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  • Writer's pictureAbhishek Thakur

5 ways to make your DOOH/OOH ads standout

The world of advertisement and communication is so vast and omnipresent that sometimes it becomes really hard to make your voice heard amongst all the clutter. Billions of dollars are spent every year in communication with one’s audience and making the presence felt. Yet despite all these efforts and leaps of innovation in the world of communication, things often go wrong. Many brands and ad firms often miss out on really basic to-do’s and know how’s.

Here are 5 things you can do to make your outdoor ads stand out!

1. Be Relatable

In advertising industry, knowing your audience is more than winning half the battle. Brands are increasingly shifting from conventional ad copies to texts that their audience can best relate to. Niche — hyperlocal targeting is the way forward as illustrated by multiple brands and ad agencies. Relatable ads do a better job than traditional advertisements in every possible aspect as best illustrated with the examples below:

Spotify — Hearing you!

This digital music and podcast streaming service was quite successful in creating advertisements that resonated with people. Spotify had the right content for the right place and for the right demographic which lead to creating out of home ads that spoke to its millennial audience.

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The Grinch (2018) — Speaking to you!

The Hollywood movie ‘Grinch’ was advertised in cities like New York and Los Angeles. The advertisers focused on hyperlocal messaging and connecting with the way people react to the things in their day-to-day life. They used these to advertise by taking their main character, Grinch, known for being mean and sarcastic.

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Zomato — The millennial’s Amul

If something recently did not only capture your eyes but also engulfed your mind, gave you a good laughter and made your day a tad bit lighter then that would be Zomato’s new OOH advertisements. Hyper-local, niche, quirky and relatable copies focused around things people connect with, easily, either with their day-to-day lives or recognise from pop culture, while being slightly different from the usual outdoor advertising you see in the country.

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2. Find new avenues

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” - George S. Patton

The old and traditional avenues for advertising don’t necessarily work on the millennial consumers who are used to speed and an ever-changing world. It’s high time to think beyond the norm.


The bench looks like a giant Kit Kat bar and reinforces the brand message of taking a break by inviting people to take a break by sitting and relaxing on the bench. Simple, memorable, cost effective and impactful. A very clever way of standing out while remaining consistent with their branding.

Another good example of out of the box outdoor ad is, The Hairdresser, United Kingdom. They used a medium sized tree asking people if they need a haircut.

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IBM also made an impact with its creative, out of the box advertisement helping people to protect themselves from rain and also rest on their unique benches on the street.

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3. Tailor to the medium

Ads creatives work best when they are tailored to the medium. As we talk about outdoor advertisement, advertisers should come up with something which is creative and serve the purpose of the medium like billboards, taxi tops, banners, etc.

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McDonalds used their iconic gold arches as directions as one approached close to their restaurant. Cropping the giant yellow M shaped arch into directional billboards and reducing the visuals to only what’s essential turned out to be not only one of the most creative ads we’ve ever seen and but also an ad creative that best exploits what the medium has to offer.\

The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer used support belts in the buses to advertise their watch, so anyone who wishes to can easily try on the Big Pilot’s watch. This ad is a classic demonstration of how creatively one can tailor ads to any medium.

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4. Follow Design principles

Following the right design principles creates harmony amongst the design elements and helps blend together into an outstanding final product. Here are the three key factors to make your ad effective from this perspective.

  • Contrast is a very strong element in any ad creative and particularly outdoor. The ad has no more than an exposure of few seconds often to make something readable or intriguing. Contrasting colours should be a no-brainier and yet many outdoor ads sport poor choice of colours resulting in bad outcomes.

  • Typography, also referred to as ‘font style’, plays an important role in creative advertising. The key is to use font sizes in order with decreasing importance of copy. to allow viewers to absorb the message from a far distance. Also, putting too much text can turn the viewer off.

  • Whitespace helps to let your designs ‘breathe’ and keeps your design neat and uncluttered. We associate a large amount of whitespace with luxury and sophistication, so using it effectively may be a way to bring the associations to your design. Multiple creators follow their own individual ratios of content and space.

While we think the above three points are the most crucial elements to create a good design, you are invited to read up more on this at the following blogs:

Shannel Wheeler does a great job at explaining design principles and various elements that go into creating a great design. Check out her Medium blog here .

Adobe’s blog on 8 best design principles also provides a great insight on how to make a good design.

5.Maintain Consistency

One needs to stay consistent with the way ads look. Consistent branding makes it easy for consumers to remember you, associate some colours with you, some texts with you or some emotion. This happens by maintaining consistency across the board i.e., same fonts, colours, style and similar messaging. That doesn’t mean one cannot try out different designs, copy and/or headlines; All it means is that one needs to make sure that the creative has certain sense of commonality in elements that reflects the brand in each and every creative.

For example, think Coca-Cola. Even if you don’t see the logo or name of the brand, it’s easy to recognize Coke by its famous red and white colours and fanciful typography. Despite launching multiple flavors and products, they have always maintained consistency in their branding and likewise in their creatives to a point where red reminds us of Coca Cola.

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Another relevant example is Cadbury, a brand which has always been consistent in bringing out new marketing campaigns stressing on the same message of ‘meetha’ and celebration which customers associate the brand. This has been a result of years of attention to consistency in their messaging.

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The five principles elaborated in so far are the ones that have been mastered by brands and ad companies that are successful in selling their products and services. While it is no rocket science it is not an easy thing either. Consistent efforts in optimizing and refining, long nights and lengthy hours invested into creating designs and writing copies that stand out — have all produced the success that these brands seem to enjoy.

This blog is an attempt to demystify the formula behind this success and we hope we are able to do it to an extent. If you are still wondering whether you should even consider outdoor ads or are struggling to design and execute your campaigns please reach out to us at , we’ll be more than happy to help.


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