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10 Tips for Designing an Unmissable Out-of-Home Ad: Creative OOH ad design that boosts results

They’re big, bold, and unstoppable. You can’t skip them, block them, or avoid them. In fact, you can’t even ignore them. Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is having a moment, and for good reason.

We may live in a digital age, but out-of-home advertising is—not surprisingly to industry experts—a genuine growth market. OOH advertising is seeing consistent ad revenue growth and is delivering significant business results.

So how do you make the most of this form of advertising and reaching your audiences when they’re outside their homes?

Creating an OOH campaign or ad isn’t the same as designing a magazine or digital ad. A solid OOH campaign is driven by creative design that engages with your audience in ways that other advertising channels don’t.

Competition is high for attracting the eye of the consumer, so smart concepts and good graphic design are key to standing out. OOH ads have to be persuasive. They have to be bold. And they have to be spot on.

In this article, we’ll walk you through 10 tips for designing great creative for your OOH campaign.


1

Identify and pursue your target audience

Before coming up with a winning ad, you have to know who you’re trying   to reach. Get to know and understand your target audience and what        makes them tick, so that you can ensure your ad layout, images and copy resonate with them.

Know your goal

Your OOH ad should tie back to your marketing/promotion campaign and other marketing and advertising tactics.

Have a specific goal for each OOH ad. Knowing what you want to achieve will drive the direction of your creative concept. Do you want to:

  • Create more brand awareness
  • Generate a call to action
  • Educate your viewers
  • Advertise a new product line
  • Try new demographic, market, or geographic area?

4

Use compelling copy—but keep it brief

Print or online ads can be packed with lots of information and small print that viewers can read at leisure. With OOH, you have to help viewers digest the information in just a few, simple lines.

Messaging is vital in OOH advertising, and it can be a challenge to convey that message in just five or six words.

Keep it simple, and use a single memorable contact method, like a shortlink, hashtag, or just your company name. Smart, short taglines and punchy copy work really well and will help you reap rewards in OOH ads.

 

5

Lead with a hero image

With magazine or editorial ads, you have flexibility in design and can create complex images to make readers think, but OOH advertising is different. OOH is essentially a visual experience, and a simple, relevant hero image should be central to your messaging.

Imagery is often more important than text in OOH advertising. Choose a single image or graphic element that:

  • Captures the attention
  • Conveys your message
  • Is high resolution
  • Is memorable, entertaining, or emotionally compelling

OOH ad design tips Lead with a hero image

 

6

Roll out the red carpet: use bold colours

Colours are really important in OOH advertising. While magazine ads have to ‘fit’ in to the publication’s ‘look’, OOH background and font colours have to be bright and high-contrast to help with readability.

White space can be really effective in media print ads, but too much of it in OOH ads can dilute or distract the message.

By using contrasting colours, you can attract the attention of your audience and place emphasis on certain parts of your ad, making it easy to read at any time of day.

 

(Kalvin Taylor/Goodall Media Inc)

7

Tell a story

To cut through visual noise (and so few words), you have to tell a story and give meaning to your message.

Design your OOH around a central story: does it solve a problem, satisfy a need, evoke an emotion, compel them to take an action?

Your company brand story will help you find a strong visual direction for your ad for an aspirational, bold concept that will influence viewers. OOH It’s a big space. It’s no time to think small!

8

Consider your location when you design your OOH ad

Out-of-home advertising is always in a fixed point in space. Consider using the location where it’ll be displayed as part of your ad use it as a springboard for a clever message.

People’s memories are better when they’re connected to a physical location, so OOH advertising is ideal to create brand awareness.

To optimise the retention of your ad, stay consistent with your design choices and branding in other channels: keep logos, colours, fonts, hashtags, and messaging consistent.

9

Test your ad

OOH ads have slightly different testing techniques than regular print ads. Sometimes the hardest thing is conceptualising the distance and scale of the ad’s images and text.

Visualise what your artwork will look like from across an ice surface or playing field, and test it:

  • Print it as business-card sized, and hold it at arm’s length away from you.
  • (You can also reduce it (minimise it on your screen) so it measures approximately 1” high.)

