Weather Reactive Digital OOH - McDonald's McCafe Iced campaign
To promote the cold drinks available on its McCafé Iced menu, McDonald’s has launched a weather reactive digital OOH campaign.

Weather Reactive Digital OOH - McDonald's McCafe Iced

The UK-wide campaign showcased the brands’ latest cold drinks, just in time for Summer. Created by Leo Burnett, the bright campaign creative featured two cold drink products, “Strawberry Lemonade” and “Millionaire’s Frappe.”

When temperatures rose above 22 degrees Celsius, campaign creative was played out on screen. If temperatures rose above 25 degrees Celsius, campaign creative updated to also include the live temperature and city name. During the evening as the temperature dropped, the live temperature and city name was removed from the creative.

The campaign was produced by Grand Visual, with planning and buying by OMD and Talon. OpenLoop, the DCO ad server from ad tech specialist QDOT, took the weather API feed to update creative in real-time. Live from 27th May, the campaign will run through to 28th July 2019.

McDonald's McWeather Digital OOH
McDonald's McWeather Digital OOH
McDonald’s launched a national digital outdoor campaign that used MET Office real-time data to bring to life April’s unpredictable weather conditions.

In order to take part in Britain’s favourite topic of conversation, Leo Burnett London turned the McDonald’s menu into weather icons to represent the live temperature and 5-day forecasts.

For example, an unwrapped burger represents the sun, while an upturned box of fries signifies rain. There are eight different icons to show how volatile April weather can be.

Breaking on 26 April, the dynamic campaign ran for three days with media planning and booking by OMD and Talon, production by Grand Visual, and campaign management and distribution through OpenLoop.

Hannah Pain, Senior Brand Manager at McDonald’s said:

“We are very excited to be using some of our most loved products to join in the very topical April weather conversation.”

Ben Newman, Creative at Leo Burnett London added:

“Don’t trust the weatherman. This April, McDonald’s has got you covered.”

eBay brings colourful shopping inspiration to the streets in a UK-wide digital out of home (Digital OOH) drive designed to bring the online retailers vibrant product lines to life. Popular springtime pursuits and product lines are aligned to real-time weather conditions in a campaign that spans transit, retail and roadside environments and runs until the 8th April.

The campaign taps into those activities ritually undertaken at the start of the spring season and encourages passers-by to “shop like nobody else” and to “make springtime spectacular.” Colourful product offerings are then matched to real-time Met Office data, for example, promoting their range of gardening products during sunny days, or suggesting a wardrobe overhaul, or some home improvements during wet and cloudy conditions.

The automated campaign is agile, adapting to Britain’s turbulent springtime weather to contextualise its offering. Dynamic content is managed and delivered by QDOT, using the ad tech platform OpenLoop to analyse real-time Met Office data and distribute to multiple screen formats and networks across the UK.

The campaign was created by 72andSunny Amsterdam, produced by Grand Visual, with media planning and buying by MediaCom. The digital OOH activity supports a broader campaign created by 72andSunny, which runs across digital, social, radio, VOD and TV and encourages shoppers to break away from “beige”.

Gareth Jones, senior marketing director at eBay, said:

“This campaign shows eBay’s vibrant and colourful wears in a way that is responsive and useful and aligned with consumers mindset and surroundings in that moment. It’s great to be able to promote our marketplace in a way that is agile and tactical throughout the duration of the campaign.”

Dan Dawson, Chief Creative Technology Officer, Grand Visual, said:

“This campaign uses the medium as a real-time marketing platform that is plugged-in and responsive. Promotions are agile, tailored and contextually relevant. That is powerful.”

The coldest and darkest season of the year, winter is also one of the most magical. With plenty of celebrations, these dark nights are made brighter with illuminated pumpkins, fireworks and neighbourhoods draped in festive lighting. 

As people, we gravitate towards the light in the darkness – which is what makes winter a fantastic time for brands to shine with creative Out of Home (OOH) executions that dazzle audiences. Over the years, we’ve worked with many brands to illuminate cities, neighbourhoods and even the sky with creative OOH. 

In this blog, we’ll be exploring the ways in which we make this possible and why it’s important to break the mould to cut through this winter. 

