Why do so many DOOH campaigns still fall short?

Samantha Brault | March 14, 2019

“DOOH needs to break free from its traditional roots.”
While we in the industry know that digital out-of-home has become so much more than the traditional print roadside billboard, it would seem that many creative agencies, brands and media buyers have yet to get the memo. Oskar Op de Beke, creative lead at Kinetic Worldwide, is on a mission to change this.
Oskar moderated our Broadsign Summit creative panel at ISE this year, where he, Keith Nilsen from voodooh, and Ric Albert from Grand Visual, discussed the importance and future of dynamic and creative campaigns in the digital out-of-home industry. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out their panel, and read our Q&A below, where we turned the tables and asked Oskar a few questions of our own.

Q&A with Oskar Op de Beke

In a nutshell, what makes a successful DOOH campaign?

A good digital out-of-home campaign is one that has a strong effect in the moment, and has an impact on people who walk by. But a great DOOH campaign is one that also has a second life. This can be through different channels, like social media, but if it’s really interesting, it can be through more standard media types like TV, newspapers or creative awards.
This is usually acheived when the ad evokes an emotional impact on the audience. A great example of this is a recent campaign by the NHS health services, where the screens showed the location of local blood donation centers and what blood types they’re currently low on, in real-time. The fact that this had an impact on the neighbourhood made this campaign extremely sharable. This campaign was beautiful because it had an actual impact on the people on the streets, and this drove its second life online.

What are some of the main creative tactics that brands should use to make a great campaign?

I think the key thing to remember when creating a DOOH campaign is context. It’s what turns a DOOH campaign into an experience rather than just an ad. Out-of-home has so many variables and diverse contexts going on. When a campaign takes these variables into account, it has it’s greatest effect.
With DOOH, we have the tools available to create a unique and contextual ad for every screen and every location. This means more relevant ads for the audience, and gives brands more opportunities to make a true connection with the audience. And adding quality context to campaign doesn’t need to be difficult. Easy data integrations are simple with the tech available.
This can be done in a really simple way, as Dove did with their Times Square campaign. It’s elegant, extremely timely and had a true impact on the people who were in the streets at the time.

Given that it’s so easy to create great DOOH content, why do so many campaigns still fall short?

It’s a mystery that I think a lot of us in the out-of-home world are trying to solve, especially those of us who are directly connected to the big agencies and clients. In the end, I think it’s because digital out-of-home has undergone quite a quick renaissance in terms of switching from static to digital.
While this brought about many advantages and creative opportunities, DOOH is still very much seen as a traditional media type. It’s just the way it’s categorized in people’s minds and in the minds of creative agencies.
It can also be linked to the way the medium is bought. DOOH has many of the creative capabilities digital online has, yet it is mainly bought in traditional ways. All this together frames DOOH as a traditional channel, and in the minds of creative agencies, traditional is not very exciting. They want to stay away from boring and usually prefer to focus on online and social. This is why many creative agencies define themselves as digital-first. This means traditional channels, like DOOH, are often not top-of-mind when designing a campaign.
Luckily, this trend seems to be changing. More and more, digital out-of-home is being seen as a digital media type.  

How has programmatic made it easier to deliver amazing DOOH campaigns?

Programmatic is all about increased campaign efficiency. Not only can we create relevant content for the audience, but we can now also make sure it’s served at a relevant time. It’s all about being in the moment. Even a simple data feed, like current traffic, can really transform a campaign by serving different creatives given the data, or making the budget more efficient by only playing the ad when a certain criterion is met.
Programmatic is about developing a relationship with the audience by delivering contextual content, while also producing the least budget waste possible.

About Oskar


I have always had a passion for stellar advertising. Having worked in OOH now for about three years, I continue to appreciate the potential for OOH to deliver brilliant brand experiences on a daily basis for audiences on the move. I am half American and half Dutch, born and raised outside of Washington D.C. My studies delved into the world of human psychology and communication sciences, after which I entered OOH through the realm of innovation. I continue to find my place there, today, as the Creative Lead for the Benelux innovation team.