BBC Sounds OOH
London, 5th October 2020 – The BBC is launching a new augmented reality out-of-home experience to celebrate its BBC Sounds offering.

The push was developed by BBC Creative in partnership with media agency Havas Media Manchester, out-of-home specialists Talon Outdoor, digital out-of-home production company Grand Visual and media owner JC Decaux.

In order to build an understanding and love of BBC Sounds and help make it the go-to audio app amongst 16 to 34-year-olds, the BBC has created a bespoke augmented reality bus shelter installation to celebrate the BBC Sounds brand offering of Music, Radio and Podcasts.

BBC Sounds OOH

Static six-sheets on the exterior of the shelter, which is located in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens, invite people to come inside and try out the augmented reality experience. The digital screens inside the shelter are triggered by the presence of people, ‘morphing’ audiences using different filters to illustrate how Music, Radio and Podcasts have the power to make you feel moved. The changing visuals are accompanied by audio content from the three offerings.

The augmented reality technology used enables people to interact with the installation in a Covid-safe way, with no touch required. It has also been tested to ensure the recognition element still works when passers-by are wearing face masks.

Andrea Taylor, Media Portfolio Lead, BBC Sounds, said: “If sound is the most powerful sense, our ambition with this activation is to release that power on our audience. In every asset, every emotion and every interaction we create, we want to move people by the power of BBC Sounds.”


Lucy Barnes, Strategy Partner, Havas Media Manchester, said: “We know the people we’re trying to reach want authentic experiences, so with this campaign we needed to ‘show not tell’ why BBC Sounds is relevant to them. We are presenting the power of BBC Sounds to them in their moments of need, on their commute or their way home, with an immersive, reactive and personalised experience that should help make Sounds their audio app of choice.”


Nadiya Abubakar, Production Director, Grand Visual, added: “Using interactive digital OOH is a great way to really engage with the audience and a create memorable experience. This campaign with BBC really demonstrates how clever use of technology combined with eye-catching creative really brought the BBC Sounds experience to life.”

Our Creative Technologist, Jon Jones explores the changes we’ve seen in Augmented Reality (AR) technology, from our first to most recent and viral campaigns.

For 15 years, Grand Visual has been at the forefront of the digital OOH landscape. From the first time we ever used AR, for a Lynx campaign (2011), to the most recent work we did for Amazon (2019), it’s safe to say that we’ve had the opportunity to work on some pretty impressive AR executions.

With both feet firmly in a new decade, I’ve decided to take a look back at this journey with 2020 vision to predict what this year will bring – from tech innovation to best in class examples of AR in OOH.

The key technological change I’ve seen in AR technology is the improvement in the way that we automate it. For the Lynx campaign we did back in 2011, the AR process was entirely manual. Every single transition, vision mixing to the screen, and sending the resulting photo back to the user, each element was manual. This sort of process inherently doesn’t lend itself to any kind of longevity regarding activation times.

Fast forward to a campaign we did for Spider-Verse exactly seven years later and we were able to run the activation for over a month without any human interaction. This is in part down to the huge amount of improvement with the live graphics technologies that enable us to automatically apply visual effects to our camera feed.

Another development I’ve noticed is the scalability of which we’re able to deploy AR. Back in 2014, we worked on one of our most memorable AR campaigns of all time for Pepsi MAX. Still to this day, the campaign accounts for the majority of our website leads and is constantly shared on social media.

Back then, this use of AR in digital OOH was unique and only achievable on a small scale. However, with Snapchat lenses and filters launched the following year, a wider audience was introduced to the world of Augmented Reality. This technology is something that now exists in everyone’s back pockets and has become commonplace. Whilst it’s enjoyable to keep celebrating this award-winning campaign, it’s essential to keep looking towards the future and planning our next big project.

In 2020, when it comes to creative technology and AR executions, a key consideration is how to make these scalable and shareable experiences. Over the years we have seen inventory change in such a way that means Augmented Reality is no longer limited to a one-off stunt, and can be a more ingrained part of a campaign’s creative, like this campaign we did for O2 Goslings in 2017.

