simple sentence: “I’m helping to build America’s energy future.” By signing their name on the propeller, passersby join the thousands of others already committed to the cause.
GE wasn’t the only company taking advantage of the busy pedestrian superhighway on this gorgeous Friday. Toyota was also in attendance, complete with a wrapped plug-in hybrid car touting an amazing 100+ mpg.
And I can’t forget CD101, parked in front of the arena, handing out free ice cream (now we’re talking)! The picture below shows the Arena District is no stranger to OOH. The four large billboards continuously spotlight the biggest brands, while the main digital screen is a great resource for weather, upcoming concerts at the arena, and much more. And, of course, the reliable Miller Lite clock off to the right.

Pelotonia Bike Tour: Fundraising Meets Out-of-Home

Pelotonia Logo

This summer marks the beginning of an exciting & life-changing annual fundraiser here in Columbus, Ohio. Pelotonia, founded and funded by NetJets, is the grass roots bike tour raising money for cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. In fact, 100% of funds raised go directly to cancer research at The James!

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So what does this have to do with out-of-home advertising? In a (successful) attempt to get its message out to the community, Pelotonia literally dominated the out-of-home industry here in Columbus using media ranging from empty storefront ads and floor graphics to street furniture and digital signage. Ads were placed along busy highways, around the Ohio State University campus area (home to thousands of students & businesses), and the Arena District (home to many young — and young-at-heart — professionals and businesses, not to mention our Columbus Clippers baseball team & Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team).

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The most impressive of all, perhaps, is the domination of the Columbus airport by Pelotonia & The James. The images below explain the campaign’s effectiveness better than words. Quality, quantity and, most of all, creativity made this effort impossible to miss.

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The bike tour takes place this weekend, consisting of four routes spanning 25, 50, 100 and 180 miles. Over 2,100 people have committed to riding–including Lance Armstrong!


If you’re interested in contributing, please check out our DOmedia peloton where you can donate to our ride up until October 31st. Every donation helps!

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Traditional vs Alternative OOH: You Decide


As many already know, this week marks the 56th Annual Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, the largest competition for advertising creativity in the world. And new this year: judges are focusing more on actual business results of the entries instead of relying on creativity alone.

This week, a trend revealed itself among the Outdoor Lions winners, a trend that appears to represent the out-of-home industry as a whole. In past years, traditional out-of-home–such as billboards and street furniture–has dominated the winner’s pedestal. But the times are changing.

Out-of-home advertising used to refer mainly to one type: traditional forms. But that’s before the introduction of digital screens and internet access for the masses. If this year’s Outdoor Lions revealed anything, it’s that out-of-home isn’t what it used to be. What was once limited to a static, one-way message is continuously evolving into an interactive experience that not only targets an audience, but involves them as well.snapshot-2009-06-26-13-01-23.jpg

The Outdoor Grand Prix runner-up (that only lost by 1 vote), the “Dig Out Your Soul” campaign promoting Oasis’ new CD, included street musicians performing some of the album’s unreleased tracks in the subway stations of NYC. It was creative, innovative, and got people’s attention. By utilizing the outdoor space like they did, the campaign grew exponentially when passersby began taking pictures and videos, later posting them on the internet and sharing them with friends and family.


Another interesting entry was HBO’s Big Love interactive billboard which won a Gold Lion. According to the entry’s presentation board,

“Everyone has something to hide. HBO’s show Big Love is about a large polygamous family leading complex lives full of deception and lies. To promote it, we developed interactive audio billboards featuring everyday people (not characters from the show) with jacks built into their heads. You could use your headphones (or ones handed out by our street teams) to plug in and hear their secret thoughts. These ranged from alcoholism to gambling addiction to an overweight man who wears a slimming girdle to a woman who secretly hates her baby and what it’s done to her life. The boards also featured a jack by the logo with a promo of the clips from the new season.”

What used to be an industry centered around billboards with one-way messaging has now become one in which limitations have all but dissolved. This year’s Cannes Lions winners & runners-up redefine out-of-home as we know it by developing innovative campaigns capable of interacting with consumers.

Out-of-Home: The Art of the Ad Industry

Thanks, in part, to the introduction of digital signage capabilities, today’s billboards are not only more visually appealing, but consumers are now able to interact with them in a way that wasn’t possible before.

And it isn’t going unnoticed. In response, Ad Age recently introduced the first annual Art of Outdoor special report which highlights the most creative out-of-home campaigns from around the world. The report brings a whole new light to the industry, looking at OOH as artistic innovation capable of engaging mass audiences with a simple, well-chosen message & corresponding image. Simple, but effective.
Check out the recent Ad Age article, “Celebrating the Renaissance of Out-of-Home Advertising,” which includes a slide show of their top choice campaigns. I just love the Chevy Volt Concept car ad . . . talk about the “big picture.” It’s a perfect example of using a simple message and powerful image to get a point across.


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2009 OBIE Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to all of the recently-named OBIE Award winners, merit winners, and finalists!  This year’s participants all showed a great deal of creativity in the out-of-home space, but a few of them in particular caught my eye.

McDonald’s had a strong advertising campaign, winning two separate awards for both their “Always Fresh Coffee” and “Fresh Daily Eggs” billboards.  The first of the two shown high above Time’s Square, a spout continuously pouring fresh coffee into a cup several stories below (I wonder where all the coffee goes after making its big NYC debut . . . ).  The second involved a large egg that cracked open at 6:00 a.m.–when they begin serving breakfast–to reveal an over-easy egg, but closed again at 11:00 a.m. when breakfast ends. Between the two billboards, Leo Burnett Chicago took home two “Individual Execution- Traditional Billboard” awards as well as recognition for their Special F/X.



Another interesting use of out-of-home came from BBDO New York & Proximity Canada for Gillette Fusion Power, which took home the OBIE Award for “Individual Execution- Street Furniture / Transit / Alternative.”  As seen in the pic below, the agencies made creative use of a zamboni by attaching a larger-than-life Gillette razor to the back of it as it swept across the ice.gillette.jpg

One of the more interactive campaigns came from Leo Burnett Toronto for James Ready Beer who vows to try to keep their prices at $1 a beer.  To do so, they needed to lower billboard costs and decided to look to their consumers for help.  By offering up their billboards, consumers became “celebrities for the day” by sending in pictures to be posted on the giant signs.  Underneath the images read, “Thanks ____ for keeping J.R. a Buck.”  Consumers and judges alike loved the campaign, awarding them “Best of Show” and “International.”  Click here to see the YouTube video.jamesready.jpg

All of this year’s award winners show that creativity and innovation in the out-of-home advertising industry are still on the rise.  To find more information on the rest of this year’s OBIE Award winners, go to the OAAA website at