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.

Spider-verse times square augmented reality digital ooh

This first appeared in Broadsign on 28th February 2019.

Ric Albert, Creative Director at Grand Visual discusses the recipe for a great digital OOH campaign.

“Tell an amazing story.”

To get people engaged, and to give your campaign another life, a solid story is a must. This is how a piece of digital out-of-home content goes from a simple advertisement to having a true impact on people’s lives.

Ric took part in our Broadsign Summit Creative Panel this year at ISE, along with Keith Nilsen from voodooh, and Oskar Op de Beke from Kinetic Worldwide, to chat about how creativity and dynamic content are the building blocks of a successful digital OOH campaign. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to watch the panel, and check out our Q&A with Ric below, where we pick his brain to see why he thinks is a creative DOOH campaign is important for brands to tell their stories.

Why should a brand add digital OOH to their marketing mix?

Digital out-of-home has a different type of reach than any other medium at the moment. With digital signage, we’re able to create real-life experiences and interactions that aren’t quite possible in the world of print and online. OOH can evoke emotions and can add contextuality and relevancy, much of which is lost with other channels.

Digital out-of-home is still a fairly new medium and is showing impressive growth. It’s less saturated than other media channels and has yet to encounter the same ad-blindness and scroll-past effect that online channels are currently struggling with. Out-of-home is a great tool to cut through ad clutter and is a smart addition to a multi-channel campaign.

What is the recipe for a great digital out-of-home campaign?

There is one main ingredient for a DOOH campaign to be amazing, and that’s a great creative concept. The technology or anything else involved in the campaign is merely a tool to build a story that will truly engage the audience. They are what helps the story to come to life.

At Grand Visual, we craft stories that lead to a valuable end-experience for the user, and that’s whether we’re working on a campaign for a few people walking by or a group of people gathered in Times Square. No matter the screen, the goal is to create something that the audience wants to interact with.

We often see digital OOH campaigns that are too focused on the tech aspect, not really thinking about how the creative concept will fit in. For a campaign to be a success, you need to first consider the story that needs to be told. Then you need to think of how technology will bring you there.

Now once you have your story settled, another ingredient necessary for a successful campaign is a collaboration between all different media partners. This can be a large list, from screen media owners to in-house creative agencies to developers, so it is important to select partners that are all aligned with the campaign vision.

The best campaigns are those where you don’t necessarily notice how it’s built or why it’s built – they just leave you with a smooth, creative and interactive campaign. And if you have a campaign that engages people, you’ve done what you needed to do.

How do brands determine the goal of their digital out-of-home campaign?

As with any channel that doesn’t provide a clickable link, having purely quantitative numerical results can be a bit difficult with digital out-of-home. While the launch of a campaign can definitely be correlated to values like sales uplift, an increase in store foot traffic or website visits, it’s also important to have goals based on how successful the campaign was at storytelling or audience engagement.

As one of the media channels showing the most growth, brands clearly understand the value digital out-of-home brings. With its reach and storytelling potential, DOOH is particularly strong for brand awareness and retention campaigns.

Of course, campaign goals have an impact on the type of story you want to tell with a DOOH campaign. Do you want to use your DOOH campaign to create social media buzz? Do you want participants to interact with the screen in the moment? Do you want to amplify a multi-channel campaign? These will all influence the storytelling approach you take.

The main thing brands need to do here is work closely with their DOOH creative agency or team to determine the appropriate messaging for their needs. DOOH is definitely not one size fits all and each campaign should be unique in its strategy and resulting campaign creative.

How does digital out-of-home work in a multichannel campaign?

What’s interesting about digital OOH is that it can be a bit of a chicken and the egg situation. Which comes first? A great DOOH campaign that gets shared on social media or makes the news? Or a cool social campaign that drives dynamic DOOH content?

At Grand Visual, we’ve worked on campaigns from both of these angles. Whether we’re creating an original piece for digital out-of-home, or working with existing content from TV or online, the key here is to make sure messaging is consistent across all channels, but at the same time tailoring it for DOOH.

What are some of your favourite digital out-of-home campaigns?

