Lexus’ Digital-Heavy NX Car Campaign Targets Young, Diverse Drivers

Lexus’ new NX car campaign, “Hustle for What Matters,” which introduces the luxury carmaker’s new plug-in electric vehicle, the NX 450h+, aims to appeal to young, diverse drivers with different definitions of accomplishment. 

Leaning heavily into the digital and streaming space, Lexus says the campaign is designed to reach “those with great ambition who are carving their own paths,” whether that means being able to travel, taking over the esports world or leveraging technology to create better balance in their lives.

The fully integrated media campaign for NX will come to life via Twitch, 100 Thieves, Google and Roku. Lexus will take aspiring Twitch creators for a ride in the NX vehicle, where they’ll have the chance to pitch their most unique stream ideas. Fans will then get to decide which creator will be able to make their idea a reality. 

This marks the carmaker’s second collaboration with Twitch. For their first partnership, which centered around the launch of the 2021 Lexus IS sports sedan, Lexus hosted two livestreamed events on Twitch that concluded with a takeaway for gamers: a Lexus IS concept car designed by the attendees.

Next, Lexus plans to create a graphic representation of 100 Thieves’ League of Legends Championship win using gameplay data from the victory. It’ll then turn the graphic into a car wrap for a customized 100T x Lexus NX that highlights the car’s connected features and tech-forward design.

Lexus also developed a custom, Google Cloud-streamed augmented reality experience around the NX, available to watch via YouTube and on

Lastly, for its media campaign, Lexus is teaming with Roku through the OneView platform and leveraging Roku’s proprietary first-party data to maximize unique omnichannel reach to traditional pay-TV.

Seven broadcast spots are also part of the “Hustle for What Matters” campaign and will air during primetime and sports including the Winter Games, March Madness and NBA. According to the release, some of these were created for black, Hispanic, LGBTQ, East Asian and Asian Indian audiences. 

One spot shows a pair of black filmmakers leveraging the tech found in the NX to “capture something truly extraordinary,” according to the press release. Another spot, focused on the Hispanic audience, shows how the NX helps forge a new path amid hardships.

In addition to broadcast, the NX campaign will utilize social videos and out-of-home media, including airports, rideshare, ski resorts and billboards.

OOH Advertising Up 38% In Q3 2021

Based on the Out of Home Advertising Association of America’s (OAAA) out-of-home (OOH) ad revenue report, OOH advertising revenue increased 38 percent in Q3 2021 to $1.75 billion compared to the previous year. Surging 56 percent compared to Q3 2020, digital OOH is leading the overall OOH recovery. Since the beginning of 2021, OOH ad revenue has increased 10 percent over 2020 reaching $5.1 billion.

All of the top ten industry product categories increased by double digits in Q3 2021, including Local Services & Amusements, Retail, Media & Advertising, Insurance & Real Estate, Restaurants, Government Politics and Organizations, Financial Services, Public Transportation Hotels and Resorts, Automotive Dealers and Services and Schools Camps & Seminars.

Local Services and Amusements, a category that represents more than 25 percent of total OOH spend, increased by more than 33 percent while Media & Advertising increased 85 percent.

The top 10 advertisers in Q3 were McDonald’s, Geico, Apple, Amazon, American Express, Walt Disney Pictures, Allstate, Dunkin’, Chevron and Barclays—in that order.

OAAA’s report also found that of the top 100 OOH advertisers, 88 percent increased their OOH spend as compared to Q3 2020. Additionally, of those advertisers, 51 percent more than doubled their spend. Companies like Credit Karma, Webull, DuckDuckGo and ADT, along with 36 percent of the top 100 OOH advertisers, increased their spend by 10x or more. Close to one-third of those advertisers were technology or direct-to-consumer brands such as Amazon, Apple, AT&T and BetMGM, among others.

MAGNA anticipates OOH will be the second-fastest-growing ad channel in 2021 with a projected annual increase of 16.4 percent.

“OOH has come roaring back after a year full of uncertainty the world over. Our industry is both a marker of public sentiment, and in its own right, a morale lifting vehicle for engaging, inspiring and empowering consumers. These Q3 figures should be welcomed as a sign that we’re back and have an exciting next chapter ahead,” said OAAA president and chief executive officer Anna Bager.

WARC Announces The Most Awarded Campaigns And Companies Of 2020

WARC has released its list of the most-awarded campaigns and companies for creativity, media and effectiveness. This year’s WARC Creative 100, Effective 100 and Media 100 include rankings from 2020, which WARC normally releases in Q1 2021 but postponed due to the pandemic. The 2022 WARC Rankings, which will judge work from 2021, will return to a Q1 release.

