8 Ways to Advertise Outdoors

May 14, 2007 Blog 6 comments

In my recent series of posts, I have blogged about the increasing prevalence and popularity of outdoor advertising in Singapore. As cited in a recent survey, both taxi and bus advertising are on the increase. The growth in outdoor advertising has in fact led to the creation of its own awards – the Singapore Outdoor Advertising Award. It has also resulted in media behemoth Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) acquiring Media Box Office in 2005, allowing it to provide an integrated media solution to advertisers covering print, radio, online and outdoor channels.

As an advertising space, outdoor media opportunities have their pros and cons. I firmly believe that they do a lot of good for branding and positioning, as well as create greater consumer awareness. After all, most outdoor displays are highly visible, brand-driven, and specially designed to capture your attention. They are what I would call the widest end of the funnel – the first stop if you may to pique customer curiosity and generate interest.

The flip side about outdoor advertising is that it may be less effective in tactical and short-term campaigns. When you have a time-limited offer or promotion, TV, newspapers or flyers still work better. Often, the best integrated marketing communication campaigns employ a mix of outdoor, mass media, and on site marketing to generate the best response.
How does one venture outdoors? Here are 8 ways to do so, depending on your budgets and purposes.

The first is to occupy a prominent billboard at the side of a building. Obviously this works better if the building is beside a busy road like Eu Tong Sen Street. This advertisement’s use of bright lemon yellow and light blue catches the eye. Unfortunately, both the copy and the graphics aren’t very memorable.

Lamp post banners have also grown in popularity in recent years. Here is one on Hill Street beside the colourful windows of the MICA building. Does this one catch your attention?

Bus stop poster advertising is also on the rise, and they are especially popular with FMCG brands. No prizes for guessing what or rather who catches the eye here.

Colourful and eye-catching artwork sometimes help in branding an otherwise staid and boring product. I wonder why this should only be limited to postboxes? Why not entire buildings?

Roller blinds and shutters can be pretty effective advertising and branding platforms, as my earlier post alluded to.

Of course, creating a brightly coloured physical structure, like these Chinese dragons along South Bridge Road, seldom fail to grab people’s eyeballs. I hear that they are “teasers” to a Vesak day event when the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple will open.

Just like these mirthful cardboard cows standing pretty on empty fields around Singapore.

The ultimate expression of outdoor advertising with unparalled brand visibility is the DHL Balloon operated by DuckTours. Even my toddler son knows about this brand, with its striking red and yellow colours and unmistakable logo.

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. Outdoor advertising is effective becoz u draw the attention of ur customer in a more proactive way.
    Like u wat u mentioned b4, If Mohammed will not go to the mountain, the mountain must come. Consumer are spoilt with choice, hence its important to know how to to catch hold of their generally short span of attention.

  2. There is also the dynamic display billboards at Suntec, along Orchard Road. Think those bus-stop posters (ala Fann Wong n Bird Nest) are keen to tap on the “heartlanders'” market. ;p

    Outdoor advertising works if you walk or wait in the outdoors, often. Or even if one spends time walking in the outdoors, along any street, one must learn to slow down and “appreciate” the things/objects/pple around them. If Singaporeans are listed as the “fastest” walkers in the world, how much time will they spend looking at outdoor posters? I am curious.

    Compare to the time spent in front of TV, or internet….explains the response?

  3. zeezee,

    Certainly the ability to attract attention is the greatest draw for outdoor advertising. Compare this with newspaper advertisements or television commercials which are usually seen more unkindly as intrusions to the enjoyment of reading/ viewing. The challenge though is conveying more detailed information and complex messages.

  4. tigerfish,

    I believe that outdoor advertising generally works better for commuters compared to drivers, who tend to be more in a hurry. This is why the products and services being advertised tend to be generally FMCG and more mass market.

    As the statistics show, both press and TV are still kings. This is because of their ability to generate a more instantaneous and measurable response compared to outdoor advertising. However, brand visibility and awareness is better done with outdoor ads. The best campaigns probably need a mixture of both branding type awareness ads and more tactical sales oriented ones.

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