Acknowledging that upwards of half -- depending upon whom you ask -- or more online ads are consumed by bots rather than living, breathing human beings, the Outdoor Advertising Association has
launched an campaign touting the fact that billboards, unlike current-day online ads, are seen by actual human beings.
The new campaign, called Feel the Real, carries the headline, "This Ad Is Real." Launched to coincide with Advertising Week, the campaign aims to remind people the medium is alive and well and still working hard for advertisers.
Other headlines on posters and kiosks include "You are consuming this advertisement. You are real" and, with a jab at today's online first mentality, "Media planners, do you have a reality problem?"
Several ads are placed close to ad agencies and are customized specifically for the individual agency. For example, a billboard that appears outside Ogilvy & Mather New York reads, “Hey, Shelly, does this ad feel real to you?” referring, of course, to the agency's Chairman Emeritus Shelly Lazarus.
Of the campaign, Matt Dowshen, president of PNYC which created the ads, said, “In a world where digital and its ability to deliver what it promises is under significant scrutiny, out-of-home has a unique and compelling point of view that having one foot grounded in the real world matters.”
The campaign points to a website (ironically meta?) on which viewers are asked the question, "Did you see one of our out-of-home ads?" That's followed by four options, “Yes, I saw it in the real world,” “Yes, I saw it online,” “No, I heard about it,” and “No, I’m a robot.”
What with the rampant furor over ad blockers making the rounds recently, this particular campaign might actually garner some awareness for the dusty, old outdoor ad medium.