WARC’s rankings are determined by combining the winners’ lists from the industry’s most important global and regional awards in 2020, as determined by the WARC Rankings Advisory Board and a global industry survey. A proprietary three-step methodology is also applied. Brand winners include Ikea, Nike and Coca-Cola and among campaign winners are “The E.V.A. Initiative” by Volvo, “The Shape of History” by Hulu and “I’m Drinking It For You” by DB Export. See the full list below. 

Creative 100


  1. Moldy Whopper · Burger King · Ingo Stockholm / David Miami / Publicis Bucharest · 800.9 points
    • Burger King’s “Moldy Whopper” campaign was, by far, the most highly ranked campaign. A food artist creates a picturesque Whopper before over a month’s worth of footage of the decaying burger is shown over the course of 30 seconds. The experience ends with the words, “The beauty of no artificial preservatives.” Still images depict macro shots of the decaying burger well into the 30 days it sat out. Burger King’s agency partners Publicis, Ingo and David Miami collaborated to produce the campaign.
  2. Stevenage Challenge · Burger King · DAVID Madrid / DAVID Miami · 483.5 points
    • By sponsoring the relatively unknown club at the bottom of football’s fourth division Stevenage FC, BK’s branded kit featured in the FIFA 20 video game. The Stevenage Challenge invited players to compete as Stevenage FC and complete a series of in-game tasks such as simply scoring a free kick or scoring from a corner while wearing one of the BK-sponsored Stevenage FC shirts. Players placed football’s best players in the shirts, shared their goals online and earned rewards. Before long, 25,000 goals were posted online and the club sold out of their shirts for the first time in its history. 
  3. The E.V.A. Initiative · Volvo · Forsman & Bodenfors Gothenburg · 272.1 points
    • Volvo has been collecting crash data since the 1970s to understand what happens to the human bodies of various sizes, genders and shapes during a collision. Volvo’s The E.V.A. Initiative saw the company share that research with the rest of the automotive industry so that all cars may be produced with greater safety features for every body.


  1. Burger King · 680.3 points · no change from #1 
  2. Ikea · 564 points · up from #4
  3. Diesel · 359.7 points · up from #9


  1. Restaurant Brands International · Canada · 816.9 points · no change from #1
  2. Anheuser-Busch InBev · Belgium · 811.3 points · up from #3
  3. IKEA · Sweden · 564 points · up from #8

Media 100


  1. Rabbi Bot · Always · MediaCom Connections Tel Aviv / ACW Grey Tel Aviv / GO Digital Marketing Netanya · 95.4 points
    • After every period, Jewish women must request that a rabbi visually inspect their pads to determine whether they are approved for intercourse. Always addressed this through an AI-based app that scans an image of the pad to determine whether menstruation has completed. Attendants of the ritual baths served as the company’s branded app promoters. Nine thousand women logged on in the first month.
  2. The Shape of History · Hulu · UM Los Angeles · 81.1 points
    • One of the primary themes in The Handmaid’s Tale is ‘History is written by those with power.’ Hulu’s campaign changed the narrative to emphasize that history is actually shaped by those who tell it. So, in June 2019, Hulu addressed the fact that only 8 percent of all statues in the US are of women by erecting 140 new female statues in New York City (where the percentage drops to just three). The statues were made of mirrors, symbolizing Hulu’s invitation to everyone to take part in shaping history. The company went on to install statues in Boston, Atlanta and San Francisco.
  3. Naming The Invisible By Digital Birth Registration · Telenor · Ogilvy Islamabad · 70 points
    • Sixty million Pakistanis are unregistered citizens in Pakistan, causing severe obstacles in enjoying many of the rights most people take for granted. Telenor, Pakistan’s second-largest mobile network collaborated with the government, UNICEF, Ogilvy and others to create Digital Birth Registration (DBR), an app that helps the country’s children obtain a birth certificate—a document required for medical care, schooling and protection from illegal child labor. Today, more than 1.2 million children have obtained birth certificates.