Keeping our finger on the pulse of the latest tech advances, 5G may bring quite a few benefits, provides us with a great opportunity to continue to push the boundaries of DOOH. Although, of course, it’s the creative idea behind any execution that brings success and not necessarily the most advanced technology.

This year we will keep on innovating and exploring the technology available to us, with a focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and 5G. Augmented Reality is at the heart of some of our best interactive campaigns and we expect this to continue and evolve. Last decade was all about growing and introducing AR technology to the digital OOH landscape; we can’t wait to see what the next decade brings. 


Mo-Sys StarTracker
Jon Jones, Creative Technologist

You may be familiar with The Weather Channel’s immersive mixed reality depicting the effects of flooding caused by hurricanes, or perhaps appreciated the BBC’s use of Augmented Reality during their 2019 Wimbledon coverage. These effects were made possible by Mo-Sys’ StarTracker technology.

We were invited down to Mo-Sys’ studio and development centre recently to see their kit in action. It was certainly impressive to see a demonstration in real life and how the tech works behind-the-scenes.

Mo-Sys StarTracker

Reflective dots are attached to the studio ceiling and Mo-Sys’ StarTracker sensor calculates where in the studio the camera is – even when the camera moves. The data is then passed on to a computer that generates the Mixed Reality environment. This is where graphics can be put in front or behind the subject within the 3D environment in real-time.

The Weather Channel - Mo-Sys

Here, you can create anything from a photo realistic to a cartoon superhero world. The tech can use the latest in ray tracing rendering in the Unreal engine.

Imagine bringing Hollywood-grade CGI techniques and graphics to an OOH activation – experiences would be more immersive than ever before! The beauty of this tech is its ability to render graphics on the fly, rather than having to have them pre-rendered to make the experience. With this evolution we now have the ability to create activations where participants are able to interact within a 3D AR environment.

We worked with mixed reality on the Disney Infinity project, which used Chromatte and keying technology. Whilst this project was a huge success, imagine what we could have achieved with the technology that exists today. Being able to create, track & react with participants in the 3D environment offers activations like these a level of flexibility that was previously unobtainable.

Disney Infinity Grand Visual

Envision being placed in the same 3D space as, say a character from your favourite TV show, where you and the camera would be able to move around giving the appearance of them actually being there next to you. It’d be a great experience and takeaway video!

It’s awesome to see such advances in technology and the creative ways they are being applied, like with the Weather Channel. It makes this a very exciting space to be working in. We’re really looking forward to seeing how this will be used across the wider industry and in particular the creative opportunity tech like this brings for digital OOH.

To celebrate a decade of Marvel heroes in cinema, Marvel Studios: Ten Years of Heroes exhibition was launched at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore.

The exhibition which launched in June 2018, promised to take fans ‘up close and personal’ with every aspect of the Marvel Universe. From a dance-off with baby Groot to an Iron-Man replica standing at over 16 feet tall – Marvel definitely kept their promise. The tech-driven exhibition even boasted an interactive activation giving fans the opportunity to open a time portal – just like the hero Doctor Strange!

Augmented Reality Doctor Strange Marvel

In collaboration with Beast Kingdom, we re-versioned our pre-existing application from a previous interactive experience, for the new Doctor Strange exhibit.

Augmented Reality Doctor Strange Marvel

In the exhibition, users were invited to ‘stand here to control reality’ with a glowing green rune displayed on the screen. The gesture-based experience got users to draw a circle in the air with their hand in order to spin the rune and reveal the burning portal. As the portal opened, it revealed a live camera feed from another location at a nearby Mall. A temporary bridge was created connecting the two locations for a few seconds before the portal closed.

Augmented Reality Doctor Strange Marvel

By using augmented reality we were able to bring the powers of Doctor Strange to life, offering the public a chance to try their hand at being the Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. Digital technology has become a powerful tool for the entertainment industry, not only does produce some of the best creative campaigns, but it can also be used to heighten an audience’s interaction with a brand. Previously, fans of the Disney Marvel movies could only dream of having powers like Doctor Strange’s – but creative use of technology made those dreams into a reality.

