Making the most of outdoor advertising this Christmas

The closure of BHS, constant sales and empty store units make for a depressing picture of UK high streets but Christmas presents an opportunity to get consumers into stores and capture their attention on the move.


Research from outdoor specialists Exterion Media reveals seven in 10 fashion shoppers believe the high street is a great place for Christmas shopping and 61% did their shopping on the high street last year.

The findings from Exterion’s 11,000-strong urban consumer panel – – also shows almost one in two urban consumers look for inspiration on Christmas gifts while out and about, thus making it a prime location for brands presence.

“Footfall on our high streets and shopping malls is 25% higher in December compared with the rest of the year,” says David McEvoy, marketing director at OOH media company JCDecaux. “London’s West End expects £2.3bn of retail sales and footfall, up 30% on its 500,000 daily average in the six-week run-up to Christmas.”

READ MORE: How to get the timing right for Christmas-driven marketing

Take advantage of additional footfall

The high street therefore also presents an opportunity for brands looking to target those flocking to bricks-and-mortar stores to buy gifts.

Those exposed to OOH advertising during Black Friday last year, for example, were 36% more likely to interact with the brand on their smartphone, according to research from outdoor advertising trade body Outsmart. The data also shows a 9% uplift in search and a 23% boost in browsing activity.

READ MORE: People who see an OOH campaign are 17% more likely to engage with the brand on their mobile

JCDecaux’s McEvoy believes brand engagement can be boosted further using targeting. He says: “Digital outdoor screens can increase brand engagement on the high street by dominating the street scene via synchronised messaging, while the added capabilities of dynamic copy change can serve the right ad to the right consumer in the right location.”

To illustrate how this can be put to good effect JCDecaux ran its own Christmas campaign last year, which unfolded day-by-day on its digital screens and told the story of a bird called Arni who travelled from Norway to the Christmas Tree in London’s Trafalgar Square.

People are also shopping earlier – Exterion’s research shows that last year 15% of shoppers in urban areas had started their Christmas shopping in October and 27% in November, which provides a large window for brands to influence customers.

Fashion and retail brands in particular can begin to influence consumers from early autumn, as 52% of shoppers spent their money on clothing gifts last year and 45% think specifically about buying clothes after payday.


Find out how digital is changing outdoor advertising at the Festival of Marketing, which is running on 5 and 6 October at Tobacco Dock, London. For more information about the event, including how to book tickets, click here.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here