You have just a few seconds to get your message across: does it work? Can it be read from one foot away? If not, go back and refine your design, and test again.

OOH-ad-design-tips-test-ooh-ad-creative

10

Use our OOH ad design specs

You’re nearly ready to send in your OOH ad. Here’s a few last                              recommendations:

  • Keep the messaging clear and simple
  • Save your artwork as an editable high-resolution PDF
  • You can use spot colour (Pantone) or process colour (CMYK)
  • Make sure text and graphics must be within the Safe Area and at least 1” from the trim
  • Don’t use borders for rinkboards because the bleed will be trimmed at different heights for each facility
  • Make your text at least 6” tall (bold and readable)
  • Text should be large enough to read at a distance of 80+ feet
  • Any text or graphics that are difficult to read should be enlarged or removed


Over to you

Are you trying your hand at out of home advertising? Have you found our tips helpful? If you need a little more guidance about planning your next OOH advertising campaign, we’d love to hear from you.

And if you found this post helpful, please let us know by signing up to our email list.

 

 

 

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RENATA MCMANN

As the Senior Accountant, Renata’s responsibilities include reconciling account balances and bank statements, maintaining general ledger and assist with tax returns.

Renata works hard to oversee general accounting operations by controlling and verifying the financial transactions, in an effort to ensure accuracy and effectiveness in all of Rec Media’s accounting tasks.

Originally from Prague, Czech Republic – Renata has close to 20 years of accounting experience with a thorough knowledge of accounting principles to analyze financial reports and forecasts.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Renata hanging out with her three boys (mostly in hockey arenas) or enjoying Canada’s beautiful forests and scenery.

KAREN MECKELBORG

As a member of the leadership team, Karen helps set direction for Rec Media’s business development. Her background in business strategy, with expertise in sales and marketing, makes her contributions focused on the company’s brand integrity, customer relationships, client innovations, and partnership development.

Previous experience includes business development and sales/marketing management with a variety of companies, including CTV, RedPoint Media, and Canada Wide Media. She now runs a successful consulting practice and is proud to include Rec Media as a favorite.

Karen is happiest working with a team, guiding everyone toward the corporate vision. Her career and life journey has taken her from Saskatoon to Toronto, then Calgary, Vancouver, and now back in Calgary where she spends most of her time with her large, exuberant, very active, and extremely close circle of family and friends.

CHRISTOPHE LECOMTE

Christophe is a Financial and Operational Consultant/Entrepreneur who is skilled at navigating organizations through change, achieving increased efficiencies and bottom line results. Christophe is an engaging entrepreneurial team-builder combining strategic, analytical and creative approaches to solution development and implementation.

His specialties include mergers and acquisitions, financing, process reengineering, forecasting and budgeting, Management Practices, Communications, Performance Improvement, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Mentoring & Coaching Staff, Radio and TV Broadcast Media operations and Team building.

DAVID SEDGWICK

David Sedgwick is a managing director with Balmoral Wood Alternatives which designs, invests in and manages global alternative investment strategies.

David has an extensive background in capital deployment and management related to real estate, infrastructure, energy and non-correlated alternative asset categories, as well as general corporate finance expertise across a variety of mid-market manufacturing, services, real estate, energy and alternate asset industries.

David is actively interested in alternative investment opportunities for institutional grade investors.

AMANDA PLOUGHMAN

Amanda has extensive experience in both media strategy and broadcasting, with a solid track record of leading businesses and teams through complex environments. Amanda is skilled in Digital Strategy, Integrated Marketing, Advertising, and Business Development; and has held senior leadership roles in organizations such as Cossette, MediaCom and Shaw Communications.

She is a savvy industry veteran who intimately understands the needs of both advertisers and consumers.

STEFAN DANIS

Stéfan is Chief Talent Officer & CEO at Mandrake Human Capital which operates in the Search, Career Transition, Leadership Development, and Onboarding/Executive Acceleration.

