The Power of Out of Home Advertising’s Effect on Social!

The billboard that went viral

Mark Young, Former Contributor

I worked at Clear Channel Outdoor for two years running marketing, and the whole time we’d execute campaigns knowing that the un-skippable nature of Out of Home (OOH) generated word of mouth (ie:  social) effectively.  And in some huge campaigns we did in concert with iHeart Radio we saw some huge activity in the social channels (Lady Gaga comes to mind!).  We also saw OOH as an extension of Social and no one’s done that better than Coca Cola with #shareacoke.  But who knew it would take leaving Clear Channel to work at Sysomos to bring it all together.

Clear Channel put up a unit in Toronto…a single unit and it generated amazing buzz! 


This single billboard with barely any real information (although many Torontoians clearly knew it was Drake related) went viral almost instantly. People from the city of Toronto started sharing pictures of the billboard across Twitter, Instagram and other social channels, with the wonder of what it could possibly mean. As social channels started to buzz about the unit, mainstream media started to pick up on it as well and the mysterious billboard was suddenly being talked about on sites like Time and Spin.

What kind of impact did this single ad unit have on social?

Using Sysomos, Clear Channel Canada was able to determine that between November 4th (the day it went up) and November 9th, the billboard generated almost 9,000 social media mentions. 8,398 were people talking about it on Twitter alone.

Social Media Activity Around Clear Channel's Drake Billboard

What’s even more impressive is that most of those mentions occurred on a single day. The day after the unit went up, people started noticing it in a big way.

Popularity Over Time Around Clear Channel's Drake Billboard

We were even able to help Clear Channel determine who was helping to drive so much conversation around this single billboard in Toronto.

November 5th Timeline Showing What Drove Conversation Around Clear Channel's Drake Billboard

Amazing to see the Power of OOH and the Power of great creative extended to Social.  I’ve never seen a campaign with so little spend create this type of buzz!

This just goes to prove that social media is not in a world of it’s own, but that it plays a valuable role throughout your marketing and advertising mix. It’s time to stop thinking about your social media marketing being different from the rest of your marketing mix. Now, it’s just overall marketing, and we have the proof.

To get the full story of Drake’s billboard, along with a great analysis of how out of home advertising best practices can help to achieve this kind of ROI, check out Clear Channel Canada’s write up about the single ad unit that blew up.

(Image credits: Clear Channel Canada & Spin)

One Comment on “The Power of Out of Home Advertising’s Effect on Social!”

  1. Pingback: The Struggle For Media Cities – Design Exchange

Leave a Reply