Out of Home Advertising Goes Old-School with Hand Paints


Candice Simons, CEO, Brooklyn Outdoor

2017 is poised to be a big year for marketers and advertisers alike as budgets and digital initiatives continue to skyrocket. In fact, marketers are already on pace to outspend IT departments this year on digital and technology initiatives. Just as we see companies place the impetus on digital spend, we’re also seeing brands aim for maximum exposure to hyper-local audiences through a variety of creative, non-digital means. Two of those creative initiatives include out-of-home (OOH) advertising with a digital twist and old-school, hand-painted advertisements. Let’s take a closer look at each and their impact on local audiences.

OOH Advertising in a Digital World

Today’s on-demand economy has created a breed of consumers primed for maximum exposure via outdoor advertising. The travel habits of today’s plugged-in, always-moving consumer exposes them to a great deal of OOH advertising, including billboards, taxis, digital signage and more. Statistically speaking, over 90 percent of Americans above the age of 16 who have traveled in a vehicle in the past month noticed outdoor advertising in their travels (per a recent Nielsen study).

Given these figures, marketers and advertisers are carefully constructing new ways to reach these audiences with OOH efforts that illicit digital engagement. Marketers can now create compelling OOH displays that keep mobile devices in mind, leave lasting impressions on consumers and encourage action. According to that same study, 14 percent of consumers snapchat photos of brands they view in OOH, 35 percent use their mobile devices for an online search of the advertiser and 15 percent download the advertiser’s mobile app (if applicable) onto their phone.

OOH Gets Crafty with Hand Paints

To capture an audience’s attention for maximum exposure and digital engagement, marketing and advertising teams are turning to ultra-creative, hand-painted advertisements.

Hand paints are a “new” art form being embraced by the outdoor advertising industry. The “long-lost” medium originated in the early 20th century and slowly declined with the implementation of graphic design. Fast forward to 2017 and hand paints are quickly gaining popularity with major brands. Not only do hand paints create a more beautiful city landscape than traditional billboards or OOH advertising, they also provide national brands with exposure on a hyper-local level.

The Impact of Hand Paints and OOH on Local Communities

So, how do OOH, hand-painted advertisements impact communities on a local level? When used correctly, the power of OOH advertising can be exponentially positive.

In Detroit, for example, Chevy activated wallscapes throughout the city with hand-painted ads. The advertisements were painted by local artists and placed in a high traffic areas. In fact, the installation process was advantageous for capturing the attention of local street traffic as pedestrians walked by and inquired about the artist and artwork being completed – a win-win for both the painter and Chevy.

We expect to see more big brands leverage hand paints to connect with local audiences. In addition to Chevy, Netflix has engaged with the Detroit community via a hand-paint campaign to advertise the fifth season of Orange is the New Black. Not only did the artwork boost the aesthetic of a previously underutilized wall, but the series also promoted the local artist and helped boost social engagement of the advertisements amongst local passers-by.

The Best of Both Worlds: Blending Digital with Hand Paints

There’s no doubt that digital spend will continue to rise in 2017. However, marketers and advertisers should keep in mind that a mix of old-school, non-digital tactics – such as hand-painted ads and digital activations via social media – can be the key to success amongst today’s on-demand consumers. Brands should consider how to appeal to local audiences via outdoor advertising with creative tactics like hand paints to make a positive impact on the local community and complement ongoing digital initiatives.

About the Author: Candice Simons is the CEO and Founder of Brooklyn Outdoor, a regional and national force in the outdoor advertising industry, with satellite offices and full-time sales representatives in Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles. Brooklyn Outdoor is the only major outdoor advertising firm headquartered in Detroit. Simons was recently named one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ “40 under 40,” and is the founder of Detroit lifestyle blog, “j’adore Detroit.”

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