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The Future of OOH or Just Another Piece of Content?

The Future of OOH or Just Another Piece of Content?

Scrolling has become a guessing game of ‘real or not real’ – and not just because of filters and FaceTune. As OOH (Out Of Home) advertising evolves into the newly coined term FOOH (Faux Out Of Home advertising), many advertising agencies are chasing the trend of creating CGI videos for clients – with varying degrees of success.

So, what the FOOH is going on? 

In an oversaturated timeline where social media trends tick over in a day, advertisers constantly try to answer the question ‘How do we make our clients stand out’? And no, the answer isn’t doing a TikTok dance to trending audio (and not just because when posting is finally approved, a new trend has taken over). Enter, CGI videos.

There are some benefits to agencies creating CGI videos for their brands. CGI videos naturally incite curiosity by prompting people to question the authenticity of the content they’re seeing. This sense of curiosity can organically boost brand searches on Google, or more commonly, on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, which 40% of young people are already using as their primary platforms for search – but that’s a topic for another day.

A perfect example is Maybelline’s CGI video that brought the long-lash effect of Maybelline’s Sky High Mascara to life on public transport across the city of London. With 76m views, 3m likes and 22.4k overwhelmingly positive comments on Instagram – it’s safe to consider the video a success.

Comments applauded the brand’s marketing efforts: “Give the marketing team a raise because this is fantastic” and others even implied that they will be swapping brands: “I will be buying sky high mascara now” and “Me: other brand mascara that rhymes with Schmoreal FOREVER. Me after this ad: 🤔🤔🤔”. Music to Maybelline’s ears!

This CGI worked because it had people both pondering reality and praising creativity. Incredible brand exposure was experienced, not only within the context of the beauty industry but also in the world of marketing as it brought the concept of FOOH into daily discourse. 

As people watch CGI videos online, the brands featured benefit from organic exposure. Racking up views is one way to measure success and boost brand awareness, but that doesn’t mean that audiences are actually resonating with the content.

What if the CGI video goes viral, but for all the wrong reasons? They say ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’ and whilst Britney shaving her head may have kept her on the map, surely brands would prefer a more positive approach to pause thumbs.

For example, Comfort Arabia imitated the CGI activation done by Adidas Dubai to celebrate Messi’s World Cup win but didn’t quite experience the same resounding encouragement. 

Manal and Ali, the two ‘comfort cloth’ mascots were edited into the Dubai Frame and whilst the video may have reached 14.4m views on TikTok and 302K on Instagram, comments left included “This is horrifying..”, “my brother is scared now and he won’t leave the house” and “It’s not cute it’s scary, the market would go down with this look.”

If the CGI technology used is low quality or unappealing, people may consider the product itself low quality or unappealing and therefore be more likely to not buy it. Not really the goal of a marketing campaign, is it?

With the views in the millions but the comments excessively negative, could the use of CGI by Comfort Arabia be considered successful? Clearly, the algorithm pushed the video due to engagement, particularly on TikTok, but it would be interesting to see the brand’s ROI and if there was even a small percentage of the 14 million viewers converted to Comfort after seeing the ad. Of course, there will always be haters, especially on social media where people love to throw shade from behind the safety of their keyboard, so – a grain of salt, taken.

If ultimately, the purpose of a CGI video is to increase brand awareness, the challenge is that, as people grow accustomed to these digital stunts, the shock factor is lost – which is the very foundation of why brand awareness and views increase. 

The Middle Eastern market is already saturated with every brand whipping up a CGI video to be shared on Lovin’ Dubai’s Instagram. Perhaps though, there is still room to explore in other markets, like the UK and Europe, where the concept is still relatively novel (throwback to Maybelline mascara on the tube).

At JWI, we believe a successful campaign strategy has an integrated, 360° approach and that utilising a marketing tool, such as a CGI video, should be part of a holistic campaign and not the only element. 

Not many people post run-of-the-mill ad campaigns on their own socials so a CGI video can be a fantastic marketing tool to boost sharing. Using a CGI video is a great way to drive consumers to your other content, but it shouldn’t just be the content. It’s like inviting people to a party but then when they arrive it’s just an empty room. Disappointing, isn’t it? 

If you’re going to use one, ask yourself these questions to ensure yours really stands out. Is your video grounded in reality? Does it have people pondering ‘real or not real?’. FOOH relies on ‘duping consumers’ but should be within the realm of familiarity with core brand objectives. It’s essential to remain consistent, even within this new medium to incite consumer curiosity. 

So, what does this mean from an overarching marketing point of view? The aim of drumming up brand recognition is to evolve into tangible consumer loyalty. Whilst it’s great to jump on trends and to be taking part in the marketplace – the main goal needs to be kept at the forefront of the campaign.