Faux Out-of-Home Campaigns: The Future of Advertising in Augmented Reality

20th September 2023

In the ever-evolving world of advertising, where capturing consumers’ attention is fierce competition, a new trend has emerged: faux out-of-home (OOH) campaigns.

These hyper-realistic, augmented reality (AR), or CGI-based digital ads are designed to mimic real-world OOH activations, creating a buzz for brands and sparking discussions. But are these campaigns the future of advertising in augmented reality, or do they raise ethical concerns?

Let’s explore the arguments for and against digital OOH campaigns.

For Digital OOH Campaigns:

1. Disruption and Engagement: Fernando Febres, VP of Marketing for Maybelline U.S., sees faux OOH as a disruptive way to engage consumers. These campaigns generate curiosity and intrigue, making people wonder whether what they see is real. This engagement can lead to increased brand awareness.


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(Maybelliene’s viral Digital OOH campaign, which helped spark this conversation)

2. Extended Reach: Unlike traditional OOH advertising, digital OOH lives online, allowing brands to reach a global audience. This extended reach can be especially valuable for brands targeting a broader demographic or those who need more resources for large-scale physical OOH campaigns.

3. Cost-Effectiveness: Faux OOH campaigns can be more cost-effective than their physical counterparts. They eliminate expenses associated with physical locations, production management, building permits, and set materials. This cost savings can be significant for brands with limited budgets.

4. Integration with AR and VR: The crossover between digital and physical activations is becoming more common as augmented and virtual reality technologies advance. Digital OOH campaigns can leverage these technologies effectively to drive traffic and sales, making them a valuable tool for advertisers.

Against Digital OOH Campaigns:

1. Ethical Concerns: Faux OOH campaigns operate in a grey area, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. This can leave consumers wondering whether these activations exist in real life or only online. Brands must be cautious about causing confusion or unintentional harm to their audience.

2. Adherence to Industry Standards: Traditional OOH advertising adheres to careful creative review and content regulations. Faux OOH, on the other hand, can bypass these standards, potentially leading to misleading or deceptive campaigns.

3. The Value of Authenticity: In an age of disinformation, authenticity is a critical measure that brands should strive for. Creating genuine 2D and 3D DOOH campaigns builds consumer trust and ensures transparency. Faking it may lead to disillusionment and damage brand credibility.

To summarise, digital out-of-home campaigns offer exciting opportunities for advertisers to engage audiences in new and creative ways, particularly in augmented reality. However, they also raise significant ethical and transparency concerns.

As the advertising industry navigates this evolving landscape, finding the right balance between innovation and trust will be crucial to the success of modern and untraditional OOH campaigns.

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