Gen Z Insights

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These are Gen Z’s favorite out-of-home ad formats

by Jacqi Levy
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    Out-of-home advertising is surging in popularity—in part due to Gen Z’s distaste for disruptive digital ads. Brands can tap into this trend by getting creative with ads placed strategically in locations where Gen Zs already congregate.

    Ladies and gentlemen, out-of-home ads are having a moment. 

    In fact, spend on out-of-home (OOH) advertising is up 35 percent since 2010, and reached $38 billion in 2018 alone. And marketers are spending big dollars because they work—outdoor ads were the most effective non-internet based media for the past six years.

    So why is OOH, which is largely considered to be an old-school ad format, having such a major resurgence? We have Gen Z, in part, to thank. 

    Gen Zs love OOH advertising. And they pay attention to it.

    Yes, 84 percent of Gen Zs say they pay attention to OOH advertising—in part because they find it “relaxing”. (Yes, relaxing!) Basically, they are over the mass-plastering of ads that pop-up, auto-play, and retarget them across every digital touchpoint. It’s all noise to them. Outdoor advertising, on the other hand—like gently falling rain or a babbling brook—is blissfully peaceful in it’s non-disruptiveness.

    Which non-digital ad formats does Gen Z prefer?

    TV advertising isn’t a totally lost cause. Roughly 53 percent of Gen Zs say they still pay attention to it. But with loads of Gen Zers affirming that the brick-and-mortar store is not yet dead, you may get more bang for your buck focusing on low-tech OOH like window displays and in-store signage to get Gen Zs to reach for their wallets. 

    A recent retail survey by UNiDAYS x Ad Age revealed Gen Z’s non-digital advertising preferences, and not surprisingly, OOH advertising formats ranked high on the list.

    blog image - Gen Zs favorite non digital ad formatsBut OOH's benefits go beyond its "relaxing" properties. These ads, by their very nature, have a greater chance of making an impression on Gen Z simply because they are not being being blocked or fast forwarded like their digital bretheren.

    The key to reaching Gen Z with OOH advertising 

    Thinking of giving OOH ads a shot? Regardless of your medium, they key to successfully reaching Gen Z with OOH advertising is this: DO NOT be boring. 

    And some brands are getting the message. For example, Taco Bell drew attention with it’s nacho cheese-dispensing billboard, self-dubbed as “the cheesiest” advertisement of all time. Or look at A&W’s outdoor sculpture, which used the last of the chain’s plastic straws to announce that it was permanently getting rid of, well, plastic straws. And then there’s Spotify, which quite successfully coupled deep user insights with a healthy dose of humor, to get the word out around town or Kate Spade’s bright yellow window display in partnership with eBay, which brought new meaning to the phrase “window shopping”. 

    Lesson learned: take your ads outdoors (or indoors, as the case may be), get creative, and you’re bound to get noticed by Gen Z.

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      Think digital marketing is all it takes to reach Gen Z? Think again. Download the research report here.