When it comes to understanding the effectiveness of advertising formats, the power of special builds has never been in doubt. But don’t just take our word for it.

According to the latest edition of Kantar’s ‘The Works’, our special build commissioned by Arla took the top spot in the insight giant’s consumer study which measured the most effective OOH ads.

Working with MediaCo, Carat, Zeal Creative and Ocean Outdoor, Arla achieved the strongest results for its lactofree installation which appeared at the Pump Station, Westfield London.

Arla’s 3D special build scored the highest, partly due to the 3D element of the activation which featured a giant Lactofree milk carton protruding beyond the confines of the OOH location. The billboard incorporated a fountain of actual liquid, creating the illusion of lactose-free milk being poured from the carton spout into a glass.

Kantar’s study asked 750 consumers to provide thoughts and feedback on top OOH ads over a given period.

  • Many respondents cited Arla’s “eye-catching” execution as the reason for its effectiveness
  • The ad landed in the top 5% of all ads for its power to convey the lactose-free message
  • The installation featured in the top 15% for being distinctive
  • The prominence of the name resulted in branding being in the top 40% of UK ads
  • 37% of people said they would definitely tell others about the ad.

The Kantar insights study was produced in association with Marketing Week and the Advertising Association’s Trust Working Group.

Managed for the brand by Ocean Labs, the special build formed as part of Arla’s Lactofree Freedom to Embrace campaign which included sampling and the launch of UK’s first lactose-free café in West London.

Customers were directed to the brand’s website housing a range of lactose-free recipes. A supporting social media campaign encouraged consumers to experience the ‘good feeling’ of the Arla Lactofree range.

What’s so special?

Here are four of our other all-time favourite Ocean Labs special builds that have successfully clocked up social shares, press commentary and peak consumer curiosity.

Simply roarsome

Quorn launched the UK’s first vegan dinosaur nuggets with an eight feet long, blue 3D animatronic T-Rex, complete with mechanical jaw and a roar registering 75 decibels. Not just made for a laugh, but eminently memorable – and shareable too. The meat free activation zone was accompanied by sampling at a dino-themed food truck.

Utterly fangtastic 

Vampires only appear at night. To hammer home the myth, BBC Creative staked their claim to two immersive billboards using clever artwork created by evening shadows. To herald the arrival of the broadcaster’s eponymous gothic thriller, a silhouette of Count Dracula only appeared once the sun had disappeared. Using a spotlight and strategically placed stakes, the special builds included an “in the event of vampires break glass” box for good measure.

More than 40 articles were written and shared about the activation and a time-lapse video of the build received seven million social media views.

Kerb appeal

To raise awareness for its new all-electric ID. family, Volkswagen created a one-of-a-kind living roadside billboard on Prince Street, Manchester. Measuring 12 x 3 metres and made entirely from different types of moss to capture polluting carbon dioxide, the billboard used wind turbines and solar panels to power the LEDs that helped create the signature ID.4 grille effect. The moss was later returned to the ground and the other special build elements fully recycled.

This campaign generated record levels for SUV consideration and attracted more than 140 pieces of media coverage and comment, reaching a potential 1.1 billion readers.

Sky high

In another attempt to wreak havoc, seven lifelike children, The Midwich Cuckoos, escaped Sky Original’s billboard outside Westfield London, their mysterious telepathic abilities causing a milk float to flip over nearby. Replicating the chaos of the sci-fi thriller, this unnerving immersive OOH activation mixed malevolent mannequins wearing yellow coats lurking around the experiential scene, accompanied by a creepy musical soundtrack to dial up the drama further. Weirdly wonderful.

These are highly individual examples of how adventurous brands are raising the bar when it comes to delivering that all important cut through, extending the notoriety of their special builds well beyond the public realm.

To find out more about how special builds can work for you,  contact Labs@oceanoutdoor.com.