The 5 Hottest Outdoor Advertising Trends in 2021

With stay-at-home orders in place for more than half of 2020, it was inevitable that Out-of-Home advertising would fall short of its growth targets. That being said, OOH is also a sector showing the most signs of making a recovery in 2021, as people are experiencing lock-down fatigue and getting better at social distancing, which gives them the confidence to return to the streets. Additionally, online advertising is becoming more expensive, pushing advertisers back out of the house.


Even in the face of sporadic lockdowns this year, there were still high levels of creativity in Out-of-Home campaigns!


To get an idea of what’s to come, we’ll be going through some examples created by The Perfect Media as well as some global examples by other out-of-home players.


Here are the 5 hottest trends for outdoor advertising in 2021. Which are you looking forward to the most?


1. Introducing more advanced technology in Out-of-Home campaigns


There will soon be an increase in mobile integration of Out-of-Home advertising. Utilising online platforms – together with outdoor advertising – can amplify results, reinforcing the campaign’s message amongst the target audience.


More and more, businesses are building up their online presences, with some becoming a purely online brand. It’s also important, however, to build an offline presence using Out-of-Home versions of media, as they increase reach and visibility, as well as validity.  Even if the ad’s main goal is to drive more consumers to online stores, outdoor advertising supports a business’s online presence, humanising it by showing consumers that there is a person behind the screen.


Outdoor advertising will be used hand-in-hand with social media and television in a process known as multi-channel integration. This is crucial in ensuring that the message delivered across all channels is consistent with the brand’s image.


Since every smartphone has a built-in QR Code scanner, the use of QR Codes has also been on the rise. With the urgent need to make everything contactless, everyone already has their phones out, ready to scan QR codes.


Who has taken advantage of the QR boom? Hotels, social media influencers, and B2B & B2C companies. Almost every payment method – PayNow, Dash, WeChat – is conducted through QR codes.


Additionally, QR codes are a fast, interactive, and easy way to transform outdoor advertising into a more interactive experience between consumers and brands.


Budget Direct Insurance @ Hotel Boss (The Perfect Media)


DBS Bank @ People’s Park Complex (The Perfect Media)


The biggest (yet unsurprising) advertising trend that will be revealed in 2021 is probably the explosion of programmatic ads using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate purchases.


One big difference between traditional and programmatic advertising is that the latter can take place in real-time. It’s not, however, an approach confined by digital space. It can be used for selling and buying various types of media, as well, including Out-of-Home (OOH) and display ads.


There’s a series of exciting trends transforming programmatic advertising as we know it, including the introduction of blockchain, 5G networks, over-the-top models, voice-activated ads, and more. There will still be three key obstacles to overcome before programmatic advertising can truly reach its full potential; education, reduced fragmentation of dOOH formats, and more standardization of the dOOH backend, especially in South East Asia.


One of the projects we carried out for Bosch was where programmatic OOH was displayed on LED screens on taxis that moved around to different areas. When the taxis drove into residential areas, the Bosch ad would display consumer electronics, like washing machines or dishwashers. Upon entering industrial areas, the product display would change to industrial items, like spark plugs.


Bosch Programmatic on Gojek Riders (The Perfect Media)


Finally, Augmented Reality (AR) will also be a frequently used approach in the upcoming year. AR is another technique that increases immersive interactivity between brands and consumers, created to give brands completely new ways of reaching out to consumers.



2. Static billboards – still powerful & still prominent


Source: Apple, Shot on iPhone


Static billboards have been a long-standing approach to advertising throughout the years, continually proving their worth to brand owners. Static billboards are the only form of media that offers businesses constant, 24/7 exposure that cannot be turned off, thrown away, or ignored. In turn, this makes them very effective at spreading brand awareness to large audiences.


Lalamove @ Jalan Besar Plaza, Tristar Geylang Serai, Queensway Shopping Centre & People’s Park Complex (The Perfect Media)


Billboards’ power rests in their ability to spread a message to a large number of people in a short amount of time. They allow businesses to choose the perfect location for their ads, often placed along busy roads and intersections for maximum visibility. Static billboards are typically rented on longer term contracts; because most people travel the same route on a near-daily basis, they will likely be exposed to your billboard multiple times, which can greatly increase your brand awareness, leading to increased sales and attention.


One of the major advantages of this approach is that your advertisement is the only one displayed on it, providing the voice of your brand with 100% share of that space in a cluttered environment.


Good Static Billboard Checklist:

⊗  High Traffic Areas

⊗  High & Fast Movements

⊗  High Media Clutter



3. Why brand storytelling matters


The way people interact with B2B brands is remarkably similar to how they engage with B2C brands, as just as much importance is placed on creativity, storytelling, and long-term brand building as the products’ features and price.