I love campaigns that can evoke a reaction or some sort of emotion. As an industry, we should collaborate and celebrate everyone who pushes the creative limits of the medium, from media owners to tech platforms to creative agencies.

One of my favourite campaigns in the last year was by Spotify. The campaign was dynamic, clever and used user-generated data. They were able to create a story that was completely localized in each country and delivered to digital OOH screens around the world ensuring a global impact.

I also loved the campaign for Spider-Man, Into the Spider-Verse, where visitors at Times Square were able to transport themselves into the movie’s animation style in real-time. There’s something so exciting about thousands of people interacting with a campaign. An advertisement that really becomes part of someone’s life is one that truly has strength.

Dan Dawson CCO, Grand Visual

This first appeared in MarTech Series on 21st February 2019.

Our Chief Creative Technology Officer, Daniel Dawson discusses technological advancements in the Out-of-Home (OOH) industry in 2018 and his predictions for AdTech with MarTech Series.

Daniel Dawson ADtech OOH

Tell us about your role at Grand Visual and the team/technology you handle.

I head up all creative technology projects at Grand Visual and I am lucky to have a diverse team with a broad spectrum of creative, technical and coding backgrounds to work with.

Besides working on our own AdTech platforms and systems, we also explore, implement, and hone a whole range of innovative engagement techniques such as Augmented Reality, Touch & Gesture, Face Tracking, Video, and Mobile to drive interactions. Engaging stories allow consumers to change or personalize experiences in various ways, creating greater brand recall and changing consumer behaviours. 

What were the most significant technological advancements in the Out-of-Home industry in 2018?

There have been some high-profile advancements in the testing of programmatic platforms for automated media trading. A significant and necessary step forward for the industry, in terms of connecting real programmatic media to programmatic creative — the holy grail.

Google Maps DOOH 2019

What are your predictions on the state of AdTech in 2019?

AdTech systems are already changing the way brands plan, book and use the Out-of-Home medium. OOH specialists have begun to buy a sustained presence across the year for heavy OOH users such as McDonald’sCoca Cola and Google, with these brand’s implementing a longer-term intelligent planning approach across their brand and product portfolios. In 2019, these backend AdTech systems will make huge steps in terms of their interoperability. This will see improvements across inventory management, transactional exchanges, data management, creative logistics, creative optimization and, of course, reporting, all areas for systemization. Consolidation of networks, agreement on standards, and system integration will show Digital Out-of-Home gearing up to be a real force this year.

How would the AdTech industry further grow with the maturity of data science and analytics?

In the Digital OOH (DOOH) space, we are rich in data. While data aggregation and uniformity is still a challenge, especially with some campaigns using up to 15 separate data feeds, we have the benefit of permanent screen technology and can, therefore, build a data picture of the location, the changing conditions, and audiences. Audience insights boost our ability to make advertising creatives contextual and relevant, and more impactful. It also enables targeted Out-of-Home ad buys, which are only activated when the conditions are right, leading to improvements in audience targeting efficiency.

Real-time campaign reporting from third-party verification platforms such as PlayTrack also offers advertisers the ability to assess campaign success and optimize creative on the go. This level of transparency and accountability is crucial for the programmatic future of Digital OOH. Further down the line again — increased data sharing through the blockchain will fuel omnichannel and omniscreen campaigns with much smarter cross-platform audience planning. With more electronic devices in everyone’s pockets, connected, cross-platform digital platforms campaigns will become a programmatic reality.

Spotify 2018 Wrapped Digital OOH

Tell us more about QDOT.

QDOT is an AdTech business designed to facilitate smart, scalable campaign management for digital OOH. These digital-asset management tools were originally developed and used as in-house processes, for Grand visual clients. But as the market grew and evolved to become a flexible, tactical, and real-time platform, just like other digital mediums, Out-of-Home required the infrastructure and creative toolkits to handle the growing volume of creative. That’s why we launched QDOT and opened up our platforms and services to the entire market.

To deliver Spotify’s Wrapped campaign, for example, over 7,640 personalized playlists were shared globally. OpenLoop, the smart campaign management platform from QDOT, allowed users to submit their personalized Wrapped stats and see them published on iconic digital billboards around the world. OpenLoop ingested the data and automated the delivery just moments later. Before OpenLoop, campaigns like this would have been a logistical nightmare. It’s about providing ease of use and driving creativity.

