How Can You Raise Brand Awareness Using OOH?

By Joanna Valente

Brian Rappaport, CEO of Quan Media Group, spoke to the ANA about how OOH (out of home advertising) is a critical way for brands to reach their target audiences and raise brand awareness, and often at a lower cost. Quan Media Group, which is an OOH agency, has worked with DTC brands like Casper, Zelle, Capsule, OpenTable, and FreshDirect.

Rappaport stated that he doesn't "believe success in OOH is defined by how much you spend, but rather your approach. You need to know where your audience is, have in depth market expertise, and most of all, a true personalized strategic approach."

Below, Rappaport spoke about the pandemic, case studies, trends, and cookies.

Can you name some recent client campaigns that you are especially proud of?

We recently did a campaign with knowledge management platform Guru where we delivered over $900,000 in savings, negotiated over $350,000 worth of added value, but more importantly saw success via a brand lift study including high ad recall along with the exposed audience outperforming the control audience on every KPI in each market (three total). There's also Jaanuu (D2C scrubs brand), and their OOH launch in Chicago where we delivered over 50 percent in holistic savings on hard media costs with over $200,000 worth of AV.

Additionally, we ran a lift analysis which showed a large lift in site visits throughout the course of our OOH campaign proving that OOH had a large impact in brand awareness/lift. Aside from core measurable campaigns, we're excited to have helped launch OUAI's first big brand campaign along with working with Justworks on branded ferry takeovers from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

OOH was hit hard during the pandemic, but it seems like it's seeing a big resurgence in the past year. Have there been any lasting changes in the way brands approach OOH?

Ultimately, I think we've seen a stronger affinity to street level OOH. Pre-pandemic, street level was always a popular tactic (especially in heavily condensed markets like New York City, Chicago, and Boston) but now with mass transit still in recovery mode (albeit back in a good spot), you see brands turning to street level to craft highly targeted campaigns/approaches.

The utilization of bus shelters, newsstands, bike shares and taxi tops has become "must haves" for brands instead of "nice to haves." I think cancellation clauses, and the ability to adapt on the fly will remain top of mind now for brands instead of just an afterthought. Transit ridership and foot traffic patterns will always be of interest to clients/brands moving forward whereas they were an afterthought pre-pandemic.

Why do you think DTC and digitally native brands are turning to OOH to reach their target audiences and raise their brand awareness?

Digital fatigue first and foremost. Facebook is expensive. Consumers start to tune out screens, and I think we all took "IRL activities" for granted for a long time. The more DTC brands get educated about OOH as a channel, how to test effectively, how to plan based off audience, opportunities to measure effectiveness, the ability to do fun/creative "outside the box" activations that connect with consumers 1:1; it creates excitement and the opportunity for these brands to truly create some legitimacy in the eyes of their target audience.

Do you think the impending death of the cookie is causing marketers to turn more attention to OOH as a medium?

Yes, definitely. You're able to reach consumers authentically where they are - and where they're going. You're able to understand audience behaviors, patterns, and meet them to create a true brand connection. Toss in programmatic DOOH (with personalization and targeting) and it opens up a whole other avenue for brands to think about the way they utilize OOH and why it makes sense for them.

What are some of the new trends you are seeing in the space?

It is actually two vintage tactics that have seen a resurgence, so in a way you can call it a "new trend." Brands are utilizing aerial banners to reach audiences at vacation destinations (or where there's a lack of OOH like Out East/Hamptons) as well as target key conferences and conventions (think F1, Miami Bitcoin, Art Basel.) We've also seen an immense interest in wild postings, albeit the challenges that come with that format (being covered up, non-permitted) as it's perfect for market saturation and frequency.

Digging a little deeper, we've seen a lot of brands start to weave UGC (user generated content) into their OOH campaigns; we worked with Thinx this past fall where they projected real life period worries onto a massive painted wall in Williamsburg. We've also seen a lot of brands, and celebrity backed brands, look to one singular contextual placement to meet their audience — rather than spending a ton of money trying to blanket a market. Specifically, we worked with the media company Boardroom (co-owned by Kevin Durant) on a massive placement outside Barclays Center for the entire second half of the 2021 to 2022 NBA season; it was a no-brainer.

Jomboy Entertainment (on-the-rise sports media company) locked in the iconic billboard right outside Yankees' Stadium for the first two months of the 2022 MLB Season (they started as a predominant Yankees' podcast before spinning off multiple sports' podcasts). Brands are asking for one day and one week costs on iconic digital spectaculars to create new brand moments that can be shared on social, rather than trying to flood markets with placements. It's strategic, smart and it works.

What should brands consider when leveraging OOH for the first time?

Come to the table with a full background on your core audience, and the market(s) you want to test in. The more we know about your audiences, the more precisely we can drill down within a market to curate an approach that hits them directly.

If you're spending in OOH for the first time and simply say your audience is "age 18 and over, and lives on the East Coast," and it's going to be pretty tricky. We'll help you prioritize markets, but you should have your top three to five in mind. Additionally, you have to have some budget, as $10,000 isn't going to do it.

We can find ways to maximize that, but you won't truly see results. You should have a minimum budget of $50,000 to effectively test OOH, and if $50,000 is your hard budget, plan on being in just one market (don't try and spread yourself too thin). While we say that success in OOH isn't defined by how much you spend, don't be afraid to spend a bit more than planned if the budget is there. Additionally, take time with creative. You want to create a memorable moment with consumers, so whether it's contextual creative, bold colors, or a CTA; take time crafting the right creative message.

Measurement continues to be a focal point of OOH – as brands truly want to understand effectiveness – rather than just utilize the channel for awareness. How does Quan approach measurement?

We prioritize measurement, and effectiveness within OOH. We've partnered with the AdQuick platform to offer up the best of both worlds for brands. On the measurement side we can do everything from running an attribution dashboard (measuring lower funnel KPIs such as foot traffic, web lift, app downloads) to Causal Impact Analysis (using Bayesian structural time series to analyze historical sales patterns and build a prediction of a future course).

Additionally, we also offer up brand lift studies to accurately understand campaign impact for both quantitative and qualitative metrics, along with mobile/cross-channel retargeting. We sit with the brands we work with to craft the ideal learning agenda based on their KPI's, the campaign they're running, and what they're hoping to see.


Joanna Valente is a director of editorial and content development at ANA.


The views and opinions expressed in Industry Insights are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.