Dan Dawson, Chief Creative Officer, Grand Visual

Dan Dawson, CCO Grand Visual

With travel restrictions still in place across much of the world and varying degrees of lockdown hindering our out of home movement and daily lives, the impact on the OOH medium has been significant. Arguably the biggest media win of the lockdown is the nationwide embracing of various digital technologies to help us stay connected. Connected to colleagues, connected to family and friends, our education and healthcare systems, and even connected to my local fruit and veg store who now offer online shopping – unheard of before Covid-19, this really is creative innovation.

Lockdown has also been a time of reflection and space to think about what comes next. When social distancing measures are relaxed, how will the OOH medium be used creatively? OOH, media will likely be at the highest occupancy level and space will be at a premium.  Advertisers may need to consider inventory outside of the traditional main players. 

Budgets and timelines for creative production will also be hit hard as companies prepare for what the media suggest might be a global recession. With these conditions, advertisers will need outstanding creativity now more than ever. Creative that cuts through the noise and engages the audience in a memorable way as they reacquaint themselves with the great outdoors.

Resonate with Mindset 

Consequently, brands need to ensure that the money they spend on OOH media works harder than ever. Creative needs to stand out through timely delivery, with messages that align to the time of day, location, and consumer purpose to be useful. By resonating with the audience mindset it is possible to create deeper emotional connections with people as they go about their ‘new normal’.

There have been massive advancements in smart audience planning over the last few years, data tools that not only helps OOH to get tactical with behavioural targeting but also informs the right creative message, tone or brand to prioritise from a subset. Linking your smart media planning to smart creative will drive media effectiveness, as we deliver the messages at the right moments for your audience’s mindset.

Get Scalable 

With budgets inevitably constrained, the need for production efficiency on large OOH media plans is immediate. Advertisers need to work with digital OOH production partners who offer scalable content mastering and creative re-versioning for OOH, to capitalise on the efficiencies for delivering DOOH creative to multiple formats, environments, durations and ratios. One that has the ability to act for local, regional, continental or global markets, potentially requiring thousands of pieces of creative for each campaign. 

Be Contextual 

With occupancy on OOH expected to be high as soon as the global lockdown begins to ease,  only a finite amount of space will be available, so being smart about your creative and ensuring it is topical to the environment will be more important than ever. 

A recent study from Clear Channel revealed that creative OOH executions were 32% more effective if they are contextually relevant. We know from experience that dynamic creative delivers effectiveness  – for creative as well as media. Contextual messaging is not just for the big digital and technology brands of the world, we’ve worked on campaigns for airlines, retail, food, beverage, automotive and FMCG brands that all prove the same incredible results. 

Go Bespoke

With standard OOH and DOOH media space selling fast, advertisers will have the chance to broaden their reach in the OOH space by looking at locations, formats or experiences that they would not usually have considered. Immersive experiences and ambient outdoor activations help brands stand out in a cluttered environment and create deeper emotional connections with audiences. 

Recent neuroscience research led by Ocean Outdoor found that engaging with consumers through interactive experiences on DOOH creates deeper, more memorable connections to your brand. As a big AR enthusiast one of their key stats stood out to me: “The use of augmented reality using image detection equated to a four times stronger impact of memory encoding.”

Get Social 

We don’t need to actually be outdoors to appreciate outdoor work. Social and OOH are natural bedfellows, platforms helping other platforms. Interactive experiences help to spread the message beyond the OOH medium it’s initially displayed on as participants share their experience online with friends and family. So the ability to ‘socialise’ special builds, murals, interactive experiences into incredible multi-format campaigns will be a real winner in the second half of 2020 and beyond. Again some interesting findings from the same Ocean research noted that adding social media capabilities to your campaign can make it 4 times more memorable for consumers. 

As lockdown restrictions continue to relax, and people reacquaint themselves with the great outdoors, those advertisers who invest in OOH media but underinvest in creativity risk missing the mark in terms of brand stand out, campaign effectiveness and ultimately ROI. As an industry, we have a duty to these advertisers to help them navigate what will likely be a crazy H2 for 2020. We face some tough economic and emotional times ahead, as we endeavour to get ‘back to normal’. As life OOH starts to open up there will undoubtedly be challenges, so it is vital for advertisers to ensure they have the right creative support for their brand, agency, budget, timeline and ambition. 


Grand Visual Team New Hires 2019
After a great start to a people-focused 2019, we are excited to announce that we have expanded with five new team members!

Grand Visual Team New Hires

We can’t wait to see what they will bring to our team and hope you’ll join us in welcoming them and wishing them all the best. Bolstering our ranks are:


Gwen Kotschy, Head of People commented:

We refined our recruitment process this year and it’s great to see this paying off and to be welcoming five brilliant additions to the team.  Grand Visual has great heritage in nurturing Junior talent, some of whom are now our longest standing members of the team. I’m thrilled that 3 of our most recent hires are for Junior positions! And on that note, we’re not done with recruitment yet! Please take a look here at our most recent Junior positions currently open in the Creative team…


Grand Visual Team Promotions
At Grand Visual, we like to think that people are at the heart of what we do.