How did you prepare for the execution of the ‘Wrapped’ campaign?

Spotify sent us a version of their data schema and a mock-up of the creative. We tested the schema across our platforms and suggested refinements. Our software is very versatile and is able to ingest feeds to match them against physical locations and media plans. Pairing this with our creative and content development made the whole process very smooth for us and the client.

McDonald's McWeather Digital OOH

At Grand Visual, how do you combine creative technology with data? Could you lead us through your data analytics operations before launching any DOOH/OTT campaigns?

Data crafting is part of what we do. We evaluate all the sources of data that are available and decide how and what to use in order to enhance the brand story and bring the campaign to life. It’s not about using data and technology for the sake of it, we approach data carefully with the brand story always at the heart of what we do. It’s rule-based and creative-driven data science.

How do you prepare for an AI-focused world? Which technologies are you most keen to learn more about?

Grand Visual’s job is to craft creative stories based on the data sources available. So, we’re interested in Machine Learning algorithms and Predictive Analytics based on historical data. Both on a media buying level as well as content creation. If we can predict consumer behaviour — we can base messages on real-world outcomes.

Unified programmatic planning and creative optimization is the end goal, where Planning, Buying, Distribution, Playback, and Reporting are programmatically achieved using real-time audience information and data insight to drive the decision-making process. So. right now creating standards, is a core challenge for the industry. Globally agreed standards for independent 3rd-party verification of advertising play-outs (down to a panel and individual play level), will support the growth of the digital OOH market globally. Making it easier to run digital campaigns at scale across all DOOH channels.

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.

LEGO star wars augmented reality
To follow on from the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, LEGO has launched a digital OOH campaign, inviting shoppers to “Master the Force.” The experiential campaign uses on-screen LEGO bricks to build galaxy fighters, and promote the latest characters and brick sets tied to the Star Wars anthology.

Gesture sensor technology enables passers-by to engage with the on-screen LEGO sets, with users prompted to choose a side, and start building the spaceships of the new galaxy. The goal is to win the ultimate accolade of becoming a true Jedi Master, so the faster they build, the higher the score. After the game, there’s the opportunity for participants to ‘take a photo with the crew’, encouraging social sharing and amplifying the reach of the campaign.

Mark Phillips, Developer, Grand Visual, comments:

“It was fun developing the game using new camera technology which is still in development. The camera has the ability to recognize humans and can track joint movements in a 3D space, in essence, it’s an updated version of the Microsoft Kinect. The camera has incredible sensor technology, and is able to capture the movements of the player without confusing them with people in the background who are not involved in the game.”

The campaign was a collaborative effort, conceived by Initiative, with production, animation and interactive build by Grand Visual. Media planning and buying by Initiative and Rapport. The week-long Application runs on large-format Limited Space screens at busy shopping malls Bluewater and Newcastle Metro Centre from the 28th May.

Ric Albert, Creative Director, Grand Visual, said:

“Immersive experiences created with strategic use of creative technology allow the customer to get hands-on and explore LEGO’s latest products in a fun and memorable ways. At the end of gameplay the photo op then broadens the audience by encouraging people to share their picture online with family and friends.”

Marvel Doctor Strange OOH experience

This article first appeared on Contagious on 22nd May 2018.

Ric Albert, creative director at Grand Visual, explains how film studios are raising the bar with exceptionally creative uses of digital outdoor.

Ten years ago, digital out-of-home was in its infancy; a blank canvas yet to be painted with the exciting content we see today. Film marketing was still very much focusing on the traditional channels of TV, print and OOH; video-on-demand and pre-roll ads had only just started to appear. In fact, online was where film marketing first started experimenting creatively. However, as the functionality and scale of Digital OOH has expanded, so too, has the way in which entertainment brands use it.

Fast forward 10 years, and things have changed dramatically. Today, digital inventory has given OOH film campaigns a new lease of life, adding some movie magic to outdoor executions. Now marketeers can run trailers and video content on the street, introduce characters, plot teasers, or run live-action sequences, direct from the film to whet the public’s appetite. Digital OOH has become the ideal advertising channel for the entertainment industry.