  1. McDonald’s · 135.3 points · up from #8
  2. Nike · 118.6 points · up from #4
  3. Always · 92.7 points · new entry


  1. Unilever · Netherlands / UK · 346.4 points · no change #1
  2. Procter & Gamble · US · 278.8 points · up from #3
  3. The Walt Disney Company · US · 183.7 points · up from #10

Effective 100


  1. I’m Drinking It For You · DB Export · Colenso BBDO Auckland / Carat Auckland / Red Star Auckland · 51.7 points 
    • New Zealand beer company DB Export celebrated Valentine’s Day with a romantic ballad to low-carb beer. The campaign featured a full-length song, “I’m Drinking It For You” and a music video depicting all of the romantic things one can do for their partner while holding a beer, encouraging couples to choose the new Gold Extra Low Carb beer as a romantic gesture for their significant other. The song was also supported by radio appearances, live performances, singing telegrams, “beer bouquets” on gift sites and broadcast in key locations like gyms. The song played on the radio with custom intros that changed depending on the time of day, location and musical interests of the listener. It reached number two on the Apple music charts and was viewed 5 million times across all platforms as sales met eight-month targets in two weeks. 
  2. Can’t Touch This · Cheetos · Goodby Silverstein & Partners San Francisco · 50 points
    • MC Hammer’s hit single “Can’t Touch This” turned 30 years old last year as it was used to promote Cheetos Popcorn. The 30-second spot featured an unassuming man in various settings eating a bag of Cheetos Popcorn who was able to avoid several situations due to his Cheetle-covered fingers. “Cheetle” is the dust that the brand has become infamous for. MC Hammer popped up intermittently throughout the commercial.
  3. Michelin Impossible · KFC · Ogilvy Sydney · 47.2 points
    • Kentucky Fried Chicken Australia set out to change the public’s perception of its food quality. It partnered with Ogilvy Sydney to create a campaign to earn for one of its remote restaurants the highest award in the restaurant industry—a Michelin star. Northern Territory Alice Springs KFC franchisee Sam Edelman, a bearded and grinning ginger, was the brand’s spokesperson for the campaign. He and KFC created a series of stunts, activities, media appearances and radio interviews before Edelman interviewed Michelin Star chef Louis Stephane Pitre for advice on achieving the award. Michelin didn’t award the star but the campaign reached 850 million people via earned media and achieved a 16:1 return on investment. It also achieved its primary goal as 65 percent of Australians surveyed reported improved perceptions of the brand’s food quality.


  1. McDonald’s · 209.8 points · no change #1
  2. KFC · 163.3 points · up from #4
  3. Coca-Cola · 135.9 points · down from #2


  1. Unilever · Netherlands / UK · 240 points · no change #1
  2. McDonald’s · US · 209.8 points · up from #6
  3. The Coca Cola Company · 166.3 points · down from #2

The 3 Pillars Of Effective Media Planning

As much of everyday life remains in flux, effective media planning will require marketers to focus on three pillars: people, continuous planning and connected planning. That’s advice from Jay Nielsen, senior vice president of global planning products for Nielsen, who recently shared how brands can navigate the current and future state of disruption during the firm’s “Back to the Drawing Board: Media Planning Through Uncertainty” webinar.

People Should Be At The Center Of Planning

Now is a critical time for brands to understand how to reach the consumers they’re trying to connect with. To do so, Nielsen suggests commingling first-party data with second- and third-party data to understand what your target audience is engaging with. Making decisions based only on what you’ve previously done or what competitors are doing won’t cut it.

Audiences are interested in content that represents them, so as diversification grows,  on-screen representation should be at the core of a brand’s efforts to connect with people. Nielsen found that across the TV landscape of the top 300 most-viewed programs in 2019 (broadcast, cable and streaming), 92 percent of all programs measured showed some diversity (women, people of color, or LGBTQ+) in recurring casts.

Treat Planning As An Always-On Exercise

Continuous planning may provide the largest opportunity for brands. The 12-18 month planning cycle may not be effective going forward, so brands should look to plan throughout the year.

According to Nielsen, academic research shows that changes in brand share of voice are closely linked to changes in market share, marking a thorough understanding of how competitors are spending advertising dollars and how heavily they’re reaching your desired target.

To understand if increased competitive spend is being directed at their target or elsewhere, brands should measure their competitor’s reach and frequency to the brand’s own target in channels where it’s possible to track.

Combining in-flight optimization and post-campaign learning can also help maximize results. For one of Nielsen’s clients, a subscription-based global media and entertainment company, showing agility both in flight and on successive campaigns enabled it to lower its cost per acquisition (CPA). The client leveraged both attribution and marketing mix modeling (MMM) to maximize their results and optimized channel allocation with MMM. These efforts resulted in a decrease of 11 percent in CPA.

Additionally, the client utilized multi-touch attribution (MTA) to optimize the digital campaign in-flight, resulting in a decrease in CPA of about 7 percent to 13 percent. In total, the final investment resulted in a 20 percent decrease in CPA.

Thinking algorithms are faster than people, advertisers often take a set it and leave it approach when it comes to artificial intelligence or self-serve platform but Heather Cohen, Ayzenberg vice president of media, urges marketers to remember that while the new tools are great, they’re really just another form of calculation.

