Creative juices: Why the Out of Home LED screen is the ideal blank canvas

Digital Out of Home’s popularity is increasing year by year, yet in New Zealand the creativity across the medium can be lacklustre. Here, LUMO Digital Outdoor’s Head of Design and Production, Jamie Snow, explains how brands can make something truly memorable.

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things a different way.”

So said author and philosopher Edward De Bono, best known for his ‘Six Thinking Hats’. It was De Bono who inspired many to look at things differently in order to communicate new ideas before his passing just last month.

I feel as individuals within the creative industry we’re good at being able to look at things differently. We can look at a medium and think ‘how can we break the mould and do something exciting and new’?

Our process and creativity is a permanently untapped resource. It’s what drives results and provides us the coveted audience engagement and brand recognition we crave. 

However, there is one area where I feel our output isn’t all it could be.

When it comes to creative thinking, digital out-of-home (DOOH) in New Zealand is behind the times.

No capping creativity

Even though Kiwis are known for creative prowess, why does this talent disappear as soon as we have to think about OOH campaigns?

As soon as a TVC or radio ad is conceived, creatives become new-age Picassos – daring and explorative. But when it comes to creativity in Out of Home, often the best our market sees is akin to your kids’ preschool art.

Even on our own shores we’re often bested by international brands.

Take for example, South African beer brand Lite, which installed temperature tracking devices on commercial fridges, broadcasting real time results of temperatures on digital screens to show people where they could get the coldest beer.

The digital OOH sector now represents over 70 percent of all OOH ad spend in New Zealand, yet the creative output from agencies for their OOH strategy does not match the investment.

There is so much more opportunity to be had with DOOH. All it takes is a little bit more ‘right brain’ thinking.

Lab created creatives

Individuals within creative agencies have an opportunity now to really look at DOOH and how it can be used to convey a brand message in exciting ways.

However, it’ll help if they’re willing to lean into businesses who know the medium best.

Lumo Labs is New Zealand’s first DOOH specific creative hub for marketers, and we feel like its arrival is well timed. More and more agencies have been leaning on its software for professional input into how to supercharge creativity for OOH campaigns.

One of our main tasks with Labs is to educate the industry on the creative capabilities of DOOH. The more the market knows about the medium, the more it will be willing to take chances and try something new.

We’re lucky to have some very creative clients that recognise the opportunities that DOOH provides. Garage Project is an example of a simple campaign executed creatively with a straightforward dynamic display.

The craft beer brand rolled out two ads, one displaying a live 5pm to 6pm countdown every day and a second creative that appeared whenever the temperature was above 22 degrees. The artwork itself is minimalist, but the outcome was engaging and effective.

Fire & Emergency delivered New Zealand’s first dynamic programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) campaign with their ‘Keep a metre from the heater’ campaign using live temperature readings to serve different dynamic DOOH creative executions encouraging Kiwis to comply with safer heater use behaviours as winter kicks into effect.

Or consider Radio Hauraki. With a direct feed from the studio to LUMO’s billboards, the producers targeted their key market with live sound during the morning shows.

This creative campaign also took home the gold at the Pixel Awards, Lumo’s awards celebrating creativity in DOOH. The awards aim to showcase the best of creative thinking and through the process we’ve been able to shine a light on campaigns that have truly thought outside of the box (or screen).

This year as we reintroduce the Pixels in its new and improved format, we’re hoping to not only see the true creativity that can be harnessed through DOOH, but also inspire the market to rethink their strategies.

The DOOH medium is an exciting one, and one that continues to account for more ad spend year on year.

Now more than ever. There’s a need for more engaging and exciting content projected onto these screens.

Contrary to popular belief, creativity can’t be used up. The more you use the more you have. So for the benefit of clients and the audiences, let’s try and think a little more creatively about our OOH campaigns.

After all, every medium has its own Picasso hidden somewhere.

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