Digital vs. Outdoor Advertising: How Fashion Is Taking Over the Streets

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This season’s fashion advertising strategies have surely surprised many fashion advertisers and public relations professionals. It seems that when it comes to advertising, the best way to get ahead is to go back to basics.
ELLE Education Business
TopicFashion / Outdoor Advertising / Communication

Long live the street, the ultimate battlefield for any fashion brand to consolidate any trend diffusion. After the pandemic lockdowns, combined with restrictions on the street, it seems that all fashion advertisers have become obsessed with outdoor strategies.

Over the last decade, digital advertising has increased its power against traditional advertising. According to ReportLinker in the Global Digital Advertising and Marketing Industry, the worldwide market for digital advertising spending in 2020 was estimated at US$350 billion. Their expectation for the next six years is to reach a revised size of US$786.2 billion. 

The U.S. market was estimated at US$155.3 billion in 2021, while China is forecasted to reach US$254.9 billion by 2026. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, “the large increases in online traffic provided opportunities for companies to keep their target audience engaged through digital marketing initiatives. While overall digital marketing spending declined due to the pandemic-induced cuts in marketing and advertising budgets during the lockdown, available budgets were directed at digital marketing initiatives”, according to the same report.

Despite those numbers being exceptionally tempting for brands to invest in digital marketing, the fashion industry players are relocating their ad budgets to tangible PR events, and physical and on-the-street displays as well. This atypical movement against the trend does not mean their digital strategy is to cut the budget, on the contrary, the more channels a brand integrates into its communication and promotion strategy, the better. 

Outdoor Advertising: “Hello Fashion, I’m Back” 

According to market research and consumer insights Premise, “many companies and businesses clamor for high foot traffic areas, spaces, and spots for outdoor advertising. It is because outdoor or out-of-home (OOH) advertising helps get and build brand recognition”. 

OOH advertising is used to promote services or products in specific geographic locations, billboards and street furniture are emblematic examples. According to Premise, “it communicates the message to the target audience and gives them maximum exposure”.

Besides gaining brand recognition at niche locations, outdoor advertising is all about attracting attention and triggering an immediate response whether it be emotional or rational. Outdoor ads can inform the customer about the latest brand activity or launch.

Among outdoor advertising, we can find different formats such as billboards, lamp posts, transit ads, cinema ads, and guerrilla advertising.

In this unusual twist, wouldn’t it make sense that in a hyper-connected and digitally monitored world, people would want more than just be staring at a smartphone screen?

Street traffic, brand happenings, street flash-mobs, or a monumental display is what fashion consumers are craving. Digital marketing has not killed the classic advertising star after all. 

One of the first signs of shifting was the official return of the fashion calendar and staged runways. Now the movement is on as the presentations of the cruise collections are just around the corner. The creative director of Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, will show her latest collection in the Andalusian capital, Seville, in a privileged location this month: Plaza de España. Similarly, Chanel returned to stage their cruise presentations in an international yet-familiar place to the brand’s ethos: the principality of Monaco. 

Bottega Veneta placed the brand’s Wardrobe 02 collection advertising on a rooftop on Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) flightpath. Passengers on the flight were able to view advertisements for dancer Roberto Bolle and musician Arca from the sky upon arrival and departure from LAX.

Farfetch displayed its latest advertising campaign starring the British-born actress Kim Cattrall in -the legendary- Sunset Boulevard, with an exceptional press and audience reaction for the new spring 2022 campaign titled #YourChoiceYourFarfetch, the Internet went crazy. 

Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss did a similar move to promote the brand’s first bag collection on a billboard on Flatbush Avenue. Certainly, a location on-brand, as Flatbush is one of Brooklyn’s most diverse neighborhoods with the presence of Jamaican, Caribbean, Pakistani, African American, and Latino communities. Jean-Raymond himself is an advocate for diversity and inclusion within the fashion system.

For brands such as Loewe and AMI Alexandre Mattiussi, the French capital is their playground. Loewe unveiled the SS2022 campaign on a billboard in La Madeleine in Paris. As for Mattiussi, he staged his FW2022 collection in a parade inspired by the Paris metro and its eclecticism defined as “a travel in space and time…a place where everyone mixes and blends, where trends develop”. It was an invitation to passengers to discover an elevated reality. Lately, AMI has run a brand recognition campaign with billboards in New York, Los Angeles, Seoul, Hangzhou, Beijing, Chongqing, and Paris. 

Even digital strategies emulate outdoor activities. Coperni’s latest collection is a look-book resembling a smartphone home screen with the Paris weather changeable forecast. Founders Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Valliant wanted to bring the collection out of the runway and into the streets. 

Outdoor advertising is the fashion’s latest attempt to reconnect with consumers organically and maybe, to move the brand experience out of -only- digital strategies. After all, the street is where fashion battles take form, don’t they?


Originally published at: ELLE Education Business