“We still find that humans are the most agile when it comes to actual campaign decision making. So while the algorithm may get you the lowest CPA, it doesn’t necessarily grant you the most qualified audience you’re trying to get traction against (e.g., you may be trying to improve your LTV, garner higher retention, increase your organic multiplier/halo effect or breakthrough to a new audience segment to improve sentiment/reputation/gain SOM). You still need a person to make that decision on what’s valuable after you weigh the pros and cons,” Cohen told AList.

Create A Holistic View Into Campaign Success

An opportunity for planning to evolve exists if brands can use uniform target definitions in multiple channels by ensuring their data, software and partners are in sync.

Brands should leverage historical data and use the same audience profiles across each of their software solutions. This systematic approach includes an understanding of the audience, their location, as well as building plans against that audience, quickly activating the plans, measuring against the plans and repeating this process.

Nevertheless, the sheer number of partners marketers work with makes a start-to-finish approach difficult to adopt. Nielsen’s 2021 Annual Marketing Report found that brands of all sizes and industries have very little confidence in their existing martech capabilities. Though the importance of data quality and consistency can’t be overstated, it remains a hurdle for marketers regardless of budget size.

The report also found that brands are planning to address this challenge by increasing both their marketing analytics projects and technology software budgets by an average of 30 percent over the next year.

Nielsen suggests brands leave behind antiquated planning schedules and conduct planning as an always-on exercise. With connected processes in place, marketers can have a more holistic, simplified view of processes, making reaching the right audience at the right time more attainable than ever.

“As consideration to purchase windows are decreasing, always-on is the reality in today’s non-linear purchase cycle,” said Cohen.

Advertising To Streamers: Why Regional Buys Are On The Rise

Regional buys regarding streamers are rapidly becoming the next logical step in most successful brands’ comprehensive media campaigns. At a recent Advertising Week New York panel about the rise of regional buys, Jason Swartz, Interconnect vice president of advanced advertising and new business for national sales, discussed the benefits of market-to-market execution including data, targeting, reporting and exclusivity. Swartz was joined by Carolyn Sheflin, Spectrum Reach vice president of advanced advertising sales, and Brad Stockton, Dentsu vice president of advanced advertising and new business for national sales.

Despite the fact that linear TV has been and continues to be the quickest and easiest place to drive a mass reach, streaming has changed the TV advertising space on both an agency and multichannel video programming (MVP) level, according to Swartz. While it was nice to have just a few years ago, the pandemic caused all demographics to start streaming. As a result, regardless of what audience a brand is seeking to engage, streaming must play a part in their omnichannel strategy to maximize reach.

Today, the definition of TV has changed to include new platforms such that streaming is TV. Over 106 million households steam content in any given month, that’s 82 percent of Americans who have watched some kind of streaming content in the last 30 days. 

Streaming has become such a force to be reckoned with in just the last two or three years, and especially since the pandemic caused the world to spend more time at home, that it must be a part of any successful campaign. For advertisers, the issue remains how to get the right message in front of the right person. A new definition of success in this space involves streaming platforms in addition to linear TV.

Some verticals have picked up on streaming quickly as others are still acclimating. According to Sheflin, all verticals—local, national and addressable—have utilized streaming due to the reach it has in the marketplace. A study conducted by Spectrum Reach at the end of 2020 analyzed 1,000 campaigns within the Spectrum footprint either running linear campaigns only or linear and streaming campaigns together to find that the addition of streaming increased reach by 28 percent. Additionally, the effect is consistent on a local and national basis.

Streaming isn’t new, it’s just now more popular than ever before. Years ago there were direct-to-consumer brands utilizing streaming to get in front of linear TV screens in an efficient and effective way. One of the primary benefits of streaming is that it’s highly targeted and highly measurable. These elements together point to why streaming was so popular among early adopters. 

Its mass scale is what has enabled all verticals and brands to take advantage of it today. Brands that neglect streaming in 2021 and beyond are missing a massive amount of the market that is otherwise unreachable. So, regardless of whether the industry is quick-service restaurants, auto, or retail—brands must be leveraging this space.

According to Stockton, there are a number of elements to track and assess in order to get the most bang for your media buys. For example, it’s essential to determine which markets are popping on both local and national audiences to know where the next dollar should be spent. 

In addition, advertisers running local and national campaigns must know where they intertwine and how effective they are. Last, engaging in one-to-one experiences with audiences through digital and streaming—which is local in nature—means double-clicking into those regions, which assists advertisers in gasping a campaign’s effectiveness.