Shifting the needle

There’s been experimentation. It started in 2006 with Rocky Balboa running up the first digital escalator panels on London Underground, changing the way we thought about multi-panel creative. It continued with Legend of the Guardians, which saw a campaign pioneering subtle motion on roadside screens, a motion format that’s now an international standard.

In 2011, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 streamed its world premiere live to DOOH screens. Then there was the Jurassic World execution at Waterloo, which combined, traditional OOH, station wraps, Digital OOH and experiential. And a variety of AR and VR activations were used across the world for the release of supernatural horror IT.

There is real momentum to this creative evolution, and advertisers are changing the way they create and use OOH media. From static branding channel to high impact PR vehicle, DOOH now live streams worldwide premieres, provides immersive augmented reality events and delivers iconic treatments tailored for iconic buildings, environments and screen locations. Now OOH can be engaging, immersive, participatory, integrated and scalable.

Scaling interaction

Connecting with film fans on a deeper level is now achievable. Digital OOH offers interaction via a multitude of creative technology solutions. A campaign for Dr Strange opened up live portals between sunny Los Angeles and rainy London, and allowed people to warp the world in front of them. An AR campaign for Batman v Superman allowed participants across several markets to become their favourite superhero. And these aren’t just one-off special builds, we’re seeing interactive campaigns becoming more scalable: it’s now possible to produce engaging, responsive experiences seamlessly across borders and markets.

The digitisation of OOH has also enabled outdoor creative to become firmly embedded in the broader digital strategy, playing a central role in an omnichannel execution. The power of social media and its influence over box office results means that OOH can be a great conduit for driving audiences online, and vice versa. Digital outdoor activations can be crafted to generate shareable content for garnering audiences online.

For the recent launch of season 7 of Game of Thrones, dramatic fan reactions posted on social channels were shared moments later on digital screens across the UK, tapping into the buzz and excitement of the show whilst delivering a powerful UGC endorsement. Interestingly, Digital OOH has also begun to influence other channels, with its content nowadays seen at movie premieres and press junkets, as well as within online banner creative and social feeds.

Digital OOH’s presence and ubiquity in cities around the world is also part of its allure to the film and entertainment industries. Film campaigns demand an international rollout, and as DOOH spend overtakes traditional OOH revenue in markets around the world, this has forced us to change our approach. Nowadays scalability is vital to production processes, so now we use master creative toolkits and flexible creative that can adapt to all the different shapes, sizes, durations, environments and audiences of the screens we’re faced with.

To give you an idea of that scale, in 2017 we delivered over 12,500 files to 52 markets, from Guatemala to Kazakhstan. Localisation and delivery become paramount, as does sophisticated ad-serving technology from QDOT. Now multiple markets can take advantage of a toolkit of creative rather than the traditional siloed approach.

So, what next? It’s undeniable that Digital OOH has become a major marketing channel for film studios and entertainment brands. Moreover, the film industry has become a major driving force for the continued development and evolution of global Digital OOH campaigns.

Now that the production processes have been nailed and the intelligent ad-serving infrastructure is in place, we expect to see truly global campaigns that deliver local relevance become the new standard. Combined with tactical, interactive and cross-channel strategies, the marriage between film marketing and digital OOH looks set to blossom.

Summer is a great time of year to target people with digital OOH advertising, with nearly half of the population becoming more active during spring/summer when the weather gets warmer*.

The good weather has a positive effect on people’s mood and will make people more likely to get involved with interactive campaigns. Take this fun, engaging campaign for Hasbro Monopoly for example.

Summer is also a great time to integrate the warmer weather with a dynamic digital OOH campaign and provide relevant & contextual messages. This campaign for refreshing, cool beverages from McDonald’s, only went live when the temperature rose to a “balmy” 17 degrees.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be dynamic to catch people’s attention. This summer campaign from Tropicana brought sunshine to the stations of London with eye-catching, linear creative.
It’s easy to see why advertisers are using digital OOH in the summer, with more people out and about, it’s the perfect time to be seen.

