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Four digital out-of-home campaigns to inspire advertisers this festive season.

The creative possibilities of digital out-of-home advertising make the medium a perfect match to celebrate special occasions.

December 10, 2020

Christmas is a time for coming together and sharing some holiday magic with those closest to you. But before we get too excited, can we talk about the year we’ve just had? 2020 will go down in history as one of the weirdest, most challenging, and most memorable (though not necessarily for the right reasons) years in recent history.

One of the biggest shifts has been towards working from home rather than in an office. A move that has reduced traffic around commercial areas and created challenges for businesses and marketers alike.

It’s not looking like the situation is going to change after the pandemic is over, either. A PwC study suggests that as many as 80% of working Canadians do not want to go back to working in an office full time.

And after nearly a year of disruption, change and (let’s be honest) panic, it doesn’t look like things will be back to normal for Christmas.

Staying home for Christmas

The truth is that Christmas 2020 is not going to be normal. Fewer people will be gathering outside their homes, visiting friends and family in their homes and many will likely be feeling more disconnected than ever this Christmas.

But after the year we have had — being apart from loved ones and working from home — our desire to connect and feel a part of something is stronger than ever.

Historically advertisers have tried to tap into this desire for togetherness with their festive campaigns. The most successful campaigns use a mix of channels, including OOH and DOOH, to deliver their message.

In fact, DOOH has been growing in popularity over recent years, driving growth in OOH marketing as a whole and contributing an all-time high of 28.3% of all OOH ads in 2019.

Christmas 2020 poses both a unique opportunity and a unique challenge for marketers: 

  • An opportunity to tap into this overwhelming desire people have to come together.
  • A challenge to leverage DOOH advertising effectively during a time when people are more reluctant to venture far from home.

To help you get into the holiday spirit and inspire some creativity, we have rounded up 5 examples of the best festive DOOH campaigns in recent years.

Source: AdWorld

Coca Cola

Arguably the king of Christmas advertising, many people don’t consider the countdown to Christmas official until they have seen the Coca Cola truck, either on TV or rolling through their streets.

We could have made this entire list of festive DOOH campaigns from Coca Cola alone, but we have narrowed it down to just two genius ideas from recent years.

1. The first is their Share a Coke campaign which started in 2011 but has run regularly ever since. Using digital billboards, they spread the message to #shareacoke with a loved one at Christmas and sold bottles of Coke with several hundred of the most popular names on the label.

Recently customers have been able to order custom labels with any name. They even made the name tags removable, so people can stick them to bags, phone cases or anything else they take with them everywhere.

2. Coca Cola decided to take full ownership of the countdown to Christmas by placing DOOH advertising around Dublin, Ireland in 2018. A large billboard in the centre of town displayed a real-time countdown clock, creating a feeling of anticipation among shoppers and spreading some good old-fashioned festive cheer.

Interactive DOOH campaigns like this are a fantastic way to build an association between your brand and the most wonderful time of the year.

Coca Cola have certainly nailed this association like no one else. Did you know they’re even responsible for Santa’s outfit being red?!

Source: Promo Marketing


The UK supermarket giant launched an innovative DOOH campaign in 2017 designed to help shoppers in high streets and malls see their best offers and easily navigate to the nearest store.

Leveraging the latest DOOH technology, they were able to update customers on store opening hours and the latest offers in a way that was relevant and useful. They delivered thousands of different variations, with the messaging tailored to geographical location and target demographics.

Imagine if they had been delivering these ads in the elevators of local residential towers! How much more traffic do you think they could have generated if they told people about the latest Christmas offers? And exactly where they should go to pick them up just as they’re heading out to do their Christmas shopping?


If you’re looking to create a festive marketing campaign that is truly engaging and interactive, DOOH is the ideal platform.

Swarovski realized this back in 2017 when they created interactive billboards around shopping malls. These billboards allowed shoppers to create a Christmas wish list (entirely out of Swarovski products, naturally) there and then.

They could have left it there and let people simply have fun making lists, but they took it a step further. People could then choose to have their completed lists sent to them, or to their family and friends, via email or SMS.

People love choosing their own gifts. And allowing them to share a wish list with their loved ones, while they are already engaging with your brand, was a clever way to ensure that Santa had to make a long and expensive trip to the Swarovski store that year!

Sony and Santa
Source: OOHMedia

Universal and Sony

Universal and Sony had a similar idea but approached it from the other direction. 

While Swarovski let shoppers create and share their wish lists, Universal and Sony chose to try and help people looking for gifts without the aid of a list.

Using the same medium, digital billboards spread across various malls, customers were able to browse movies available to buy at nearby stores.

The billboards encouraged them to become ‘gifting heroes’ by inputting information about the person they were shopping for to create a list of six suggested movies they might like. Like Swarovski, they took this one step further and allowed shoppers to have the list texted to them, along with information on which stores stocked the titles and how they could find them.

How is this Christmas different?

We know Christmas is not going to be normal this year, and for advertisers that poses a problem. With TVs and mobile devices already saturated with some great (and some not so great) festive marketing, how can you leverage DOOH to your advantage when fewer people are going to be leaving their homes?

Simple, take DOOH as close to home as you possibly can!

As the pandemic continues to affect the business world, our data shows that residential elevator traffic has climbed back up to 80-90% of pre-COVID levels already. Compare this to commercial elevator traffic lagging at around 25% of pre-COVID levels, and it’s easy to see where you need to go to reach people with DOOH this Christmas.

Vertical Impressions offers marketers the chance to reach thousands of customers with DOOH marketing from just outside their doorstep by placing your brand in the elevators of over 40 residential towers across Canada.

As well as being the best place to reach customers outside of their homes this Christmas, residential elevator advertising lets you:

  • Reach customers with DOOH advertising where they feel most comfortable — and make sure your brand is the first thing they see when they leave the house.
  • Benefit from a captive audience — your ad is a welcome distraction from an otherwise dull elevator ride, so you know they’re paying attention!
  • Target your audience based on interests, location, income and much more.

Our platform was purpose built for elevator advertising, enabling marketers to deliver immersive, engaging and interactive DOOH campaigns with a level of targeting not otherwise possible outside of the online space.

Learn more about Vertical Impression and start turning elevator riders into customers.

Start planning a smarter campaign today.