The great challenge of street advertising: there is no other way than creativity and experiences to achieve the expected success

The movement was not so high, perhaps because it was a Sunday – and one of July and a classic holiday in the city, at four in the afternoon – but even so, a group of teenagers took photos – very posed instagramers – and a family waited patiently for them to finish so that it was their turn. The place is Praza Roxa, one of the most popular squares in the Ensanche de Santiago de Compostela, the ‘new’ area where tourists do not usually set foot (but locals do). The day before, a dairy brand had inaugurated a “cow pass” taking advantage of the fact that it was the weekend of Galicia Day.

The cow steps are an initiative of the Casa Grande de Xanceda, a Galician dairy company with a sustainable philosophy. A few years ago, he had mounted one in A Coruña in an ephemeral way. Now, the one from Santiago will remain permanently, adding to those that the brand has already been placing in recent years in various locations in rural Galicia.

The cow steps play with the fact that in Galicia there are no zebras but there are many cows (so many that there is a Twitter account that regularly tweets how many cows there are in each Galician town hall and how many they touch per inhabitant), for, as he explains the very company that is behind the idea on the web in which it is presented, vindicating the rural world. If you want a cow pass in your town hall, they even have a form in which you can request it.

What is clear is, seeing the cow passage in the center of Santiago and the teenagers who pose in it, that the space will end up becoming an ‘Instagram moment’ and that it will have a lot of visibility. Seeing the passage of the cow, and seeing people waiting to take pictures, it is inevitable to end up thinking about how street advertising should be more and more experiential and more striking to surprise and conquer.

 

If this type of advertising wants to connect with consumers, it cannot be boring and it cannot blend into the background. It has to attract attention and it needs the consumer to interact with it. On the street, the pressure for engagement also came.

It has to attract the attention of the passerby

At the end of the day, you hope that the consumer takes their eyes off their mobile screen to dedicate it to your ad, so you must offer them something worthwhile, one way or another. Of course, this is the essence behind the boom in the increasingly sophisticated uses of digital signage, as happened with the viral and striking Tokyo giant cat, but it is also what is already being done with more ‘traditional’ advertisements outdoors. That is, the posters and urban elements take advantage of their full potential in a creative way to try to break with the routine and ‘hit’ the viewer.

It is not surprising, therefore, that ‘die-cut’ campaigns are becoming more and more common. In a shopping center in Vigo, for example, the ads that sell how they have approached cleanliness and build trust are giant humanized cleaner bottles. In the same city, the street furniture ads for the electric Xenera are accompanied by lightning. They are ads of the heap, yes, that change because they have that extra.

And there is also Leo Burnett’s latest campaign for DOOH by Don Limpio: the campaign was launched with the summer and turned the mupis in which he positioned himself into a kind of windows to see Madrid monuments in a different way. If you saw it so well it was because Mr. Clean cleaned it.

The outdoor advertising winners of the last Cannes Lions also reinforce these ideas. The campaigns that won did so with truly amazing, eye-catching and experiential actions.

One of the winners was the Burger King campaign that featured an image of a Whooper with the effects of the passage of time and another was a Heineken action on the bars of Argentina, Italy, Spain, Germany and Indonesia during the pandemic. They were closed spaces because of the anticovid measures.

 

The company allocates 10% of its budget to outdoor or street advertising annually: what they did to eliminate traditional outdoor advertising and pay directly to bars. The campaign was personalized with messages linked to the main bar. The action worked very well and was recycled with other brands of the giant. They were advertisements, but they were more than that. That is why they succeeded.

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