Mandrake has recruited more than 10,000 executives in Canada and is one of the country’s largest firm in its sector. A graduate from McGill University, he started his career as a marketer at Procter & Gamble before joining Mandrake as a Consultant. He became Partner in 1991, and CEO in 1999. He is also is Executive Director of IMD, Mandrake’s 30 country strong global partnership.

Stéfan has led hundreds of executive engagements in Finance, Sales, HR, Marketing, Communications, and Strategy for various service, not-for-profit, and manufacturing companies.

He is an expert on the issues surrounding the changing face of human capital in today’s market, and a leader in creating and structuring competitive advantages for clients.

BRIAN TAMKE​

As Account Manager and Venue Partnerships, Brian consults directly with businesses to grow their brands and reach the communities they serve through our recreational facility network and advertising platforms. Additionally, Brian works with our venues to ensure the highest level of long-term success for both our clients and venue partners.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Brian has called Calgary home for over 30 years, most of which in the Calgary media landscape in radio broadcasting, print, OOH, and digital advertising.  Brian's knowledge of our venue audience and expertise in advertising platforms, campaign planning and brand development is a valuable resource for our clients.

Brian and his wife, Joy, have two teenage boys that keep them entertained.  When Brian's not working, you’ll still find him at the local rink enjoying his kid's hockey games, spending a weekend away camping or playing golf at the nearest golf course!

MIRZA GHALIB

As Retail Account Manager, Calgary & Area, Mirza helps brands connect with their local community in recreational facilities.

Mirza works hard to ensure that he fulfills his client’s key marketing communications ethos day in and day out.
Prior to immigrating to Canada, Mirza obtained an MBA in Marketing & Sales from Amity Business School and worked with companies throughout India, UAE and Mauritius, managing advertising campaigns at various levels across the OOH and traditional media domain.

When Mirza is not working, you’ll find him travelling the world with his wife, playing cricket, watching Lawn Tennis and sharpening his singing skills.

JEFF YOUNG

As the VP of Sales, National, Jeff oversees the Rec Media sales team and works directly with corporate and agency accounts to grow their brands strength and integrity in the community recreational facility landscape.  He’s passionate about helping businesses uniquely connect with local communities in over 5,000 facilities across Canada.

Jeff grew up on a farm in Southern Alberta, has an MBA from the University of Calgary, and has 20 years’ experience leading sales teams within the broadcasting, digital media, and software industries.

When Jeff’s not working, you’ll find him boating with his wife and three kids, working on his classic Mustang fastback or playing a tune on the piano.

TAYLOR GIBB

As the Accounting Clerk, Taylor’s responsibilities include collecting and posting accounts receivable invoices, verifying and processing accounts payable, as well as assisting in daily accounting operations.

Originally from Mountain View, Alberta – Taylor graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelors of Commerce majoring in Accounting. When she’s not working, you can find Taylor enjoying the outdoors with her husband, riding horses on her family ranch or curled up with a good book.

ALLIE PENTLAND

As Operations Team Lead, Allie is responsible for overseeing the execution of advertising campaigns by liaising with both the client and recreational facilities that the advertising is placed in.

Allie works hard to ensure that clients’ media requirements are accurately and timeously executed; while developing and maintaining key relationships with recreation facilities across Canada.

Allie was born and raised in Calgary and graduated from the University of Victoria with a major in Sociology and minor in Business. While in University, Allie studied abroad in Utrecht, The Netherlands. When she’s not working, you can find her on the Padel courts, watching movies, or traveling.


RENATA MCMANN

As the Senior Accountant, Renata’s responsibilities include reconciling account balances and bank statements, maintaining general ledger and assist with tax returns.

Renata works hard to oversee general accounting operations by controlling and verifying the financial transactions, in an effort to ensure accuracy and effectiveness in all of Rec Media’s accounting tasks.

Originally from Prague, Czech Republic – Renata has close to 20 years of accounting experience with a thorough knowledge of accounting principles to analyze financial reports and forecasts.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Renata hanging out with her three boys (mostly in hockey arenas) or enjoying Canada’s beautiful forests and scenery.