Creative OOH Works 

Understanding the impact of creativity on consumer behaviour is crucial and catching a consumer’s eye can have a direct impact on sales. According to a Nielsen analysis of over 500 campaigns, creative elements contribute consequent purchase and sales 47%, followed by reach (22%), brand (15%), and targeting (9%). 

It’s important to remember that although a campaign may be planned effectively in terms of reach and audience targeting, if the creative is under par, this will impact campaign performance. 

Special Builds 

In the darker months, we’ve had the pleasure of creating and executing some incredible special builds for brands who want to stand out and make their creative work harder. Whether it be lighting, steam or even fire, these campaigns have ruled the market thanks to their creativity. BBC are a brand that has excelled at this time and time again: 

A special build for the TV show “Dracula” leveraged shadows to depict the vampire myth, revealing a terrifying silhouette only visible at nightfall. 

“A Perfect Planet” featured a billboard torn apart to reveal a devastating forest fire image, combining smoke machines and LED lighting for a striking effect, making it appear that the billboard was on fire. 

For “His Dark Materials,” a ‘breathing’ billboard, using steam, captured attention on dark winter nights. 

Projection Mapping: Winter’s Canvas 

Projection mapping opens doors to creativity in the darker winter months. Whether we’re delivering high impact mapped content onto iconic locations or delivering guerrilla messages at scale nationwide, we can take clients’ messages directly to their audiences in a disruptive and impactful way.  

For Nissan Formula E, innovative motion video mapping transformed the 110 The Queens Walk building into a giant, 150ft tall racing helmet. 

Glow in the Dark 

Projections can also be used in conjunction with murals, making them visibly dazzling in the dark evenings. 

YouTube Music’s artist murals, including one for the 1975 in Manchester, used projection mapping with incredible effect. 

MAC elevated its creative using projection mapping. 

Other techniques that enable brands to glow in the dark are UV-Reflective Paint, Black Light and Halo Lighting. By adding special lighting and ink onto elements of the poster or mural can help elevate the creative at night! 

For Baileys’ “HallowQueens” campaign, hand-painted murals near on-trade spots were enhanced for extra appeal. One featured glitter for sparkle, while another used metallic and glow-in-the-dark UV paint for a spooky effect. 

Experiential Brand Experiences 

Drone Activations 

Rising in popularity over the last few years, we’ve seen many brands and even the royal family use drones to captivate audiences in a unique way.

Drone light shows, using up to 1000 drones, create illuminated aerial formations, forming images and words in the night sky. The drone show from the Coronation Concert is one of our favourites.

Heated OOH: Cozy Surprises 

Embrace the chilly season with heated OOH. Installing special heating units at transit shelters offers a distinctive chance that thrives during the winter season.

John Lewis incorporated heated creative in bus stops, providing a cozy surprise with just a tap. 

Digital Creativity: Enhancing Emotional Engagement 

Strong creative messaging increases emotional engagement by 13%, especially through: 

Contextual Messaging 

Custom dynamic messaging integrates data feeds directly into the campaign creative. Updating the creative with messaging triggered by the time of day or by the weather, brings extra life to a campaign and increases brain response. 

Shake Shack’s use of dynamic digital OOH billboards in NYC for an interactive truffle hunt exemplifies this approach. 

Want to do something creative this winter? Get in touch with your Grand Visual representative or contact us using this form. 

Ad Club New York OOH Now 2019
Zevi Tilles, Account Director, shares his thoughts and feedback from last weeks Ad Club of New York’s annual Conference, OOH Now 2019.

Every year, I look forward to attending The AD Club of New York’s end of year conference. Getting to Pier 60 by the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan in December is a cold trip. However, once inside I’m always reminded of why the event is worth travelling to.

This year was no exception, and it was better than ever. The agenda centered around how data, technology, creativity, and the experience of OOH specialist teams, are leading growth and expansion across the industry. The view presented at the event promoted more focus on digital OOH and how the medium should move to utilize real-time triggers from time of day or weather to dynamic creative optimization at a greater scale. We also heard from brands using ad tech solutions that are giving their planners the ability to find locations where their audience over indexes and that allows them to optimize their digital OOH plans and creative accordingly, to drive contextual relevance and impact by using real-time conditions. 