Multichannel video programming distributors (MVPD) have unique data sets on linear, video-on-demand, and all streaming services and partners that can be compiled and de-identified for the purpose of understanding unduplicated reach and frequency (TURF) metrics in a marketplace whether in an individual market or on a national scale. Doing so provides proof of performance in individual markets and national markets from an addressable perspective that allows two things: it allows advertisers to target more homes that are in a specific audience and it helps them understand the impact of every platform on the buy.

Set-top box (STB) data is second-by-second viewership information collected by operators such as Cablevision, DirecTV, Dish Network, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T Uverse. The term refers to the box that delivers linear TV to the home and excludes internet-based devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV. 

Beyond STB data, there’s data available that can be used in a cross-platform situation. According to Sheflin, all MVPDs have unique data that can be aggregated and de-identified to then be matched with consumer profile data from a myriad of different platforms for the purpose of reaching audiences beyond age and gender. This shows up from a targeting perspective and from a measuring perspective. 

From a targeting perspective, addressable is the easiest sort of literal match, but it isn’t always scalable, especially on a local basis. Often, advertisers can look at viewership habits and audience concentration to create a digital or linear TV campaign for a specific audience comprising a high concentration of a certain characteristic.

From a measuring standpoint, advertisers may take the de-identified data and analyze it with exposure files to look at things like the lift of a TV campaign or cross-platform reach and frequency and other metrics. This unique data set offers TV solid proof of performance.

Data is everything. Advertisers must first break down behavior tactics and profiles to identify who the individuals are that make up the target audience. Remaining privacy compliant in this context means the individual’s data with one company, such as name and email address, can connect to another partner’s first-party data for the purpose of hyper-targeting. This approach allows advertisers to know exactly who they’re reaching with the right message.

EMarketer’s Retail Media Advertising Report Addresses Key Retailers Driving The Market

According to eMarketer’s latest ecommerce forecast, ecommerce ad spend will increase by 27.8 percent year-over-year (YoY), reaching $23.92 billion this year, or 12.5 percent of all digital ad dollars. That increase comes after 2020 experienced a 50 percent increase YoY in ecommerce channel advertising. The firm’s forecast will be reexamined and likely increased as Amazon (up 87 percent YoY) and Walmart (up 95 percent YoY) post higher growth for their respective ad businesses in earnings reports. 

The pandemic caused a boom in ecommerce, increasing the influence of digital retail media by expanding the number of retail sales transacted online. Emarketer estimates that the share of online US retail sales increased by an exceptional 11 percent in 2019 to 14 percent in 2020, and will continue growing through the end of 2025 by over one percentage point annually.

Digital retail media’s influence isn’t confined solely to ecommerce. Offline purchases are also affected– especially given the increase in digitally transacted ads that have a physical presence outside of the home and apart from personal electronics. Emarketer predicts that total retail sales in the US will increase by 7.9 percent in 2021 to upwards of $6 trillion.

Given that digital retailers have significant audiences, they also have significant amounts of audience data. Roughly 90 percent of digital shoppers, for example, will make at least one purchase via a digital channel in 2021. That equates to 209.6 million digital buyers in the US—higher than the number of people who will use social media at least once per month.

As for online grocery sales, this year marks the first in which a majority of US consumers will buy groceries online. Emarketer estimates that 142.9 million individuals ages 14 and up will shop for groceries digitally in 2021, or 50.5 percent of the population in that age range. 

According to ChannelAdvisor and Dynata, US shoppers began their product search on a retailer site or marketplace like Amazon before making a digital purchase in August 2020. 

Overall, the structure of the retail media market is comparable to other performance channels such as social media and traditional search. Sometimes, companies that began in these other sectors have expanded to serve clients interested in retail media. Platforms or publishers in this instance are usually retail marketplaces or retailers, as opposed to media companies like Facebook and Google.

In the US, retail marketers offer an array of solutions in their retail media networks. In August 2020, 60 percent of respondents offered social media, 57 percent offered data and first-party audience insights without media and 55 percent offered on-site (.com) banner ads and display advertising. Only 33 percent and 21 percent offered on-site (.com) brand pages and closed-loop reporting, respectively.

The most important retailers selling retail media include Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Kroger Co. and Instacart which recently onboarded chief executive Fidji Simo—who previously oversaw Facebook’s main “clue” app—and president Carolyn Everson (also of Facebook). Emarketer expects more brands of all types to focus more heavily on retail media as other sources of customer data become less obtainable. 