ASHLEY GRANT

As a Media Project Coordinator, Ashley works on liaising with clients and various recreation facilities to help businesses reach the communities they serve.

Ashley works hard to ensure that the client is completely satisfied with the end result and the advertisement looks exactly how they pictured.

Originally from Birmingham, England – Ashley has one year of experience in the media advertising industry.
When he’s not working, you’ll find Ashley working out, playing hockey or just about every other sport.


SYLVIE LAFAVE

As the Ski Advertising Sales Consultant for the Quebec region, Sylvie helps local businesses connect with desirable audiences in some of Canada’s most sought after ski resorts.

Originally from St-Sauveur, Quebec, Sylvie has spent many years on the ski hills (since she was 3 years old!) and knows her territory all too well. Her 20+ years in the sales and marketing field has enabled her to understand the specific needs for each of her clients.

When she is not working you will find her at the many sporting competitions (soccer, skiing and volleyball to name a few) her four children are involved in! She likes to ski, go for walks in the woods with her hubby and enjoys a delicious latte to kick start her day!


DIANNA CALDER FARNHOLTZ

As the Senior Account Manager for Calgary and the surrounding areas, Dianna’s primary objective is to help businesses reach and connect with desirable audiences in community sports and recreation environments.

Dianna works hard to ensure that she has an understanding of her client’s business needs in an effort to determine their best fit to fulfill their campaign marketing goals.

Originally from Edmonton, Alberta – Dianna has over 20 years of sales experience across a variety of industries.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Dianna traveling to tropical destinations and indulging in her favorite pastime, paddle boarding. She also loves to be creative, painting with acrylics or just relaxing with a good book and a nice glass of wine.


MARY K LALLY

As the VP of Sales, Eastern Canada, Mary K works with corporate advertising agencies and clients in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Having worked in the out-of-home advertising space for 20 years she understands the effectiveness of the medium and recognizes that Rec Media provides advertisers with a unique advantage to “give back” to communities!

Mary K is passionate about building relationships and developing partnerships within the industry. By promoting Rec Media’s community recreational network and providing corporate social responsibility solutions to marketers across Canada she is excited for what the future will bring.

Mary K is truly living the Rec Media story. She loves to ski with her family, play basketball in the driveway and spends the majority of her winter in hockey arenas across the GTA watching her son work towards his NHL dream!


JUDY BELL

As the Office Manager/EA, Judy provides administrative support to the CEO as well as the entire team. Judy juggles everything from people to pens; and uses her extensive experience and organizational skills help keep the Rec Media engine running! In addition to organizing meetings, training sessions and other team events; she assists the IT and Accounting Department with various daily tasks.

Judy’s experience and many years with the company enable her to effectively assist the team and ensure they have everything they need. Needless to say; she has become the natural go-to for her colleagues.

Originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan – Judy’s prior experience has primarily been in Retail Management.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Judy spending time with her family, attending live performances or creating her own fun!


TROY SEDGWICK

As President and CEO, Troy’s role touches on just about everything in the organization. A serial entrepreneur, he loves (much to the chagrin of his staff) to have his fingers in everything!

Thankfully, over the years he’s gotten much better at empowering and trusting the capable people on his team to do the job they were hired to do. He still manages to keep a pulse on and provide insight on all things marketing, sales, operations, IT and even accounting – just from a little farther distance than before. Troy works hard to ensure that his oversight and guidance resources and supports everyone in their role, without crossing over into the realms of micromanagement, nor abdication.

Originally born in La Belle Province (Montreal), and having spent several of his younger years in southwestern Ontario (Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto), Troy now resides full-time in Calgary, with frequent trips between the Calgary head office and Rec Media’s offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Troy has had the privilege of residing in all four of the great Canadian cities where our offices are located.

With almost 25 years’ experience in the marketing and advertising industry, Troy frequently jokes that he “started when he was 12”. But he loves the industry and wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

When Troy is not working, you’ll find him out swimming or riding his bike, or just hanging out with his wife and 3 kids eating great food and drinking even better wine (hence the need for the biking and swimming!), and tackling the never ending list of amazing places to see and visit on this beautiful planet.