In one of those rare crossovers into the mainstream, the media spent a lot of time last week discussing a terrifying 3D billboard for Netflix’s Resident Evil video game series. But what does this out-of-home (OOH) piece say about the direction the industry is headed? We asked five OOH experts from The Drum Network about what’s truly innovative in this space, what’s coming next, and how to use OOH to move forward.
Needless to say, 3D creative looks really cool. And pushing the boundaries of what the public expects from ads is a strong way to attract consumer attention. But I think the real question here is: what kind of care?
In online clips, many of the people you see pass by have little to no reaction to the escaping zombie. This suggests that the creative’s purpose was likely to go viral through social media, rather than being a high-performing OOH ad in its own right. While OOH certainly holds an influential place in the media mix, due to its ability to amplify the performance of other channels, this 3D creative perhaps demonstrates that less is often more.
Matt Garbutt, Creative Director, Brave Bison
It is striking, visceral and visual. It is not new; Several other famous names have made 3D billboards. What we’re seeing here is a crossover between immersive and ad-supported, which is a trend we should expect to continue. Many brands create experiences for their own events or at main events, but what happens when they place this type of provocative and immersive content in a public and passive environment? I guess it just leads to better brand awareness. Just look at the amplification it’s getting in the press.
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I won’t see Resident Evil as a result of seeing this ad, but I sure remember it, so in terms of brand recall, great brand.
I am worried that it will scare my little children too much? A little, so I want to think it was in rotation at night.
Guy Bradbury, Creative Partner, M&C Saatchi London
Forced perspective advertising has been around for a few years, and we’re starting to see brands leveraging technology to break the frame and use storytelling to captivate passersby. When done right, these unique shows encourage people to film and share the content.
Brands like Nike and Balenciaga have certainly had fans who do just that.
But I think people want to do more than just watch. They want to affect the outcome or feel involved in some way.
For me, special OOH builds have the opportunity to do much more, creating innovative encounters between brands and fans using technology.
The brilliant BA special construction (2013) encouraged people to look up, as BA’s flight data had a little boy chasing the plane at one of London’s most photographed poster sites.
the Xbox survival billboard (2016) created a sense of danger, inviting the audience to make it harder for the contestants by changing the weather via Twitch.
And of course, who can forget Carlsberg (2015), who encouraged people to line up around the block for ‘Probably the best pint in history.‘? Just brilliant.
To me, the best special build OOH campaigns encourage people to be a part of them in some way, not just watch. This allows people to get into the brand, instead of just projecting themselves to audiences.
Now, imagine if you could have controlled the Resident Evil cartel scare. How many more people would have engaged? Or imagine if when you interact with the poster, the character jumps to your phone screen? That would have been something to share.
Lynsey Rollinson, Media Director, Tipi Group
OOH it’s having a real moment right now and I’m here for it. It has a valuable role to play in any integrated media plan in both branding and performance metrics.
What’s great about these experimental OOH formats is their ability to create an experience for those lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to experience them in real life, in turn becoming user-generated content (UGC) that goes viral. , extending the reach across the Atlantic and beyond in this case. They can be intrusive in a way that other media can’t, or would at least see a backlash from those who experienced them.
The success of the Resident Evil piece comes from some sheer creativity that, as we’ve established, is downright terrifying. Some of the “best” uses of this format have had a certain level of scare factor, like Amazon’s Wheel of Time and Netflix’s Army of the Dead with the zombie tiger. Resident Evil and Army of the Dead are rated 18, and I would personally say that these ads should include an age rating as well.
We are certainly ready to see more of these formats. I would love to see them get the same amount of publicity, without giving my kids nightmares.
Katy Hindley, Group Innovation Director at Posterscope, part of Dentsu UK
OOH is a very exciting place to be right now for both brands and audiences. Technological advances like these 3D anamorphic screens are allowing the industry to apply new ideas to storytelling in between to create those ‘wow’ moments. But technology is simply an enabler. It’s creativity that delivers the experience, drives fame, captures attention, and turns that attention into action beyond the physical screen.
What we are seeing in OOH is a medium that is now being used to create ‘theater’ in a way that used to remain solely in the realms of television or film. This medium is being used to generate social capital and those ‘fresher water’ moments.
The future in OOH is the child of creativity and technology, interactivity and unlimited creative possibilities. From 3D volumetric displays, which will serve as a new communication and streaming tool, to mid-air haptic technology, which allows consumers to interact with displays with gestures alone, a blend of the physical and the virtual ensures that OOH Now it should be seen as a new ‘screen’ in the marketing ecosystem.