It’s the people behind our campaigns that really matter. Without them, transporting New Yorkers into the Spider-Verse and enabling shoppers to dance with Mickey Mouse wouldn’t have been possible! 

Each year, we have grown from strength to strength, not only as a company but as a team. Here at Grand Visual, we are invested in developing the careers of our people, and fully recognising the efforts and growth of individuals over the last 12 months. With that being said, we are very proud to announce that:


Gwen Kotschy, Head of People, Grand Visual & QDOT commented:

The many promotions across Grand Visual are a testament to not just our wonderful team but also how the business rewards and acknowledges it’s talent. And with further growth across Production, Creative and Technical teams planned for this year, we’re looking forward to a people-focused 2019!’


If you would like to join our team then please keep an eye on our Current Openings, Twitter & Linkedin.


A digital screen featuring the programmatic creative DOOH campaign 'Google Outside'

Programmatic is an industry hot topic right now; from Ad Blocking to proof of performance and ROI. Today’s issue of Campaign investigated an element of programmatic which is particularly close to our hearts at Grand Visual — the approach needed from a creative perspective to facilitate programmatic campaigns.

As Kate Magee from Campaign writes, “The automation involved in the process has seemed at odds with the more serendipitous nature of creativity”. The argument between ‘creative’ vs ‘technology’ sways either way depending on who you speak to. Our approach at Grand Visual has always been to use technology in way which enhances the messaging. It’s interesting to see the high profile nature of this ‘programmatic creative’ discussion when you consider that digital OOH has been delivering on this for a few years already.

With OpenLoop, we have been making creative messaging more contextual and more relevant for years now. Google Outside is a great example of what a programmatic approach can do in DOOH. Managed through OpenLoop the campaign delivered relevant messages in real-time based on location, weather and other environmental factors. Benadryl was another campaign, which featured a programmatic approach, rather than a blanket two-week booking, geo specific messages were only displayed when the right factors were met, ensuring that there was little wastage.

Programmatic creative for DOOH is alive and well and has been delivering for years on various levels. It is not just about data, it is about being smarter with our creative endeavours and delivering messages that are relevant to time, audience demographic, location and mindset. It is programmatic that can’t be blocked or ignored, it is relevant, dynamic and creative and where the future of this industry lies.

Image for the Ocean Digital Creative Competition 2015

Now in its 6th year, Ocean Outdoor’s Digital Creative Competition results were revealed on Thursday morning at the BFI IMAX in London. Over the years, the competition has become well known for nurturing campaign concepts that go on to win at Cannes Lions and beyond. The annual awards are a testament to the growth and value of Digital Out of Home. Only a handful of campaign concepts were pitched at its inception 6 years ago and now in 2015 submissions numbered nearly 100.

This year Grand Visual took first place in the ‘Creative Techniques’ category. The winning entry was for the Odeon ‘Smarter Cinema’ campaign submitted in partnership with Talon and MG OMD. The proposed campaign would see the cinema chain combine micro level sales data and digital out of home technology to serve hyper-local cinema adverts. The campaign communicates film showings, ticket availability and variable pricing to drive ticket sales on digital screens within the vicinity of an Odeon. The  creative is updated to deliver the most effective information in real time and is supported by geo-targeted mobile ads to amplify the message.

The judges said:

“Brutally normal, but brilliant all the same. It makes a lot of sense, using smart real-time based solutions to resolve a local business problem. The novelty factor is that it hasn’t been done before.”

Watch our competition entry below:

To review all the competition winners you can check them out here.

Talon and Grand Visual have delivered on a real time reproduction of the solar eclipse using Digital Out of Home screens around the UK in association with Oreo.

The creative ran for two hours, from 8:25am-10:40am on Friday morning (20th March) to coincide with the partial solar eclipse seen across the UK, matching the trajectory of the eclipse in real time.

The campaign is a collaboration between Talon and Grand Visual and provides a unique opportunity to showcase the tactical and real time opportunities within Digital Out of Home.

The partnership includes media owners Storm, Outdoor Plus and Forrest Media with brand partners PHD and Mondelez. The campaign will feature the hashtag #OreoEclipse.

Richard Simkins, Innovations Director at Talon explains

“We often talk about how data can improve the targeting of OOH campaigns. With #OreoEclipse we used astronomical data to build a wonderfully simple campaign only matched by the wonder of the solar eclipse itself.  We have created a domination opportunity on multiple Digital Out of Home screens for the duration of the entire eclipse. This has created a unique opportunity for Oreo to entertain people with a wonderfully creative ad, delivered in real-time, that was literally out of this world.”

Jeremy Taylor, Account Director at Grand Visual adds,

“The Digital OOH canvas is a fantastic home for both rich content and being smarter with context, timing and location. This execution mirrors the exact timings and trajectory of the eclipse, which allows for Oreo to position their brand in a playful and creative manner but with an added layer of intelligence.”

The eclipse was seen in real time on Digital Out of Home screens, without the need for a special apparatus, in the following locations:

“Click Here” to view a time-lapse of the event at Piccadilly.