There was an amazing session on THE CREATIVE CANVAS led by Dan Brill, Group Creative Director, Spotify, Travis Sterner, Director of Media, United Artists Releasing, Robin Tilotta, Director of Consumer Marketing, Twitter and Paul Woolmington, CEO, Canvas Worldwide. It was moderated by, Ed Herty, National Creative Director, Outfront Media. The panel was in agreement, creative storytelling is now informing the buy. Advertisers are looking to make DOOH interactive, contextual, and they want to personalize their messages to specific audiences based on time of day and in the moments that matter to the viewer. This was exactly the sentiment I was hoping for and it was coming directly from the brands! This is the type of ambition that will lead our channel to new heights in 2020.

The MEDIA BUYER SPOTLIGHT featuring: Andrew Weinstein, Manager, Rapport Worldwide, Fatima Winfrey, Group Director, OOH, Horizon Media, led me to believe that the agencies were coming to the same conclusions. Better creative and smarter standards drive superior outcomes.

Throughout the day, a recurring theme was discussed by the speakers. The sentiment being, OOH faces challenges as it moves towards a programmatic future, and how we collectively handle them will have an important impact in our industry. Particularly as omnichannel platforms are moving into digital OOH. It was highlighted that we need to make sure there is consistency in how impressions are reported. For digital OOH there needs to be independent third-party verification of campaign playout, including interactions and other campaign-specific metrics. We must provide advertisers with a level of transparency and accountability, to realize the full potential of programmatic digital OOH. 

Furthermore, advertisers and agencies need better workflow tools for the management and trafficking of digital OOH campaigns. These tools should be dedicated to quality assurance, distribution, and auditing of digital OOH creative. This will, in turn, accelerate the path from creative producers to media owners simplifying the management and delivery of DOOH creative across networks and platforms. 

In conclusion, a digital-first OOH mindset and added experiences through touch, gesture, recognition, mobile, social and experiential have marketers and brands excited! They are spending more time, measuring the outcomes, and investing more budget into the channel. 

I can’t wait to see what happens as we transition to the next decade for OOH in 2020!


Air quality sensor for digital OOH. Grand Visual.
When considering dynamic DOOH campaigns that use data, the mind automatically jumps to weather data such as temperature, precipitation and wind… however, there are a wealth of other data types available, from pollen counts to traffic jams. What we wanted to explore was the possibility of collecting hyper-localised air quality data, that could be used to update each piece of DOOH creative.

There are a plethora of different sensors available on the market that can detect gas levels. The sensor that we settled on was the MQ135 (catchy, right?) which can detect gases such as NH3, NOx, alcohol, Benzene, smoke, and CO2. Getting the readings of these substances in the air would give us a good indication of the current air quality.

By connecting the sensor to an Arduino and an LED strip, we were able to get a visual representation of the readings. Luckily, it seemed that the quality of air in our office was good, so we introduced some other pollutants to test.

Air Quality sensor for digital OOH.

The sensor we had displayed its readings on the screen in ppm (parts per million). The higher the number the more pollutants in the air.

This was the scale used to categorise the ppm ranges.

Results from air quality tests using an air quality sensor. Grand Visual.

With the demo working successfully the next step was to take it outside. So to make the kit portable, we set ourselves up with a 3D printed box to house the sensor along with a USB battery.

Then we headed out to get some measurements.

Results from air quality tests using an air quality sensor. Grand Visual.

Are you surprised by the readings? All 3 locations fell well within the “good” range, we definitely expected much higher readings in Piccadilly Circus compared to St James’s Park, but it was reassuring to see there was a difference.

For this example, we used an air quality sensor but there are sensors that can provide data local to a particular installation such as temperature, lightning strikes, rain detection and sound decibel levels.

We’re no strangers to dynamic campaigns that rely on specific data triggers, take for example this campaign for Elizabeth Arden which used location-specific pollution readings. Imagine how much more effective this could have been with hyper-localised, real-time readings. It’s still in the early stages, but we’re keen to keep looking into new and more creative data sources to power DOOH.

