Twitter and outdoor advertising push the boundaries in latest campaigns

By Gordon Macmillan

More and more we’re seeing brands push the boundaries between digital outdoor of home (OOH) advertising and Twitter. It showcases how the two can be used together to drive deeper engagement and greater interaction.

Pepsi Max illustrates this trend with its new #LiveForNow campaign, which features user generated Vine videos in its digital OOH advertising. With #LiveForNow @PepsiMaxUK is asking users to submit their Vine videos for a chance to be featured on a digital Max billboard.

This effort points to an evolution in how brands are incorporating Twitter into their OOH campaigns, from the inclusion of a hashtag in the past to a more integrated and dynamic call to action.

Pepsi is using Vine videos not only to refresh its billboards with new content, but also to continue the conversation started with consumers online.

The campaign highlights how Twitter helps open up the hyperlocal nature of OOH to the wider world. A billboard located in London or Birmingham can become instantly accessible to anyone in the UK via Twitter and a hashtag. This approach fosters an ongoing conversation between brands and consumers, as Tweets containing photos or video are shared back and forth on screen.

It’s also recognition that 80% of Twitter mobile users access the platform on the move and they see OOH ads wherever they go.

Shea Warnes (@SheaWarnes), social strategist at Bartle Bogle Hegarty (@bbhlondon), says this trend is helping bring people closer to the moment. He points to another recent example — Nike and its Shout campaign.

“Twitter and OOH presents a great opportunity to bring fans closer to the moment whether it is an event or a competition. Nike Shout for instance used a pitch-side digital display allowing a fan to tweet a message of support to the players. It makes an audience feel more connected and offers an interesting way to surface and celebrate positive conversations about your brand on an outdoor display,” says Warnes.

Similarly, Nokia recently launched a campaign to create awareness and drive engagement around the photographic capabilities of its 1020 smartphone by combining OOH and Twitter. To do so, it launched a digital version of the classic game I spy, which it styled #iSpy.

The @Nokia campaign used Ocean Outdoor’s (@OceanOutdoorUK) network of digital outdoor screens, including the full-motion digital Eat Street screen at London’s Westfield Centre (@westfieldlondon), where select Tweets and clues were featured. Players were invited to use their mobile phones to guess the names of a series of notable landmarks and sites featured on the full motion screen.

 As with @PepsiMaxUK the campaign featured a strong call to action and constantly refreshed content.

That was something we saw again in December when @BT_UK used London’s landmark BT Tower to display Tweets, offering Twitter users the chance to have their 140 character creations featured on the tower’s digital screen. Users simply had to tweet @BT_UK using the hashtag #TweetsOnTheTower. The telecoms firm then lit up BT Tower with user messages and captured the moment using Vine.

 More recently, we’ve also seen this trend in the U.S. Deodorant brand @Axe (@lynxeffect in the UK) has been running a campaign with a beautifully simple idea at its heart: #KissForPeace.

@Axe asked Twitter users to submit their picture of a kiss for the chance to have it featured on a billboard in Times Square in New York. This simple and effective call to action resulted in a billboard with a stream of fresh content.

 It’s activity like this that highlights how brands can constantly update their outdoor ads when combining with Twitter, according to Warnes: “It means brands can constantly update the content and conversation with new Tweets to keep the advertising refreshing and interesting.”

He suggests that Twitter and OOH could take this to another level by featuring Tweets of recommendation being displayed outside theaters, cinemas and restaurants.

That’s something we have already started to see as film studios and theatre companies begin to incorporate reviews from fans on Twitter into their advertising. Look at Book of Mormon and its use of user reviews as an example. Expect to see many more such examples.