Starcom Logo





The Death of Political OOH Advertising?

May 22, 2015


Out Of Home advertising has long been inextricably linked with elections campaigns across the world. Everyone is used to being bombarded with party political messages as soon as they step foot outside their front door. In the UK £7 million was spend on OOH adverts during the 2010 election cycle equating to nearly a third of total political ad spend, while in America political ad spending grew 13.3% between the 2009-2010 election cycle and the 2011-2012 cycle.

Some of the most famous OOH adverts in British General Election history have been election defining. The 1979 “Labour Isn’t Working” poster by the Conservatives and the 2001 mash-up of William Hague and Margaret Thatcher saw Margaret Thatcher oust the incumbent Labour government with a parliamentary majority and Tony Blair secure a second consecutive in office for Labour for the first time in 25 years.


The 2015 General Election wasn’t a strong year for either the Conservatives or Labour. The Tories kick started a year by unveiling not only an uninspired creative but by also using an image that is not in the U.K but rather Germany, a fact they denied to much derision. The Labour Party on the other hand used an old Conservative photo of David Cameron that at the time was so obviously airbrushed, the Tories were endlessly ridiculed and yet Labour made no mention of the fact in the creative.

Instead what we saw was a move by political parties towards the digital spaces of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and a move to unleash the power of political social media marketing. By harnessing all three platforms political parties are able get around the ban on TV advertising by releasing targeted video content.

With political parties then vacating the OOH space and moving online what was left was a great big ad spaced hole the brands were then able to fill, particularly when it came to digital OOH.

Sky News brought real-time opinion polling to people across the UK via digital OOH. By teaming up with Grand Visual they were able measure social activity on Twitter such as positivity around each party leader and which party was most tweeted about over the course of each hour.

positive tweets pole

HMV used Europe’s largest indoor advertising screen at Waterloo Station to get people to #VoteFrank and buy the latest series of popular political drama House of Cards.

vote frank

Google used the iconic 4-sided digital screen on Old Street to remind those that work in the Silicon Roundabout area of London that voting had begun and provided details of the nearest polling stations and the top searched General Election 2015 questions on the screens.

mini cooper

Finally Mini Cooper booked a series of Transvisions in rail stations throughout the UK and used politically savvy messaging to connect with time-pressed commuters on their way to and from work. Mini ran with three different creatives, ‘For the Best Candidate in the Country’, ‘Seize Power’ and ‘Horsepower to the People’.

horse power to the people

All of the brands mentioned were able to use political messaging on digital OOH screens to connect with consumers in a subtle way that political parties have failed to do time and again. With a General Election due to occur in the Republic of Ireland no later than April 2016 and the growth of digital OOH throughout the country; the question remains will we see the likes of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour to try to connect with the public in a way that very few political parties have done? Or are we set for more of the same with brands exploiting the election to create politically relevant messaging to connect with consumers?




Tags: ,


view all posts button

01 - 645 2950

Designed and built by Dot Dash