The FOOH: a new era in creative advertising

Combining illusion, surprise and interaction, “Fake Out of Home” (FOOH) campaigns are revolutionizing the traditional approach to out-of-home advertising.

In a marketing world where innovation is key, “Fake Out of Home” (FOOH) campaigns are emerging as a fascinating trend. Combining illusion, surprise and interaction, these campaigns are revolutionizing the traditional approach to out-of-home advertising. These are advertising initiatives based on special effects and computer-generated images, which use public space to create a unique and memorable advertising experience. Unlike traditional billboards or posters, FOOHs rely on surprise and illusion to capture the public’s attention and get noticed. 

/ Justified success

At the heart of FOOH campaigns lies the creative use of illusion.

This can involve displays that seem to interact with their surroundings in impossible ways, or art installations that play with perspective and perception. The result is “fake” but looks so real that it appeals. The short format of these advertising campaigns is also appreciated by users and helps to create real engagement with the brand.

Indeed, Jacquemus created a buzz with its iconic Bambino bags rolling in front of the Opéra Garnier in Paris. The campaign, produced entirely in 3D, attracted a large number of Internet users, who shared the results on social networks. It’s not the only time the brand has shown originality: to mark the start of 2024, Jacquemus has published a video of a chalet covered in snow by a brand bag. Just the thing to remind consumers that a new year rhymes with creativity!

In the age of social media, viral potential is a major asset. 

FOOH campaigns, with their unusual and sometimes humorous nature, are perfectly positioned to gain considerable traction online. A successful campaign can quickly become a topic of conversation, extending its reach far beyond its augmented reality.
This is the case, for example, of the Maybelline campaign in which subways and buses can be seen sporting gigantic eyelashes ready to be made up with a mascara of the same magnitude. This computer-generated activation, too, provoked numerous reactions on the web.

Other brands have used public transport to carry out a FOOH campaign, such as Subway, which transformed a Parisian bus into a sandwich, to promote their new extra “cheesy” range. An original way to promote your product! Italian clothing brand Benetton was equally creative, re-purposing a branded bus with a number of poodles, similar to those featured in the advertising campaign, climbing out of it. The video generated a lot of positive feedback on the brand’s networks. 

For brands, FOOH is not just a way of standing out from the crowd, it can also be a way of gaining a certain economic advantage. An activation of this scale would be complex and very costly to implement, whereas this way the brand generates significant engagement for a smaller sum. 

/ Overcoming the challenges of illusion
Despite their potential, FOOH campaigns come with their own set of challenges. Planning and implementation require a deep understanding of the space, the target audience, and often, a healthy dose of creative courage. It’s crucial to ensure that the brand message isn’t lost in the creative effort. If the message is not clearly conveyed, or if the surprise effect is misinterpreted, this can lead to a negative perception of the brand. A campaign that is too misleading or lacks clarity can frustrate or confuse the audience. This was the case with JD Sport’s campaign, which depicted Big Ben wearing The North Face’s iconic down jacket. Many users believed it to the point of criticizing the campaign.

The question of ethics also arises. As the line between reality and fiction is very fine, it’s essential that the brand mentions that these are computer-generated images to remain transparent with its consumer. What’s more, in a world where trends change rapidly, especially with the influence of social media, a FOOH campaign can quickly become obsolete or lose its initial appeal.

FOOH campaigns represent an exciting turning point in outdoor advertising.

By breaking convention and embracing innovation, they offer a new way for brands to connect with their audiences in a memorable and engaging way. As the world of marketing continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how this trend develops and influences other forms of advertising.

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