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OOH in Mass Media

The out-of-home (OOH) industry has a long history, dating back all the way back to the 1800s, so it’s not surprising that OOH ads are seemingly everywhere, including in media and popular culture. 

With an abundance of TV shows, movies, and even books out in the world, it’s reasonable to expect to see formats such as billboards, digital kiosks, and even gas pumps or in-store TV ads pop up in popular media. 

One prominent example of OOH in media is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri—in this 2017 film, a mother books three billboards near her small town in hopes of pushing the local police department to continue investigating her daughter’s murder. This movie is a bit of an outlier in terms of OOH representation in that the billboards themselves are a major plot point as opposed to being a more minor occurrence, or even just making an appearance. 

For example, most instances of OOH being featured in mass media are more subtle—they’re typically featured in the background or used to enhance a setting, like this display of digital billboards in Glee that help capture the aesthetics of Times Square in New York. 

Another impressive example of out-of-home being featured aesthetically in media is in the Japanese anime film Ghost in the Shell (1995), which has an abundance of incredible shots featuring stunning cityscapes which are abundant with OOH signage. 

Other Japanese anime feature billboards in their more traditional forms, like this downtown area of Ganymede in Cowboy Bebop, or, in the My Hero Academia universe, Esuha City

And while this is just a small scrape on the surface, OOH is surprisingly apparent in popular culture, and regardless of how it makes an appearance in mass media, we’re always excited to see it in the wild. 

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