New approach to digital outdoor advertising for transnational companies

Chief editor - Vladimir Krylov

In the modern dynamic world even large and well-known companies have to stand on their toes to stay ahead of competition. They need to constantly address the question of how to:

  • strategically position the company as a leader in the field;
  • attract public attention but not just stay in the background;
  • stay in the news with advanced projects, ideas, novelty products;
  • advertise its trading and service outlets, centers and offices.

To do this companies allocate huge advertising budgets that are spent on outdoor advertising, newspaper and TV commercials and advertising campaigns. However it was always easier to spend than to earn. What if there appears an advertising informational technology that not only helps to promote the company and its services but actually offers a way to return the investment and earn additional resources from other clients!

This is the direction that the advertising technologies are taking now. For over 20 years developers and engineers have been working on a universal media that would help generate more business and attract more money. The first to implement the idea were the hotel and entertainment complexes in North America. They started using digital outdoor advertising: composite outdoor signs on the basis of electronic screens.

By installing an expensive new technological “toy”, some hotels and entertainment centers managed to single out themselves from a long line of competitors and attract public attention by informing potential clients about all events taking place inside: special prizes in casinos, scheduling of feature films, performance of rock groups, new additions to the chef menu, exhibitions and presentations. The result was easily predictable: the forward-looking entertainment and hotel chains managed to sharply increase their profit level.

Large electronic screen in digital outdoor advertising Large electronic screen in digital outdoor advertising
Large electronic screens in digital outdoor advertising

Technologically, some Korean and Japanese firms were ahead. However the most effective was the network approach. Initially network principle was used to promote Gold Star and LG brands. Coca-Cola, Reebok and Marlboro were quick to follow the example.

In all these cases, companies arranged to install large outdoor installations (neon signs, banners, tri-vision devices) at busy city intersections. The network approach obviously helped cover broader audiences, but it had some clear disadvantages as well.

  1. Most importantly, none of these signs or installations could be changed or updated easily. Present day advertising must easily adapt to the ever-changing conditions. The bureaucratic procedure of getting permissions for advertising spots is very complex and takes significant time. By the moment when all preparatory work has been done and the installation manufactured, the situation may demand some different approach. For example, when LG replaced Gold Star brand, it caused tremendous expenses for replacing outdated neon signs and other outdoor installations. Millions of dollars were spent on changing the advertising installations when Chrysler and Mercedes merged.
  2. All such advertising installations are dynamically limited and primitive. Even at night time when illumination makes the best of advertising signs, people quickly get used to unchanging images over their heads and stop noticing them. This never happens with the dynamic advertising that attracts attention even when people know what’s going to happen by heart.
  3. Neon network installations and signs are static and not bright. They remain just another image among thousands of similar advertisements, especially during daytime.

Today advertisers have a new technology at their disposal that has no such deficiencies. We are talking about using large electronic screens (displays) instead of neon installations: digital outdoor advertising. The newest lamp electronic screens are comparable in price with neon installations. But electronic screens are superior to neon in all respects. Naturally, electronic outdoor screen networks are ideal for digital advertising campaigns and start replacing old versions.

What is most important is that apart from more effective dynamic advertising, the owners of such digital screens received unique advantages previously unimaginable. Electronic digital screens are a new mass media. Collected in networks they are comparable to a channel of cable video or TV.

Moreover, the money that used to buy only one type of static advertising now provides a way to create personal digital outdoor advertising cable stations. Such outdoor digital networks are capable of earning significant profits from displaying commercials of other companies in between your own. And the commercials can be changed at a moment’s notice. Dynamic changes in the dynamic world – what more can one want?

Japan, Korea and Brazil were among the first to realize unique opportunities of digital outdoor advertising provided by this approach. The same tendency gradually gains understanding in the USA and Russia. Let’s see what happens next!