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Out of home

Out-of-home ads create urgency for emotional luxury purchases

June 4, 2012


Out-of-home advertisements can add to a luxury marketer’s multichannel campaign by connecting with consumers' emotions with intense brand imagery during the majority of the time they spend on-the-go during waking hours.

In combination with print, digital and mobile, out-of-home ads give a multichannel campaign a better chance of not only reaching the target customer, but aspirationals who will buy into the brand as well. Displaying simple, creative imagery on mass transit, airports, major hotel strips and buildings will help luxury brands raise awareness and make a memorable experience for potential consumers.

“Out-of-home ads reach all types of consumers, including luxury consumers and people who covet high-end products,” said Brad Porter, CEO of B.E. Porter, Beverly Hills, CA.

“The placement of an out-of-home ad will be a factor in who sees it and the quality of an out-of-home ad will be a factor in the impression it gives about a product," he said.

“By using out-of-home ads as part of a multichannel marketing campaign for a luxury brand, more people will see the ads because they are eye-catching by being large and visual, and are viewable by being put on the path of people’s routes of travel and in locations where they may visit or linger.”

Where to?
Out-of-home ads reach consumers during the 70 percent of their waking hours that they spend away from home, per Nicole Hayes, communications director of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Washington.

Formats that surround and immerse hard-to-reach consumers are beneficial to a multichannel campaign.

“When included in a media package and designed to meet a campaign objective, out-of-home ads are cost-effective and increase the overall effectiveness of the entire campaign,” Ms. Hayes said.

“A recent study found that when a high proportion of out-of-home media is employed in a media mix, campaign effectiveness increases,” she said. “When used in combination with other media, out-of-home extends the reach of a campaign and reinforces the intended message.”

Gucci billboard in Los Angeles 

Luxury brands should position out-of-home ads based on the type of consumer they are targeting.

A brand marketing a global product may want to place out-of-home ads in airports and other tourist-heavy venues, per B.E. Porter’s Mr. Porter.

Billboard ads on the roads to, from and near luxury hotels in resort areas are likely to reach affluent travelers.

Aside from travel, large cities are the home to many out-of-home ads.

Luxury advertisers should consider mass-transit advertising in places such as bus shelters, sides of buses, tops of taxis and vehicle wraps. These ads can be seen from the street as well as from the windows of city buildings.

In fact, British label Burberry recently placed ads on digital billboards in Grand Central Terminal, New York, to target commuters during rush hours (see story).

Burberry digital ad in Grand Central Terminal, New York 

Building wraps provide a prominent advertising spot for luxury advertisers if it is decided that a large-scale display fits with a brand image. These ads get attention from many locals as well as press coverage offline and online, per Mr. Porter.

Out-of-home ads at the right place at the right time can inspire consumers from all walks of life to make a luxury purchase.

“People like to splurge on their daily Starbucks, buy their dream cars and everything in between,” Mr. Porter said. “Having your luxury brand advertised where it will be seen by the most people is an ideal way to create brand recognition and a got-to-have it desire.

“Since out-of-home ads are very visual and placed in prominent locations where many people will see them, they certainly accomplish that,” he said.

Out-of-home ambiance
Out-of-home advertising is an opportunity to focus on the emotional bond between the brand and the consumer in a very impactful way, per Karen Kreamer, president of K2 Brand Consulting, Overland Park, KS.

Simplicity and clarity are essential to all out-of-home advertising, which makes it a well-suited channel for a luxury marketers.

Luxury brands should use billboards and other out-of-home ad channels to share focused messaging and expressive imagery that will make a lasting impression on those viewing.

Working with the constraints of out-of-home advertising can be a challenge for luxury brands, but as long as they use creative means to maximize the visual impact of the space available, the end result can be memorable.

Ultimately, luxury marketers should work to find a balance in out-of-home ads that keeps their brand image and campaign intact.

“It is important to remember that out-of-home placements should support, not dominate, a broader advertising campaign,” Ms. Kreamer said. “While the wide reach of out-of-home advertising is appealing to many advertisers, there is a potential risk if out-of-home ads become ubiquitous.

“Striking the right balance is critical to the overall media strategy,” she said. “out-of-home placements should advance the brand’s luxury profile, not detract from it.

“Despite a growing number of traditional and online media options, a broad-based advertising campaign is still the best way to influence, inform and connect with a brand’s target audience.”

As with all other advertising channels, luxury advertisers should be sure that the quality of an out-of-home ad reflects the brand, per B.E. Porter’s Mr. Porter.

High-quality images, printing and materials that will withstand the elements and harsh sunlight are vital to luxury out-of-home ads.

“People who purchase luxury products want to feel good about their purchase, stand apart from others and have others recognize the quality and value of what they own,” Mr. Porter said.

“Out-of-home ads reach large number of people, creating brand exposure and brand recognition, but they also must convey a brand’s value,” he said. “It is essential for a luxury brand to have a high-end ad as well.”

“As with anything associated with a luxury brand, out-of-home ad quality needs to be consistent with the brand quality.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York