With cinemas now open and a pent-up thirst for new movies to cater for, it should come as no surprise that the UK and Ireland’s box offices are booming. Cinemas took in £18.7 million last week, £10.9 million of which was taken in just over the weekend, showing that cinema-goers are back!

So, with a huge backlog of films to be released, as well as movie debuts on VOD platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, how do you stand out? With a vast amount of Out of Home campaigns for films under his belt, Grand Visual’s Creative Director, Ric Albert, knows a thing or two about nailing a movie launch. 

In recent months, Ric and his team have been behind some fantastic OOH launches, including collaborations with Warner Bros and Amazon Prime. Pre-pandemic, the team also collaborated on movie launches with the likes of Sony Pictures and Disney. So, grab a refreshment and get comfy because we’re about to dive in. 

Post-Pandemic OOH Advertising for Movies 

Warner Bros – Wonder Woman 1984

Set to be released in June 2020, the release of Wonder Woman 1984 was delayed due to the pandemic. This led Warner Bros to rethink its launch strategy and draw attention from cinema audiences with an epic OOH stunt. 

Choosing the largest digital OOH canvas in the world, standing at 828 meters high – the Burj Khalifa would definitely garner interest. A video of the stunt was shared widely online, receiving over 3 million views in 24 hours on Gal Gadot’s Instagram account. 

So, Ric. What do you think?  

“I don’t think there is a more exciting Digital OOH canvas to display your work than the tallest building in the world. Genuinely a bucket list job. Even for A-list Hollywood stars it seems!   

Look out for more of these giant-scale activations in the future – studios love the idea of epic proportions advertising their latest blockbusters.” 

Amazon Prime – The Tomorrow War

Originally set for theatrical release in December 2020, The Tomorrow War was postponed and instead released on Amazon Prime. Although it wasn’t released in cinemas, the movie still needed a stellar launch to entice audiences to watch it… and the OOH campaign did just that! 

Bringing the war to cities including Stockholm, Madrid and Manchester, the campaign featured an incredible augmented reality stunt that turned these locations into scenes of The Tomorrow War. The movie went on to be a success, scoring 1.23 billion minutes of watch time, the best opening for an Amazon original movie. 

“Creating an Augmented Reality campaign across 5 countries and 6 sites was no small feat,” says Ric. “…But we’ve always been pushing the capabilities of this medium, and wanted something different from a one-off stunt. Movie releases are global events, so it was fitting that the activation took place across multiple markets.” 

Pre-Pandemic Advertising for Movies  

A time before the pandemic feels like a distant memory, but we couldn’t not include these epic movie launch stunts. Now that restrictions have been lifted, here’s some great examples of OOH advertising for movies that’ll really draw attention. 

Sony Pictures – Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse 

For the launch of Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, Sony Pictures wanted to steal the stage at one of the grandest OOH sites of them all – Times Square. We created an augmented reality experience that transported over 215,000 people passersby into the Spider-verse. The campaign went on to win 2 OBIE awards as well as the movie winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. 

Over to you Ric.  

“This has to be one of my favourites: prime location – tick, mass audience participation – tick, turning crowds into cartoons – tick, using facial tracking to add speech bubbles above their heads – tick. This activation had it all, and the result aligned perfectly with the film to create a unique and memorable stunt.” 

Disney Marvel Studios: Doctor Strange

As a master of the mystic arts, Doctor Strange deserved more than just a static 6-sheet. Using augmented reality, we created an OOH installation across 10 markets that gave audiences the chance to harness the mystical powers of the doctor. The film went on to open in the #1 position in the US box office, eventually grossing $677 million worldwide. 

“This was the perfect marriage of creative and technology – when the stars align to create something truly special… and incredibly fitting for the movie,” adds Ric. “With some gesture recognition and live video portals, we connected people in London and LA and gave everyone the chance to become Sorcerer Supreme.” 

“At the end of the day, that is what all of these activations are about. Bringing some of the movie magic into the real world. Giving the public the chance to interact with their favourite characters and creating an emotional engagement with the next big movie release.”

Marvel Doctor Strange OOH experience
Our Creative Technologist Jon Jones explores the possibilities for digital OOH with the recent deployment of 5G.

This article first appeared in Digital Signage Connection on 28th June 2019.

5G is a term being bandied around a lot in media circles right now. The first wave of fifth generation wireless networks have been deployed, and consumers and businesses alike are getting excited by the promise of superior high-speed connectivity. But what exactly does 5G mean for the digital out-of-home (DOOH) landscape?

Perhaps the most cited benefit of 5G over and above previous iterations (see diagram) is speed. 5G is between 10- and 20-times faster than 4G and much, much more responsive. Other benefits, however, include better coverage and a lot more capacity. This means that your phone should now continue to function and upload content even when you are at a major sports stadium or music event. Finally, latency, or the time it takes devices to communicate with each other over wireless networks, will also drastically decrease. All these attributes will benefit the DOOH industry and enable greater creativity.

