rp Reacts: The Return of OOH

Written by
redpepper Staff
redpepper Staff
multiple authors
Updated on
May 29, 2024 6:16 PM
Our experts weigh in on Glossier and Spotify's approaches to outdoor advertising in a post-pandemic world.

While city streets begin to see the hustle and bustle of rush hour return after a year of shutdowns, much of life is still happening from home as part of a new normal. However, 45% of consumers say they're noticing out-of-home advertising more now than pre-pandemic which leaves brands with a big question—what will the future of out-of-home advertising look like in a hybrid world?

Our team took a look at two brands tackling this head-on: Glossier and Spotify. Both brands have launched OOH campaigns that uniquely pay tribute to the year behind us, each through a different lens—while Glossier leaned into a new real estate opportunity in the wake of the pandemic by advertising on empty movie theater marquees, Spotify went the more traditional route, focusing on a message of appreciation for the creators who helped us all through a tough time. Here's what our experts had to say about the two approaches:

Each of these campaigns meets their audience where they are. Spotify was with us when we were home alone—or trying to drown out the Zoom call across the room. The ads tap into our cultural moment of gratitude, while at the same time letting Spotify enjoy the halo effect from the culturally relevant creators they showcase.

Buying mascara, on the other hand, kinda implies leaving the house, and looking forward to all the activities we missed. Putting ads on marquees catches the eye of all those people craving theater popcorn and does help support independent theaters—but it also does one thing marketers everywhere love. Put an ad where you aren’t expecting it, so you notice it.

Karla Jackson, Associate Creative Director

In a post-quarantine world, going outside more, feeling the sun on your face, hanging with your loved ones, and just being away from the home brings a new sense of hope and joy. Everything that was old is new again. OOH advertising has a unique opportunity to add to that joy and build on consumers' optimism.

Each of these campaigns used OOH as a cornerstone, but neither ran it in isolation, opting instead to create experiences that meet people across multiple points in their fragmented lives. Over and over we see that multimedia campaigns create better business outcomes than singular media tactics, and that couldn't be more true in this transition period as people become comfortable going back out into the world.

Madeline Condron, Sr. Account Director

Spotify was next to us throughout 2020 to provide entertainment, so invoking a sense of gratitude for those who provided us with relief and a sense of hope is a great play. Also, their copy enticed me to look up the highlighted song so I could understand the cultural reference and be in the "know," which is clever of them.

Glossier's campaign brings attention to closed theaters while everyone's nostalgic for going to the movies. Not only does this campaign put a new spin on how theater advertising can be executed, but it also helps support the individual theater--an industry that was hit hard financially by Covid. In true Glossier fashion, the installations also are a great way for the brand to encourage and generate UGC. It's a tough call, but I would have to vote Glossier for their ingenuity and support of struggling businesses.

Caitlin McCrary, Media Strategist

Spotify's OOH over the past few years will forever be my favorite--they are so clever and relatable. I also think if I were walking by one of these ads and hadn't heard the song before, I would be super inclined to pull my phone out and give it a listen right there to see what I was missing out on. There's a low barrier to entry for folks with the app (aka the majority of us), and their ads create the feeling that if you don't get the joke, you're probably behind.

Glossier was smart to present very Instagrammable moments on those marquees, which was a great way to meet customers where they are.

Clare Thomas, Account Executive

The thing both of these brands nailed is relevance. In different ways, both brands pay tribute to 2020 in authentic, meaningful executions.

Spotify reminded us of all the ways music, podcasts and artists helped get us through the solitude and stress. Glossier shines a light on the independent theater, which so many of us missed this past year. They not only found a clever way to capture our attention with this surprising medium, but managed to do so while financially supporting an industry that was hit hard in 2020. It's a tough call, but I think Glossier wins this rp reacts battle.

Samara Anderson, VP of Sales & Marketing

The brilliance behind Spotify’s wrapped campaign is that it creates community amongst strangers. In a year of isolation and polarization, they provide us with common ground by sharing what we all listen to.I love how they cater the messaging in each billboard to the area surrounding it, further showcasing the community around them.

Taylor McFerran, Strategist

There’s something powerful about seeing a brand like Glossier that is known for keeping user-generated content as a core part of its marketing strategy advertising on empty movie theater marquees.

2020 flipped industries upside down—while movie theaters figure out whether the entertainment industry’s current business model is going to work anymore, emerging media forms like UGC are thriving in their place (in this case, literally). Glossier’s campaign is not only creative, but it also captures the shifts and innovation necessary to compete in a post-pandemic marketplace. 

Carrie Polen, Sales & Marketing Coordinator

Spotify's OOH campaign mixes two things I love: gratitude and humor. It's creative and reminds us to reflect on the resilience we've all had to embody over the last year, while giving due credit to the artists who helped make that a little more possible.

Glossier's campaign gets points in my book for being creative and taking advantage of a new ad real estate opportunity, but I have to be honest--it just kind of reminds me of how sad I am that movie theaters are closed. I'm all for innovative marketing, but I'm not ready to say goodbye to theaters.

Jesse Spear, Media & Content Marketing Strategist

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