Retail media is changing as it changes advertising more broadly, according to eMarketer’s research. As more brands and retailers inject themselves into this space, eMarketer predicts that retail media will continue disrupting traditional advertising due to third-party data deprecation, the rise of connected television (CTV) and subsequent decline of linear television, retail media’s move up the funnel and consumers’ impatience with retail media ads. 

Many retailers have built out their ad business offerings in the last couple of years, including Walmart, Best Buy, CVS and Target, to name a few. As a result, advertisers must make more decisions about which and how many platforms to advertise on. Additionally, due to the increased spending and increased complexity in the market, advertisers are under more pressure now than ever before to utilize technology and even experts to ensure funds are spent as efficiently as possible.

One approach to make this process easier, according to experts eMarketer tapped for its report, is for brands to, at a minimum, test ads on the retail platforms where they sell products and then focus only on those that provide the most value. One issue that may arise here is that platforms may share results that differ from each other, for example with different attribution windows. Advertisers may need to engage tech solutions to make sense of the data across platforms.

Nevertheless, the retail media expansion and the array of retailers venturing into the space doesn’t necessarily mean that current market leaders should be worried. Emarketer actually expects Amazon to carry on with its growth of ecommerce channel ad spending through the end of 2023.

As Emarketer notes, despite the fact that most of the focus remains in the search ad market, retail media has transformed it into a different beast entirely. Still, video and display ads targeting consumers with the purpose of making them aware of the brand are becoming a more valuable element as time progresses. Innovation in technology is producing new products that fuse the best of performance marketing and branding.

Internet users are mostly indifferent to digital ads, but not all are treated equally, as eMarketer found. Consumer surveys have reported that interruptive ads are the most frustrating, especially when they overtake the entire screen and prevent individuals from reading text or force them to wait for a video to play. On the other hand, less-invasive ad formats where the ad fits in with the content of the page are less bothersome especially when the message is useful or relevant.

EMarketer also found in prior years that Amazon buyers in the US relatively rarely reported noticing ads on the site. When they did notice the ads, they were more likely to describe them as useful or helpful rather than distracting or untrustworthy.

To tap into the growing opportunity in retail media advertising, eMarketer suggests endemic brands prepare to use more data clean rooms and run tests as retailers launch new ad platforms, formats and targeting options. 

For non-endemic brands, the firm notes that although they may not see the obvious benefits of advertising directly in a retail environment, there’s a place for them as well—such as financial service firms, automakers and more. As tracking users becomes more difficult, retail media will look like an increasingly attractive option for brands that don’t sell through retailers.

Setting Up Your Out-Of-Home Advertising For Success

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising was hit hard by the pandemic; the channel fell by $1.3 billion in total ad revenues in 2020. Reduced travel and traffic caused significantly discounted OOH ad rates, though not for long. Today, OOH costs are back to pre-pandemic levels as it’s proven too important a marketing channel to neglect.

According to the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), OOH may experience revenue growth of 10 to 12 percent by the end of 2021 and OOH now comprises roughly 20 to 30 percent of client media planning. 

As consumers seek a return to normal, several key OOH trends will fuel its growth in 2021. A survey by OAAA and The Harris Poll found that 68 percent of consumers suffer from digital device burnout, 65 percent of consumers want to leave home as often as possible and 45 percent of consumers notice OOH ads more than before the pandemic.

To maximize your OOH investment, OAAA has compiled a creative best practices guide covering campaign shaping, which formats to use, OOH design basics and other helpful strategies for creating head-turning ads.

Shaping The Campaign

Creative determines 75 percent of an ad’s effectiveness. When producing your campaign, remember that OOH is a medium that offers enormous flexibility and has a long history from which you can extract learnings. The OAAA suggests allowing your idea to guide the placement of media and adapt the scale of OOH applications—instead of first considering the shape and size of specific formats.

Sourcing ideas for creative can come from myriad places, one of which is conversation. Sharing a creative concept or brief with others might improve it. Media partners, in particular, take into consideration campaign objectives before recommending contextual applications in specific markets or regions or special opportunities with communities.

The OAAA cautions against focusing solely on OOH. Rather, execute a single campaign across a range of media. OOH, broadcast, digital and print campaign elements should share a single focus and, if designed correctly, can help you maximize your overall campaign cost per thousand (CPM). 

That said, OOH should be the core of the ad campaign. Amplify the momentum of the OOH campaign through such ideas as augmented reality (AR) experiences that tie into traditional parts of an OOH campaign through scalable and layered codes or social media activations linked to the messaging.

Last, explore the feasibility of real-world applications of big ideas before letting them die, and rely on media partners to find you solutions to achieve favorable results.