Serta @ People’s Park Complex (The Perfect Media)


Brand storytelling is a marketing tactic heavily utilised by B2C brands, and there are a few pointers that B2B brands can learn from their implementations:


  • Establish a human connection, like Adidas
  • Motivate action, like Tokopedia
  • Employ a powerful narrative, like Bosch


B2B brands work best with a creative storytelling element, as it isn’t enough to solely rely on straightforward product messaging. There needs to be a narrative with clear distinction compared to other brands; that will tap into potential buyers’ emotions.


B2B business owners are as easily influenced by emotional brand storytelling as B2C business owners – maybe even more influenced, at least according to the chair of The DMA’s B2B Council, Richard Robinson, who believes B2B customers are often more emotionally engaged than their B2C counterparts. Why? Because the purchasing costs can be higher, and there can be a serious financial impact if the wrong buying decision is made.


Bosch Wall Mural @ Philippines (The Perfect Media)


Read Also: B2B marketing benefits from using OOH advertising


In 2019/20, Bosch wanted to create a theme based around the idea of technology making lives better – thus, they used creative graffiti to create a visual showcase through a giant mural in the city. It wasn’t just graffiti, however, as it was done by robots, exemplifying the Bosch tagline “Invented for Life.” This spread the message that, when the abilities of robotics and human combine, it makes life better! Hence, the behind the scenes creation from this outdoor advertising execution was a key part of the entire project.


Bosch also added a meaningful story to each customised mural, with images relevant to the locals, such as The Future of Transportation mural showcasing celebrity motorcyclist Nurul Alis Aidil Akhbar / Kiki and her son, which added a human touch to the story behind the visuals, tugging on heart strings while communicating the client’s message.


Bosch Wall Mural @ Malaysia (The Perfect Media)


4. Power of Hyperlocal Advertising


a. The greatest asset of outdoor advertising is its intrinsic value of simply being out there in the world. Hyper local OOH is able to reach a niche audience at a high frequency with just a couple of key placements. When you look at this McDonald’s ad, it exemplifies the classic “Assumptive Close,” as the audience takes immediate action – “JUST GO” – with only 2 choices presented: right 100m or left 250m.


McDonald’s uses proximity network to direct consumers to the nearest store (JCDecaux Ireland)


b. Point of Sales – One of The Perfect Media’s clients – Adidas – reached out to their target audience at the point of sales at the Queensway Shopping Centre. With the advent of online shopping, the term “point of sales” should be used loosely – and, even if POS does not happen at that particular mall, we know that the audience present there are likely to be sports lovers or football enthusiasts. What’s worse than a consumer not buying the brand? When the competing brand has that final influence, getting the consumer to switch to their product at the point of purchase! Thus, it is better to over-invest in being where the brand needs to be in order to secure interest and purchases.


Adidas @ Queensway Shopping Centre LED Screen (The Perfect Media)


c. Context is key! Just as the Health Promotion Board reaches out to heartlanders with language specific ads in each ethnic core of Chinatown, Malay villages and Little India for advertising anti-diabetics, ads in these areas use a specific language to get closer to the locals in the area.


Health Promotion Board @ People’s Park Complex, Tristar Geylang Serai & 136 Syed Alwi Road (The Perfect Media)



5. Going All Out


a. High creativity

The key to standing out from the other competing brands is to employ the highest possible creativity in advertising. Instagrammable ads or billboards are things that exist in this digital age. According to Spotify’s global executive director, Alex Bodman, outdoor advertising itself has become a social channel where, if the media is compelling enough, people will take on the work of amplifying the brand themselves. All ads have to do to be Instagrammable is to be creative, impressive, and aesthetically pleasing. And 2021 is the absolute right time to be creative, especially with all eyes on outdoor efforts now.


Subway’s recent bus shelter ad – not created by The Perfect Media, but rather Vayner Media – was a hit in Singapore.


Subway Advertisement (Vayner Media)


Brands take whatever means necessary for people to notice them, basing their ads on humour, the COVID-19 pandemic, relatability, and anything else in the world.


Twitter Ad


b. Repetition on a wider scale

TPM executed a series of campaigns across ASEAN, using multiple formats and implementations, but centrally managed in Singapore with a lean, PAX agency team of two working directly with client. It employs a mix of long-term static locations over two years for Bosch branding, with short-term bursts of dOOH to showcase the 150 various streams of Bosch products – from billboards promoting home-use to industrial and automotive. dOOH also gave Bosch the flexibility to change visuals for three days on Lazada to promote online shopping on mall LED screens.


Bosch Ads @ Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia


Out-of-Home advertising is an ever-evolving scene that will remain relevant for years to come! With the help from Out-of-home advertising, you have the freedom to be as creative as possible. It can be difficult to convert some B2B clients into paid customers, but the OOH ads drive engagement, and are designed with the goal of making a creative impact.


If any of these trends have caught your interest, call us now to seek some expert help from our team at The Perfect Media. We will be happy to assist in terms of providing our expertise, ensuring that you will maximise your reach and build brand AWARENESS.





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