The gap between static, old-school billboard advertising and modern day digital signage campaigns is more of a chasm. The former merges into the background of everyday life, while digital signage is active, vibrant and stands out from the crowd.
Yet with the explosion of digital signage and large format digital advertising in public spaces and retail environments across the world, you can’t rely on technology alone. It still takes inspirational creative content to capture audiences’ attention.
Global advertising agencies have quickly moved into content creation for digital signage, and in recent years have produced some memorable, award-winning campaigns.
Here we pick five of the most inspiring digital signage campaigns, and examine what makes them so effective at capturing audiences and sharing a brand message.
1. Reframing the scene
Landrover’s Hibernot campaign is designed to encourage the public to ‘see winter differently’ – and by using large format digital displays it does precisely that.
Creative agency Mindshare enlisted the production talents of DOOH.com and Kinetic Active to overlay Instagram-esque filters onto the scenes where each digital screen is located.
Eight separate filters were created, each specific to a time of day. Scenes including London Waterloo and the Northern Lights building in Leeds received the uplifting treatment.
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2. Augmenting reality
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can’t have missed the mind-blowing Pepsi Max bus stop campaign produced by ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.
By turning what appeared to be a regular Oxford Street bus shelter in to a fake window, the digital display convinced members of the public that scene outside was being invaded by flying saucers; stalked by tigers; and attacked by laser-beam shooting aliens.
The digital display board was transformed to show a live feed of the road outside – so regular traffic and pedestrians continued past the scene – but augmented with the footage produced by creative studio Grand Visual.
3. Targeting movement
Swedish creative agency Akestam Holst – together with production company Stopp – melded the real and virtual worlds quite brilliantly in its subway campaign for Apolosophy haircare products.
The digital signage boards were programmed to trigger when a train approached the platform, blowing the previously static model’s hair as though windswept by the movement of the train. As digital signage campaigns go, it works wonderfully — a blend of subtlety and wonder.
4. Timing is everything
London agency OgilvyOne was crowned Cannes Lion Grand Prix winner and shortlisted for the DMA awards with this inspiring piece of creative execution on behalf of BA for its Look Up campaign.
The agency created the world’s first billboards that reacted to BA planes flying overhead, by using a special antenna to read every aircraft’s transponder data within 200km.
The ads displayed real flight data: the flight number and where the plane was flying from, together with dynamic retail messaging that matched each route. People were driven to the Look Up site where they could find out more about the poster and explore the destinations and even weather reports – and ultimately book a flight.
5. Quantity over quality
When Netflix launched in France, creative agency Ogilvy Paris decided to downgrade in order to capture public attention.
With audiences used to video advertising and full HD quality on digital signage and displays, the agency created a series of 100 rudimentary GIFs that really stood out next to regular video campaigns.
The juddery, looped GIFs showed some of the most recognisable moments from Netflix TV shows and films – from Fargo to Breaking Bad – and put a little bit of the Internet onto the street.
There you have it. Five inspiring digital signage campaigns that show just what is possible when a creative brain takes full advantage of the latest technology. We can’t wait to see what advertisers come up with next.
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