Using Twitter and outdoor in tandem (06/06/13)

Using Twitter and outdoor in tandem

The growth of mobile has been monumental and for many people has become the main route onto the internet rather than the desktop PC. With the continual rise of mobility we are starting to see how Twitter and Out of Home advertising could come together as perfect bedfellows.

Job hopeful Adam Pacitti (pictured) bought one billboard with his last £500 outside Kilburn station in London. In just two days it went global. 30,000 people looked at his CV on YouTube and he gained over 10,000 followers on Twitter with 13,500 retweets for the image of his billboard.

The success was down to the human interest that created a genuine reason to go past the poster into the online extension of that communication, namely, then quickly logging on to Twitter trending to discuss that natural interest. With no professional media training, Adam went and bought a poster because to him that was the most visible form of communication in his community offering a chance to start the process. To quote Adam himself "œit wasn't as simple as renting a billboard and I actually spent several months developing a multi-platform viral advertising campaign with full social media integration. People liked the billboard, mostly."

For those of you who've read up on Adam this wasn't his first global media stunt, but for the millions who ended up following this amazing story it started with a poster, with a simple message armed with a call to action.

We already know Outdoor and mobile search complement each other. Although there's research from the Outdoor Media Centre showing Outdoor is more effective at delivering search than any other medium, it's obvious really; when you see something interesting you naturally end up searching it.

With no such thing as dead time, increasing numbers of us are always switched on, taking every opportunity to pull out our phones and scan our personalised story board. The personalisation of this is key; users allow friends and brands to continually feed them with information and content deemed to be relevant and valuable to their lives. Given the propensity to search on mobile devices when Out of Home and the role Outdoor advertising plays in driving this, all the signs are that both together have the potential to be hugely powerful, but with a cautionary note. The answer is not to whack a Twitter logo on a poster and hope for the best. It's not going to work if the creative doesn'™t excite and invite the consumer to take part. If the brand wants consumers to engage, they need to do more by getting smarter with the creative.

When brands historically put a phone number on a poster, the measure of a poster's success was how many people phoned the number; anyone in posters will tell you we struggled to prove that worked and could yield results . The challenge in driving that connection and action comes back to creativity. What do we want or expect the consumer to do; is the creative, message, call to action appropriate in delivering that and are we measuring the most relevant outcomes?

There is now a lot of activity going on Twitter and Facebook and if that's where you want to take your customers then more should be done to get that message clearly across rather than just including a logo almost as an afterthought and hoping that'™s one of the things that might happen.

Shouldn't communication across outdoor and Twitter start to support a brand's activity in a more obvious way than it currently does? Not every brand can capture imaginations in the same way Adam Pacitti did, but some can.

Posters generate emotion and subliminally start to influence consumer'™s perceptions of products. The rise and rise of social media means brands can start joining up poster communication with something that then happens on Twitter.

The more brands can enhance our lives, the more we want them to be part of our lives. In this respect brands need to do more with outdoor in tandem with social because it plays perfectly into the hands of what a poster does, that is to build brands.

Chris Forrester is Commercial Director at Primesight.