Digital OOH and 5G

Live Streaming

With such marked improvements regarding speed and latency, the possibilities for live and reliable streaming linkups between DOOH sites open-up. This is not a new approach for DOOH, and we have achieved this before in live streaming film premieres, catwalk shows, sports tournaments and other red-carpet events. For the theatrical release of Doctor Strange, we utilized a satellite link for guests to ‘open a portal’ (or live video link) between London and LA. A satellite connection guaranteed us a good quality link, but even with a satellite link, we still experienced some delay in the feed, in addition to the heftier price tag. With 5G, the delay on the stream will be greatly reduced, and of course, the cost is also significantly less.

Augmented Reality

Having a greater technical backbone will extend the realm and capacity for linking and connecting different DOOH sites, and it also opens the door for many more creative and personalized experiences that link up to remote systems.

Our latest Augmented Reality campaigns are built on the Unity platform, which creates real-time rendering and is primarily used to develop computer games, so it requires extra computing power. These applications usually run on powerful gaming rigs, but it’s not always possible to install this kind of hardware in bus shelters for example. What we can do, however, is tap into computing power in the cloud.

Personalization, Machine Learning, & Dynamic Creative Optimization

The ability to deliver real-time, personalized, and contextual creative to DOOH screens has been proven time and time again to boost engagement. With the overall increase of speed when 5G hits, improvements to data processing will enable DOOH advertisers to respond seamlessly with contextual creative across multiple locations – creative that can be informed by and optimized using real-time audience data insights.

But it goes further than this. Displays will be informed by and interact with other mobile devices, applications, cameras, and wearables to gather and process data and deliver more useful and targeted experiences. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will reform campaigns, optimizing creative on-the-go. Imagine an Augmented Reality campaign that could reflect the current weather conditions. Or perhaps a virtual brand ambassador powered by Artificial Intelligence that could engage and answer questions about the product or service being advertised.

Whilst these are realistic possibilities today, they currently require budgets and timelines that are too prohibitive. But with the arrival of 5G, and the ability to render in real-time on the cloud, it is more feasible than ever before to deliver reactive and interactive campaigns at scale. Campaigns of this nature no longer need to be limited to one-off stunts. Personalized interactive creative can now be delivered at scale, like never before.

What Now?

5G will fundamentally change the way we use and think about the Internet. These are just a few of the areas 5G is likely to have an effect on DOOH in the immediate term. Although we are still some way off from having 5G fully at our disposal, new marketing approaches also take time to develop, so it makes sense to start thinking about what this high-speed connected landscape brings to DOOH now, and in turn, what new creative possibilities DOOH will unlock for the advertiser.

Grand Visual Team

our team


How long have you been at GV for and what’s your role?
I’ve been at GV for five years now and I am Head of People.

What’s your favourite GV campaign?
That’s an easy one! My favourite GV campaign is the Let The Memories Begin campaign that we did for Disney.

If you weren’t in the Operations, would you rather be in the Finance Team or the Tech Team?
If I wasn’t in Operations, I would rather be in the Tech Team as they are always building cool stuff for our campaigns.

Would you rather live in a place that is always cold or always hot?
I would rather live in a place that is always hot than cold.

Would you rather be able to breathe underwater or fly through the air?
I would prefer to breathe underwater than fly through the air.


our team


How long have you been at GV for and what’s your role?
I’ve been at GV for 6 years and I’m the Creative Director.

What’s your favourite GV campaign?
Probably the Augmented Reality campaign that we did for Doctor Strange as it had a load of awesome things going on in it.

If you weren’t in the Creative Team, would you rather be in Client Services or the Production Team?
That’s a difficult question. I think I’d rather be in Production rather than Client Services as I don’t think I’d enjoy communicating with clients on that side of things!

Would you rather be the first person to explore a planet or be the inventor of a drug that cures a deadly disease?
I have no interest in trying to discover new planets so I guess it would be curing a disease.

Would you rather be completely invisible for a day or be able to fly?
I think I would get up to terrible things if I was completely invisible for a day so I’d stick with flying for a day!

Grand Visual Team

Our Team


How long have you been at GV for and what’s your role?
I’ve been at Grand Visual for seven years now, and I’m a Creative Technologist which means that I bridge together the Creative and Technical departments.

What’s your favourite GV campaign?
I’d say it would be Disney Shadows, which was quite a fun project to work on. It was very different to what we usually do… and it got a great reception online!

If you weren’t in Tech would you rather be in Production or Creative?
I think I’d definitely rather be in Creative… it’s already part of a role that I work at the moment so I think that would come most natural to me.

Would you rather travel a hundred years into the future or a hundred years into the past?
I think into the future… it would just be fun to see how far everything has come and whether we’ve actually managed to crack the hologram from Back To The Future.

Would you rather it be hot all of the time or cold all of the time?
I think cold all of the time because it’s easier to warm up than cool down.


our team


How long have you been at GV for and what’s your role?
I’ve been at GV for four and a half years and I’m a technician.

What’s your favourite GV campaign?
I’d have to say… Doctor Strange!

If you weren’t in Tech would you rather be in client services or marketing?
Oh, marketing… definitely!

Would you rather be completely invisible for one day or be able to fly?
Fly… obviously!

Would you rather give up bathing for a month or give up the internet for a month?

Augmented Reality Doctor Strange Marvel
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.