The Power of Storytelling and DOOH

Published: December 16, 2021

The overabundance of ads appearing on social media, billboards, newspapers, radios, email, and more, has created an unavoidable overload of information. When given the opportunity, audiences either tune out, block, or skip ads, which can negatively impact the user's brand experience. 

Today's modern consumers are more interested in a brand's narrative - the identity and way it communicates with its audience. Paul Zak, a neuro-economist, found through his research that our brains produce the stress hormone cortisol during an intense moment in a story and oxytocin, the feel-good chemical, which creates connection and empathy with the potential to affect our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. 

Therefore, brand storytelling is an essential and subtle approach to not only grabbing audiences' attention but engaging them on a much deeper level, creating brand trust and loyalty. So how do advertisers' find a suitable format to showcase brand stories in front of their consumers? Out-of-home advertising, in particular, is an excellent medium because, unlike TV, mobile, or online ads, it cannot be ignored or blocked. And people are more likely to take notice of advertisements while they are outdoors, with nearly half of US adults saying they noticed an OOH advertising more than before the pandemic. 

More so, the process and automation of buying and selling OOH advertising has become more accessible, flexible, and state-of-the-art. With real-time delivery and environmental triggers, programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) brings a brands' narrative, content, and stories to life on enormous canvases, making a high-impact and reaching audiences on a one-to-many medium format. Environmental triggers, relevant messaging, and interactive and engaging content allow brands to connect with the right consumers on a personalized and flexible level that is guaranteed to make an impression. 

Programmatic DOOH allows advertisers to tell a more impactful and innovative story while gaining a competitive edge. Data integration and dynamic messaging enables brands to create a continuous story that interacts with audiences everywhere. And brands can extend their campaign by integrating into other mediums, such as videos online, in order for audiences to respond and interact with their ads. 

For example, British Airways launched the “Magic of Flying” DOOH campaign, in which audiences interacted with their planes overhead. The custom-built technology tracked the aircraft and triggered the ad display just as it passed over, revealing a child pointing to the airplane accompanied by its flight number and destination. The company created a video of the campaign, which generated over 45 million social impressions in 118 countries worldwide and has been awarded 60 times, including at the Cannes Lions Festival and Grand Prix at the Clios. The campaign reminded audiences how magical flying can be with a simple yet compelling story, which is why it yielded such a great end result. 

DOOH campaigns that feature highly-emotive stories improve retention and influence purchasing decisions long after the campaign is finished. Women's Aid, a string of charities across the UK that fights for women's rights and the end of domestic abuse, launched their Blind Eye awareness DOOH campaign featuring a woman who appeared to have bruises on her face. With facial recognition technology, the brand could tell when audiences were looking at the screen, and once audiences noticed the ad, the woman's bruises began to fade. The campaign aimed to make people understand their role in eradicating domestic abuse by not turning a blind eye. Overall, the campaign created awareness surrounding domestic abuse in 20 countries and reached over 300 million people. 

Context is extremely important in regards to telling a story with an outdoor campaign. Kevin Mulroy, Executive Creative Director of Mischief, discussed a DOOH campaign he worked on for Alpha Foods called ‘Chickenflation.’ The plant-based protein marketer used the surge in chicken prices to fuel their campaign strategy: ‘every time the price of chicken wings went up, the price of their plant-based chicken nuggets went down.’ The best way to compare these price differences was a dynamic billboard displaying real-time data from NASDAQ. The campaign was a huge success, earning over 16 million impressions, generating a significant increase in website visits and half of their purchases from new customers.  

The power of storytelling can raise brand awareness, increase consumer engagement, and create lasting brand loyalty. And with digital outdoor advertisements, advertisers can reach their intended audiences with the right messaging at the appropriate time. So what are you waiting for? Capture audiences' imagination with storytelling across 500,000 DOOH screens today. If you're ready to plan and launch your DOOH campaign, our team of experts is prepared to help at no charge to you! Contact us at

Written By: Julia Cramer

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