• OOH Formats Spotlight Creative Travel Ads


    By Ken Klein, Executive V.P., Government Affairs, OAAA

    Scientists call it symbiotic, a mutual benefit. Travel-tourism clients inspire creativity in out of home media (OOH). In turn, the entire line-up of OOH formats works for travel ads.

    Taxi tops, walls, transit, street furniture, and billboards showcase the wonders of being someplace else.

    A proof point is OAAA’s annual OBIE Award competition, which celebrates OOH creativity.

    A common thread that weaves through OBIE categories is travel-tourism, from the San Diego Taco Festival to Florida Aquarium.

    Jackson Hole wall in New York

    OBIE winners will be announced May 8 in Austin, TX.

    Judges were impressed by the creativity, craziness, and genius of travel-tourism entries.

    “When designing for OOH, it is important to make it beautiful, have fun with it, and tell consumers something they need to know,” said Chief Judge Matt Murphy of 72andSunny.

    These OBIE finalists tell the story:

    Wall signs

    Jackson Hole offers some of the best snow skiing in the United States. Touting its gravity, the ski resort put up wall signs in New York and San Francisco.

    Great Outdoors Colorado billboard

    Outdoor Formats to Promote the Outdoors

    Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) uses state lottery revenue to protect the outdoors and promote healthy activities and connection to nature. Using multiple OOH formats, this campaign offered a number of ways to connect with the outdoors, such as finding the Big Dipper, flying a kite, or rolling down a hill.

    Station Domination

    Travel Wisconsin sponsored a station domination at the train station in Chicago — a key feeder market for Wisconsin tourism — featuring the beauty of autumn.

    Travel Wisconsin Station Domination


    Westjet Activation

    Competition for international visitation is intense. When Westjet launched a nonstop from Toronto to Belize, creative agency Olson developed an OOH activation in Toronto, inviting Canadians to “come and play.”

    Pedestrians could play a drum, which activated dancing on a nearby 90-foot digital display. Street Factory Media custom-built software that uses decibel levels to calibrate video speed of the dancer (louder = faster).

    San Diego Taco Fest

    The tagline for Travel Belize: “A Curious Place.”


    Cartoonish creative promoted the San Diego Taco Fest, featuring    music, Lucha Libre wrestling, Chihuahua race, and plenty of tacos.


    Bus Shelter Posters

    Bus shelter posters promoted free admission at Florida Aquarium on Mother’s Day weekend.

    Agency PPK said the goal was to distinguish the aquarium from typical Mother’s Day gifts like chocolate and flowers by creating unique “flowers” made from fish. Attendance was way up compared to the previous year.

    Florida Aquarium              shelters

    Live Info via Digital

    Competing with other New York airports, Newark (airport symbol EWR) is a hub for United Airlines, which posted dynamic travel-time comparisons on taxi tops.

             United Airlines taxi tops

    Tourism Fun Facts 

    • Half of Americans don’t use all their vacation time (54 percent in 2016)
    • More than one in five Americans’ first job was in travel
    • In the private sector, travel is the seventh-largest employer
    • Travel-tourism is a mega category for out of home advertising
    • Direct spending on travel supports 8.6 million jobs (84 percent from domestic travel, 16 percent via in-bound international travel)


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