*Talon Generator
OMA Summer
Media Village, Reaching the On-the-Go Consumer in Summer

Pepsi MAX Augmented Reality Digital OOH

Pepsi MAX’s Unbelievable campaign continued on the streets of London recently. In the cold and gloomy tunnels of London Bridge, Pepsi Max gave unsuspecting commuters an unbelievable experience using the latest in augmented reality and stereo projection technology. What at first appeared to be an ordinary tunnel quickly transformed to reveal giant portals in the space-time continuum, shocking and surprising passersby as prehistoric dinosaurs and futuristic cyborgs appeared out of thin air.

The creative concept was part of PepsiCo’s integrated campaign for the UK which brings Pepsi MAX’s Unbelievable combination of maximum taste AND no sugar to life. Grand Visual has worked on previous Unbelievable executions including an augmented reality DOOH first last year which transformed a digital 6-sheet Bus Stop giving the illusion of incredible scenarios unfolding on the street nearby.

To pull off this stunt, Grand Visual created a bespoke structure within the Tunnel which allowed them to manipulate the environment and bring to life the ‘time tunnel.’ The tunnel in London Bridge was surveyed and a scale 3D model was created, which was then used for extensive mapping and projection planning, to ensure the final execution would be as realistic as possible.

Projectors were strategically placed in the tunnel and a fine gauze partition was stretched inside the tunnel onto which the 3D animations of a dinosaur, car and cyborg were projected. Clever lighting, set dressing and perspective effects allowed for the technology to be hidden & the final effect to be startlingly realistic.

For more behind the scenes footage, and to see how we did it, click here:

UKTV Interactive digital ooh

Today, Gold, part of UKTV’s network of award-winning channels, is launching its biggest integrated campaign for 2013 with a three-day activation at Westfield Stratford, created by Initials Marketing with interactive production by Grand Visual.

The ‘Ave A Giraffe’ push, based on cockney rhyming slang ‘have a laugh’, targets 35-54 BC1C2 viewers in the UK with the aim of increasing engagement with the channel, making it a destination channel to watch with the whole family.

The activity, which kicks off this Friday (27th), includes a fixture in the form of a bathroom complete with sink and toilet pods as well as a large 103” plasma screen featuring an animated giraffe sat in a bath full of bubbles. Brand ambassadors, dressed in Gold branded giraffe onesies, will encourage shoppers to take part in a competitive game of ‘Ave A Giraffe in the Bath’ for the chance to win a 42” smart LED TV and home cinema system.

To take part, consumers must submit their name and email address via a Nexus 7 tablet positioned at the sink pod. To play, they must sit on toilet pods using a tablet embedded in a newspaper. Players must compete in pairs, selecting their tool of choice from a toothbrush, loofah or soap bar, and using it to burst as many bubbles as they can in 60 seconds. As the bubbles are popped, the giraffe reacts in a humourous way. Games are streamed on the big screen, controlled from the iPad.

On completing the game, consumers receive an email encouraging them to share their experience and score via their Facebook page or on Twitter. Every consumer that plays the game will receive a Gold branded rubber giraffe duck to serve as a continued reminder of the brand when the consumer returns home. The player with the highest score from each day will win the top prize.

The creative technology solution uses Grand Visual’s Agent system, a platform developed to allow interaction between a tablet (and mobile) device and digital out of home screens.

Volvic juiced

This week Volvic juiced launched an interactive game on the large format Bluewater Showcase interactive digital screen. Created by Kinetic Fuel, Frank PR and Grand Visual, with creative direction from Y&R, the game encouraged shoppers to “Get Juiced for the chance to win refreshing prizes!”

Grand Visual provided tech-build and interactive production for the bespoke campaign which uses a laser touch system to make use of the full length of the screen surface. The game challenges shoppers to squash as many falling apples as possible in 60 seconds and each fruit splat fills up an on-screen bottle with tasty apple juice. There are three levels of difficulty help to keep participants engaged and at random times during the day special bonus games will allow lucky players to win bigger prizes. Players are also rewarded with a refreshing bottle of Volvic Juiced post-game.