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OOH – The Stature Symbol of the Alcohol Category

Johané Carstens

Account Director

Carat South Africa

Johané Carstens

Johané Carstens

24 June . 4 min read . Opinion

There is no disputing the fact that OOH is one of the most effective media channels to keep a brand top of mind. In South Africa, it is not only a great reach driving platform, but it also demonstrates brand stature and propels brands to the top of the podium in the race to leading their respective competitor sets. There are few broadcast mediums as effective in showcasing category leadership as an OOH campaign at scale.

This is a concept that the alcohol category has mastered. For many years there has been an ongoing battle of one-up-manship to securing the largest, most impactful static and digital LED OOH holdings in an attempt to mark a brand’s territory as a display of either proving their industry dominance or striving for that top market share position.

Capturing Attention in a Saturated Market

OOH advertising offers alcohol brands an unparalleled opportunity to break through the noise. In urban landscapes filled with digital and traditional advertising, large-scale billboards, digital screens, and transit ads provide high visibility. These mediums allow for striking visuals and bold messages that can captivate potential consumers during their daily commutes or leisurely walks. For instance, a well-placed billboard featuring a new craft beer can entice both regular commuters and tourists, turning everyday locations into powerful marketing hubs.

Leveraging Technology for Engagement

Although location is vital when it comes to selecting OOH holdings, the messaging is often what drives the most impact. Creative that resonates with consumers is more likely to garner attention and engagement. Technological advancements have significantly enhanced the capabilities of OOH advertising. Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising, for instance, allows for dynamic content that can be updated in real-time. Alcohol brands can use this to their advantage by tailoring messages based on time of day, weather conditions, or even current events. Imagine a digital billboard that promotes a refreshing gin cocktail during a heatwave or a warming whiskey blend on a cold winter’s night. Such contextual advertising not only increases relevance but also drives consumer engagement. This is also a great tool for enhancing sponsorship or event associations, for example by updating the score of highly anticipated sporting event in real time thereby leveraging a consumer passion point.

Faux-Out-of-Home (FOOH) is a trend that is slowly gaining momentum in South Africa and is primed for an alcohol brand to leverage. Through the use of CGI, Pepsi has recently taken over iconic landmarks in South Africa in this innovative OOH stunt. Amplified through social media, influencer activity and other digital channels, a well-executed FOOH campaign can drive great talkability for alcohol brands.

Experiential Marketing and Consumer Interaction

One of the most innovative uses of OOH advertising in the alcohol category is through experiential marketing. Pop-up bars, branded events, and interactive installations allow consumers to experience the brand firsthand. For example, a pop-up beer garden sponsored by a premium beer brand can provide a sensory experience that no digital ad can match. These experiences foster direct interaction with the brand, creating memorable moments that can drive word-of-mouth marketing and social media buzz. OOH is arguable the most innovative media channel. Partner high impact OOH with experiential marketing and you’ve got yourself an interactive billboard. An example of this is the Heineken 0.0 drive up billboard bar launched in Brazil in 2020. This 3D interactive billboard doubled as a bar, complete with bar staff, allowed consumer aged 18+ to drive up to the billboard and grab a free Heineken 0.0.

Data-Driven Insights and Strategic Placement

The integration of data analytics in OOH advertising has opened new avenues for strategic placement and audience targeting. Alcohol brands can now leverage data to choose locations that maximize exposure to their target demographic. Additionally, using mobile data and geofencing, brands can measure the effectiveness of their campaigns by tracking foot traffic and consumer behaviour in the vicinity of their ads. This data-driven approach ensures that marketing budgets are used efficiently and that campaigns achieve the desired impact. This also places OOH as a viable channel throughout the marketing funnel, from awareness through to conversion.

Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility

As consumers become increasingly conscious of environmental issues, alcohol brands can use OOH advertising to highlight their sustainability efforts. Eco-friendly billboards made from recycled materials or powered by renewable energy can send a strong message about a brand’s commitment to the environment. This not only enhances brand reputation but also aligns with the values of a growing segment of eco-conscious consumers.

Alcohol brands also have a responsibility to enforce ARA regulations, especially because the outdoor industry is notoriously not very well regulated and sites and alcohol advertisements that are not legally compliant often fall through the cracks. ARA compliance ensures the health and safety of consumers which should be a top priority for all alcohol brands.

Out-of-Home advertising remains a vital and vibrant channel for the alcohol category, offering numerous opportunities to drive leadership and innovation. By leveraging technology, embracing creative storytelling through innovation, engaging in experiential marketing, utilizing data-driven insights, and championing sustainability, alcohol brands can craft compelling campaigns that resonate with consumers and stand out in a crowded market. As the advertising landscape continues to evolve, OOH remains a powerful tool for alcohol brands seeking to lead and innovate

Johané graduated from AAA school of Advertising with a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications with a specialization in media in 2017 after which she started an internship at dentsu.

Over her 7 year career, Johané has gained experience in ATL and digital planning, account management and strategy across multiple brands in the FMCG, finance and insurance categories. She worked her way up from intern and currently holds an Account Director position at Carat managing clients and brands in the luxury alcohol, luxury consumer goods, ethnic haircare, security, and cosmetics industries.

Johané is passionate about driving efficiency and creativity through media and upskilling and empowering young people interested in advertising and media.