Using Different Canvases

Certain formats suit certain messages better than others. For example, large print formats like standardized roadside displays are intended for viewing from a far distance and therefore ideal for bold branding. They can be enhanced with elements like 2D extensions, 3D props, lighting effects and successive messaging along roadways.

Given street furniture and transit formats are positioned close to pedestrians and are viewed at eye level, typical enhancements include custom props and wrapped buses.

Place-based formats include a wide array of innovative display formats positioned in retail locations and commercial venues. Common enhancements include custom installations in malls, street teams and sponsored events.

The benefits of digital applications for OOH can’t be overlooked, notes the OAAA. All OOH segments include digital applications and formats with benefits such as nimble and flexible messaging; video content; no print production costs and customizable applications like location-specific messages, touchscreen and situational triggers (e.g., weather conditions, traffic flow).

OOH Designing Basics

People want to be entertained. According to research conducted by the Journal of Advertising Research, ads with two messages as opposed to five, are 21 percent more likely to be noticed. To get your OOH noticed, the OAAA recommends utilizing contrasting colors, typeface legible from a distance, figuratively bold imagery and copy lines, and photos with a strong focal point. 

For most OOH applications, it’s best to keep copy short and sweet. Seven words or less is a proven benchmark and messages that relate to physical surroundings are often more memorable. It would also benefit your OOH campaign to incorporate the appropriate tone necessary to elicit a specific response or trigger a reaction. 

As mentioned prior, you may want to develop a series of different OOH messages as part of an overall campaign. This would enable you to incorporate more elements without encumbering the clarity of individual messages. 

It’s also important to design for an array of canvas sizes and locations. Geofencing key zip codes or trading areas against core audience demographics can help messages target desired consumers.

Research shows that people react to OOH messages and will immediately start an online search when triggered by an OOH ad. Forty-six percent of people search for information after viewing an interesting billboard. 

With the understanding that 70 percent of decision-making is emotional, every OOH is now a call to action. Triggers and codes like memorable URLs, hashtags and phone numbers help get the consumer from witnessing to purchasing more efficiently.

OOH often campaigns spark social conversations, especially online. In fact, 48 percent of people are more likely to click a banner ad after viewing an OOH ad first while 25 percent of Americans have posted a photo of themselves with an OOH ad on their social media.

Context is a vital element of OOH’s success. To ensure your message lands with your audience, understand unique characteristics of locals and don’t deploy an OOH campaign for both coasts. Ensure your campaign mirrors the community in which it’s distributed so viewers resonate with it more.

OOH messaging builds substantial brand awareness over time as refreshing ad creative improves overall ad retention. To this aim, creative elements should be updated every two months, according to OAAA.

Final Thoughts

Be realistic about your timeline when creating OOH. The OAAA advises allowing at least seven working days for basic print production, six weeks of lead time for fabrication of props and several weeks for custom installations.

Lastly, be as flexible as OOH is. Maintain freshness and relevance in campaign messaging and don’t shy away from altering the direction of a campaign if necessary or recommended by experts.

How Leading Buy Now, Pay Later Solutions Advertise On Social Media

Once a niche payment concept, buy now, pay later (BNPL) deals have surged during the pandemic. According to an Ascent study, 56 percent of consumers have now used a BNPL service, up from 38 percent in July 2020. To understand how leading BNPL solutions including Klarna, Affirm and Afterpay are advertising on major social media platforms, BrandTotal analyzed thousands of their paid social media ad campaigns over a 90-day period, from July 13 to September 10.

These leading BNPL solutions rely heavily on social media to educate shoppers and it’s here where Klarna is leading the way when it comes to advertising. In BrandTotal’s analysis of paid share of voice (SOV), Klarna dominated with 51 percent of SOV, compared to 35 percent for Affirm and 14 percent for Afterpay. This ranking shifted, however, when between August and September Afterpay’s SOV reached 32 percent and Affirm’s 27 percent.

Given younger demographics grew up in a digital-first era in which discovering a brand and checking out are just a few Instagram clicks away, BNPL platforms know to strategically target younger audiences who are more open to this new form of tech-enabled payment model.

Among the three BNPL solutions BrandTotal analyzed, Klarna was the most likely to advertise to Gen Z on social media, with half of its ad impressions targeted to the demographic. By comparisons, 41 percent of Affirm’s impressions and only 8 percent of Afterpay’s targeted Gen Z. In addition, BrandTotal found that 83 percent of all BNPL social media ads targeted women, with just 17 percent targeting men.

Klarna also outpaces the other two on video views. According to BrandTotal’s data, Klarna saw 46.2 million video views across all of its paid social ads while Afterpay came in second with 1.7 million views, followed by Affirm with 1.5 million. Klarna’s dominance here could indicate its reliance on video across campaigns, which Gen Z is known to prefer over static images or text.

