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07/08/2019 - Views

The Power of OOH: PSAs and Non-Profits

"You can't buy a kidney, but you can buy a billboard on Hollywood's busiest street."

Nonprofits rarely have the comfort of relying on a big advertising budget to deliver their call to action to target audiences, whether that’s to donate, sign a petition, call your local congress or even donate a kidney. A safe bet, which happens to be the most effective,  is the old school, traditional medium…billboards! Trust me, they work. 

Take one of Talon’s more recent campaigns that was extremely powerful and extremely successful. In February of this year, a gentleman started a GoFundMe account to raise money to rent a billboard in busy Los Angeles to help save his best friend's life. That man, Antonio, has a rare kidney disease and doctors said he needed a kidney quickly to survive. By recommendation from creative agency The Woo, we worked fast to secure a billboard space on the corner of Barrington and Mississippi avenue in Sawtelle – a neighborhood we chose after we worked with the team to determine our ideal target audience. Those that are traditionally upscale, affluent, passionate about causes and influential with their peers. The billboard went live in May. Since, Reddit threads and hundreds and hundreds of good Samaritans have made donations and called in to see if they can be a donor. 

The power of OOH drew in thousands of social shares and numerous media stories nationwide.

Another successful cause-related campaign was led by our London team for Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2019. Car brand SEAT, part of the Volkswagen Group, and leading mental health movement CALM built a unique OOH mural installation featuring a pair of 3D ears with the provocative headline “Grow A Pair”. The campaign aimed to raise awareness and encourage bystanders to have open conversations around mental health. 

We’ve also spread the good word with companies in the healthcare industry – Children’s Hospital of Orange County, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Covenant HealthCare – which aren’t necessarily “nonprofits” but had a call to action to simply help people. 

OOH has proven time and time again that it still, after all these years, is one of the most power vehicles and, if done right, can be extremely cost effective. Which means nonprofits and companies with small budgets, but a powerful message, should always be turning to our industry. 

Below are some of the reasons why nonprofits, or companies looking to get the good word out, should turn to OOH: 

  • Builds credibility 
  • The industry now allows you to target donors such as top end executives that have the budgets and power to start corporate level sponsorship programs
  • The evolution of OOH data allows for strategic planning and organizations can roll out a campaign with purpose 
  • The increasing number of digital mediums in the marketplace have helped nonprofits turn around timely messages quickly and cost effectively 

A few bonus insider tips:

  • Many vendors offer nonprofit rates but beware, you might lose the option to target your audience and you may just have to rely on spaces available at various locations with zero strategy  
  • The most effective campaigns have balanced media mixes, so many sure if budget permits, you are supporting with other forms. But, if do your campaign right, it’ll be shared across multiple mediums (take Antonio Needs a Kidney for example). 

It’s not often you can say “we’re saving lives” in the billboard business. But, isn’t it a good day when you realize we actually can? 

Written by Aileen Shaw, EVP West Coast.