Learning About OOH Media

Submitted by a NYC-based college student:

Last Friday we were given a lecture on out of home media. Very few of us in my class knew what it is. Despite living in New York, and having such a great exposure to Out of Home Media, we never knew the name given to this form of advertising.

Our assignment was to take a walk through New York and make note of the various forms of OOH media that we came across. I was aware not to look for any billboards as we had been told that these are not permitted in downtown business centers.

I headed straight for Times Square, believing that I would be able to find various forms of this media there. Approaching the Westin Times Square Hotel I spotted two static wallscapes. One looked more like a large old fashioned drop down banner and was advertising the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center. The other, advertising GAP, was far more professional in appearance as it was shaped to the contours of the building itself.

In Times Square I was not disappointed – the place is covered in Out of Home Media of one form or another. In fact you can barely see any brickwork or paint under all of the advertising! The “Spectaculars” were truly amazing. There were more wallscapes of various kinds, both static and digital signs advertising various brands, and of course those promoting all the different theater shows. There were also the telephone booths and bus shelters, known as street furniture in the trade, carrying all types of advertising.

An open top bus passed by me, completely painted in an advertisement for Absolut Vodka. I also saw advertising on cabs in Taxi Top Screens, another form of transit advertising.

On my way home I decided to take the subway, where I saw various advertisments on the subway walls. I had expected the trains themselves to be baring advertising like the open top bus, but they had none. Perhaps that is because they are so bedecked with graffiti that the advertisers do not want to spend money, only for their advertising to be painted over. However, the train carriages are filled on the inside with a variety of transit advertising.

Whether you love or hate OOH media you cannot deny that it does brightens up the surroundings and bring life to a city.