Lastly, BrandTotal found that Klarna and Affirm share very similar social media ad strategies; both allocate most of their social mix to Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Afterpay, on the other hand, focuses primarily on Facebook and Instagram, with no investment in YouTube.

Echoing BrandTotal’s findings is recent data from Auriemma Group, which shows that while merchants have historically been the most common provider of installment plans at the point-of-sale, these BNPL providers offering short-term solutions are closing the gap.

Auriemma research found between Q1 2019 and Q1 2021, there was a 10+ percentage point increase in debit cardholders offered a BNPL plan in-store or online. In addition, more than half of those offered BNPL in a physical store (56 percent) or online (51 percent) say they enrolled in the option, again representing 10+ percentage point increases since Q1 2019.

Online TV Officially Reigns Over Traditional TV

It’s no longer just cord-cutting. Now, with the plethora of steaming options available—Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, Netflix, Pluto TV and more—viewers are tuning into online TV more than they are traditional cable.

Overall, watching TV and movies is still the top entertainment option for 35-74 year-olds, but according to the study, that drops dramatically with the 18-34 set, for whom gaming/social media/online videos are their top forms of entertainment. 

Online Streaming Supersedes Cable

According to Hub’s annual “Decoding the Default” study, viewers are going to online TV options first and those viewing behaviors are shifting rapidly year-over-year. The study shows that 55 percent of viewers are tuning into online TV, up 5 percent from 2020. Traditional set-top cable services saw a decline of 3 percent from last year.

Netflix Is No Longer The Top Streaming Option

Despite online TV streaming being more popular than ever, Netflix appears to have lost ground to other options. Viewers that cited Netflix as their default source for entertainment has slid by 3 points since 2020. And it’s easy to see where those viewers are going—Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and HBO Max have all risen by 4 percent in viewership in the past year alone.


How Measurement Silos Distort Brand And Behavioral Lift

In a given week, 44 percent of people use multiple social media platforms. However, just 39 percent of marketers require all platform providers to use consistent measurement approaches, with major social platforms most often being allowed to use their own measurement as currency.

To understand the risks for marketers utilizing siloed exposure in their cross-platform measurement, DISQO conducted a study among 166,356 US consumers between February to March, 2021, each of which voluntarily allowed the company to observe their digital behaviors on mobile and desktop devices. DISQO also studied about 8,500 US adults in January 2021 who opted in to share their social media usage across multiple platforms.

The findings explore how a single source of truth can prevent marketers from yielding inaccurate insights, lower return on ad spend, lack of confidence and excess administrative costs.

Measuring the effectiveness of campaigns requires the ability to see how placements on two different platforms, say, TikTok and Facebook, interact with each other against the same audience target. To determine how much overlap happens between different social media platforms, DISQO shares a fictitious scenario involving a campaign that runs on three different platforms—A, B, and C. The campaign on platform A received 500,000 views, on platform B 400,000 views and 200,000 views on platform C.

DISQO’s data found that platform B saw a lift of 3 percentage points in positive campaign response with siloed platform measurement compared with a lift of 2 percentage points for platform A and a lift of 1 percentage point for platform C. Based on these numbers, one would assume platform B deserves greater investment while media should be optimized off of platform C.

However, as DISQO points out, it’s likely that the unexposed audience has seen the brand messages on a different platform and mischaracterizing these exposed users creates a mutant control group with exposure from another platform. As a result, this group produces an artificially high baseline off which to calculate lift.

According to DISQO, when you take the mutant control group out of the equation and get an accurate view of exposure, it’s actually platform C that’s the most successful because it saw a lift of 7 percentage points in positive campaign response. But because this platform was getting the lowest investment, huge upside revenue potential was being lost and higher costs resulted from siloed measurement. 

Additionally, with siloed measurement, the overall campaign lift is understated at 2 percentage points. When mutant control is eliminated, however, the lift is shown to be 5.3 percentage points, reports DISQO.

Generalized models based on overall platform overlap or common demographic overlaps won’t deliver accurate campaign results. In order to get accurate lift and effective advertising measurement, marketers should use a single-source panel that calculates the exact overlaps in exposure for each individual campaign and sees all consumer activity.

For marketers to eliminate mutant control, consumers must willingly share zero-party data using passive technologies so that ad exposure is tracked to the same individual across every site they visit. Only when marketers utilize a single-source panel solution to cross-platform ad measurement will they gain confidence in insights, future-proof identification without the need for cookies or other ID proxies, natural assessment and reduced workload.