As Grand Visual’s resident Gen Z’er, Digital Marketing Apprentice, Charlotte Jones explores the power of Gen Z and digital OOH.

You wouldn’t be wrong to think that Gen Z came into the world with an iPhone in one hand and a MacBook in the other. We basically did. Born between 1995 and 2015, we’ve seen mobile phones go from this funny old Nokia to this technicolour dream…

Basically, a lot can change in 20 years.

As a generation obsessed with technology (not our fault btw), it surprised me to discover that 55% of Gen Z’ers favour OOH advertising because “it’s relaxing.” Theoretically, wouldn’t it make more sense to prefer online ads, given we’re life-long internet junkies?

According to another study, around 82% of Gen Z’ers are actually skipping online ads – and to be honest I’m not really that shocked, given how annoying they can be… So as a generation who regularly skip ads, why do we prefer OOH – a medium that we can’t skip?

I think Gen Z are drawn to billboards because digital OOH isn’t intrusive. It doesn’t pop up every time we watch a YouTube video or use the internet. We can choose to look at it or choose to ignore it. Plus it doesn’t know everything about us. It may be able to direct us to the nearest shop or inform us about the local weather, but it doesn’t know personal details like where we live or our online search history.

Digital OOH also makes for great social content. Seeing your favourite celebrity, on an enormous screen in a location as iconic as Times Square definitely calls for a picture or social post, doesn’t it? Also, have you ever seen somebody post a picture in front of an internet ad? No, that would be totally uncool.

Here are a few of my favourite examples of digital OOH campaigns which have gained massive Gen Z traction.

Netflix: Stranger Things 3

For one of Gen Z’s favourite, “bingeable” TV shows, Netflix decided to choose digital OOH to target the ad-blocking generation. With huge billboards in iconic locations such as Times Square, the campaign earned huge traction across social media; with fans snapping selfies and one fan even tweeting how “big” the show must be because of its Times Square billboards.

Little Mix

With over 30 million followers on their combined social media accounts, you could say that the British girl band Little Mix are popular! In fact, they’re so popular that over the Summer their US fans bought them a billboard in Times Square to promote their latest single. They used the ad to catch the girls’ attention online… which they did!

Hyundai X BTS

Personally, I’m not too keen on BTS but I cannot deny that their influence on Gen Z is anything short of phenomenal! In May 2019, the latest Hyundai X BTS advert premiered on the iconic digital OOH site, Piccadilly Lights. 

Hundreds of fans gathered around the famous London landmark to get a glimpse of the campaign. Photos and videos from the reveal were posted to social media, accumulating thousands of interactions from fans worldwide.

If you compare the BTS premiere to the Lights’ first-ever live stream from Victoria Beckham last year, the results are clearly visible. 


Victoria Beckham:

Whenever Gen Z is involved, a brand has a bigger influence on digital OOH than ever before!

You may be reading this whilst relaxing on your Summer holidays, but for consumers, the busiest quarter of the year is just getting started! 

With 28% of shoppers completing their Halloween shopping in September¹

And research from eBay showing that shoppers made two searches for “Christmas” every second on its site in August last year ²… it’s never too early for brands to start thinking about their outdoor campaigns for Q4.

Digital OOH Retail Insights

Consumers are constantly on the lookout for the best deals, and digital OOH has the ability to engage shoppers on-location, showcasing products and displaying offers in real-time.

Let us show you a few examples…

eBay Fill Your Cart With Colour

eBay brought shopping inspiration to the streets of the UK, with this colourful, weather-activated digital OOH campaign.

Estée Lauder Clinique Chubby Plump & Shine

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

Here’s an engaging Augmented Reality experience we created for Clinique to promote the launch of its latest product.

Topshop Autumn/Winter 2015

Here’s a linear digital OOH campaign we produced for Topshop to promote their highly anticipated Autumn/Winter collection.

Marmite Love It or Hate It

Controversial condiment brand, Marmite, enabled shoppers to join in with its interactive Christmas digital OOH campaign.

Want to discuss your upcoming digital OOH plans? Get in touch!

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.