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Why Twitter Decided to Use Outdoor Ads to Create One of 2016’s Notable Campaigns

Why Twitter Decided to Use Outdoor Ads to Create One of 2016’s Notable Campaigns

In October 2016 Twitter rolled out an epic campaign in New York City that highlights how the platform serves as a stage for the world’s biggest issues. Set right before the 2016 Presidential elections, the tech unicorn opted for outdoor ads to remind users what Twitter was for.

The campaign displayed images of the most discussed topics on the platform, ranging from the Presidential race candidates to melting polar ice caps. The single images with the # hashtag symbol and the iconic Twitter bird were text-less. The approach, just like the platform, to allow users to express their opinion on the topic to the world. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that Twitter is “the place to see what’s happening” on a world perspective, or in a local community.

Twitter was awarded this year’s “Grand Prix” for traditional outdoor advertising at Cannes Lions prestigious festival in France. Twitter’s Jayanta Jenkins, global creative director said: "This campaign highlights the top issues being discussed on Twitter — it reflects different sides and doesn't take sides. As they always do on Twitter, people will bring their own point of view to the images that can be seen today around NYC."

The choice to use a more traditional channel for a tech company raised a few questions. "Just think of all the brands that have used out-of-home in a really powerful way at big moments for those brands. Think about Apple when they did the 'Think Different' work. I think the out-of-home medium is a really beautiful and powerful way to humanize tech brands. Out-of-home, for us, is a great way to get people to look up, off their devices, and remind them of the conversation that's happening on Twitter. You can use less to say more." Jenkins explained.  

Twitter isn’t the first tech company to use traditional outdoor ads. Snapchat has also been known to use outdoor campaigns as a method of user acquisition and branding. Often using only its logo or an ad for a filter (that only its users can understand). “..experimenting with multiple media is a sensible acquisition strategy to try and break through their user ceiling," Ben Foster, SVP Global Strategy and Innovation at public relations and marketing agency Ketchum Digital, said about the use of outdoor ads.

Twitter was crowned “King of Outdoor Advertising” in Cannes. "It's a beautiful campaign" that is "clean, simple and engaging," said Bruno Bertelli, president of the Cannes Lions jury for outdoor advertising.

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