An interactive digital OOH campaign for clinique's new chubby, plump & shine liquid lipstick

In May this year, Estée Lauder implemented an interactive digital OOH experience as part of their campaign celebrating the launch of Clinique’s new Chubby Plump and Shine liquid lip gloss.

The campaign, featured in Birmingham and Manchester, used an Augmented Reality experience to give passers by the opportunity to star in their own personalised Clinique Chubby Plump and Shine advertisement. Produced by Grand Visual, the experience was created by layering a pink filter over the busy street. Using in-built camera technology, it would pick up when people stepped into the frame and draw a love heart around them with the featured lip gloss.

The successful digital OOH campaign captured and maintained the attention of people for longer than any other campaign running at that time, recording significantly higher engagement.

The campaign planned and booked by Talon, with production by Grand Visual, using The Loop’s camera technology from Signature Outdoor.

Recreating the Lynx Angel Ambush augmented reality activation at Mindshare Huddle 2014

Last Thursday saw the annual Mindshare Huddle 2014, and GV was present to offer attendees the opportunity to play with some of our augmented reality OOH tech.

Our goal was to pull back the curtain on some of our recent award-winning AR campaigns, and give Mindshare employees, clients, and partners an opportunity to participate in a fun, practical demonstration of how we went about creating campaigns for brands such as Lynx, Pepsi, and Nike.

In six sessions spaced throughout the course of the day, participants had the chance to put themselves into the creative of one of our ground-breaking DOOH campaigns, such as Lynx Angel Ambush, Nike Pledge, and Rocky Balboa.

Ric Albert, Jon Jones, and Mike Farance of Grand Visual presenting at Mindshare Huddle 2014

The GV team, featuring Digital Director Ric Albert, Account Director Ben Smith, Producer Tom Stimson, and Technologists Jon Jones and Mike Farance, explained how we develop an augmented reality activation from the creative brief though to live campaign — including copywriting, storyboarding, motion graphics, green screen videography, and camera tech. There was also plenty of time left for those seeking even greater detail to ask questions.

Irina and Casey of Mindshare at the Grand Visual augmented reality presentation at Mindshare Huddle 2014

Around forty Mindshare’s employees, clients, and partners took part over the six sessions, spraying angels with deodorant, taking augmented reality selfies of themselves being featured on virtual Nike billboards, and running alongside Rocky Balboa. We’ve created a gallery of participant performances, and also cut together a compilation video of the day’s activities which can be viewed on a dedicated microsite.

Recreating the Lynx Angel Ambush augmented reality activation at Mindshare Huddle 2014

We thank Mindshare for hosting the event, and inviting us to participate. We hope that those who joined us during the day left with a greater understanding of augmented reality in out of home, and that it may lead to some innovative AR campaigns in the future.

Will and Jon of Team GV at Mindshare Huddle 2014

Pepsi MAX Bus Shelter Augmented Reality interactive digital OOH

Pepsi MAX has launched the next stage of their ‘Unbelievable’ campaign, with a cutting-edge DOOH stunt which revolutionises how we see city streets.

Pepsi MAX AR Bus Shelter Balloons

The technology, which is currently exclusive to Pepsi MAX, was launched on one of London’s busiest roads, New Oxford Street. A Bus Stop digital 6-sheet was transformed to show a live feed of the street ahead and give the illusion of a see-through display. However, as people wait and watch, a series of incredible scenarios unfold on the street, instantly whisking Londoners away from their ordinary environment and placing them into something completely unbelievable. Commuters could be faced with a giant robot crashing through Oxford Street, or catch a glimpse of a passerby being abducted by flying saucers.

This creative concept is part of PepsiCo’s integrated campaign for the UK which brings Pepsi MAX’s ‘Unbelievable’ combination of maximum taste AND no sugar to life. It follows another media-first from Pepsi MAX in February which saw consumer generated Vines integrated across DOOH sites. The latest stage of the campaign, planned by OMD UK, bought by Talon, created by AMV BBDO, with production and creative technology by Grand Visual: combines the DOOH platform with state of the art augmented reality technology.

Pepsi MAX AR Bus Shelter Robot

The content created on Oxford Street has been caught on video and seen over 8 million times!