Eight OOH Campaigns of 2022 that Drew Attention to Important Social Issues
by Benny Taubman, OOH TODAY Reporter
What did you get this holiday season? While it feels good to purchase or receive presents such as new clothes, cool gadgets, or the latest iPhone, the true spirit of the holidays is giving, not receiving. Likewise, the best gift is the feeling of helping those less fortunate – not material goods.
Looking back to the past year, and in the holiday spirit of charity and giving back, OOH Today is honored to salute OOH campaigns from 2022 that went above and beyond to help those in need by raising awareness of important social causes, fighting inequity, inspiring us to be better people, and more. Although this list could be filled with dozens of possible campaigns, it would simply not be possible to highlight them all. So, OOH Today has selected eight, in no particular order.
Campaign #1: “Heroes in History” by Lamar
To celebrate Black History Month 2022, Lamar honored nine “distinguished, accomplished, and groundbreaking African Americans” on hundreds of their digital billboards all throughout the U.S. for the entirety of the month of February. Those honored included “Heroes in History who broke barriers and created opportunities for others” such as scientist George Washington Carver, author Toni Morrison, and American civil rights activist Ruby Nell Bridges Hall.
Campaign #2: Ukraine Sunflower by Adams Outdoor
Many consider the largest news story of 2022 to be the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This simplistic yet compelling OOH campaign from Adams Outdoor graciously raised awareness of the transpiring invasion and served as a bright beacon of support for the Ukrainian people by displaying Ukraine’s national flower, the sunflower, on over 413 billboards across seven states. Additionally, on the static billboards, the bright yellow sunflower is presented on a blue background – a nod to the Ukrainian flag.
Campaign #3: “Vote for Abortion Rights” by SaveArtSpace
On Jun. 24, the Supreme Court overturned the case of Roe v Wade, revoking the federal right to abortion access in the United States. In a campaign curated by Swedish-American conceptual artist Michele Pred and sponsored by the Brooklyn-based non-profit, SaveArtSpace, 19 billboards were placed in 14 U.S. cities where laws regarding abortion access were to be voted on in local elections. The billboards featured provoking artwork from 10 different artists, including Pred, which encouraged citizens to maintain women’s reproductive rights and vote in favor of abortion access.
Campaign #4: “The End of the Dream” by Thomas Broening
“The End of the Dream” billboard campaign by Oakland photographer Thomas Broening was conceived to raise awareness about climate change and the homelessness crisis in California by means of OOH. Over 14 minimalist billboards throughout California displayed Broening’s bleak photographs of the environmental destruction induced by climate change and crude encampments occupied by California’s homeless population. “With each billboard there’s no text. There’s no call to action. I think the first thing we need to do is look at the problem. That’s my goal. Just have people look at it,” Broening told Fox KTVU.
Campaign #5: “Imagine” by Crispin Porter Bogusky
The “Imagine” campaign was created for International Women’s Day and challenged its viewers’ gender biases associated with certain careers and the workplace. Created by agency Crispin Porter Bogusky (CPB) London and supported by Creative Equals, Goodstuff, Assembly, and Open Media, the campaign interrogated ingrained societal biases like the notion that a CEO would be a man or that a nurse would be a woman. “We all have unconscious bias, and the only way to change that is to question, and to get people talking,” said the Managing Director of CPB London, Helen James.
Campaign #6: “Adopt Your Next Pet” by START RESCUE
Across the United States, millions of animals are euthanized annually due to underfunded and overpopulated animal shelters. In a California-based campaign launched by START RESCUE, 30 billboards were launched to encourage pet rescue and adoption and raise awareness of the issues facing animal shelters. The billboards featured bold, straight-to-the-point text such as “Save a Life” and “Shelters Are Full” and were estimated to reach over 2 million weekly impressions altogether.
Campaign #7: “Shine A Light” by Encompass Media Group
The year of 2022 unfortunately saw a rise in prejudice and hostility aimed toward Jewish people. Combatting this, the Shine a Light campaign, run by Encompass Media Group and sponsored by the OAAA and Anti-Defamation League, fought to dispel antisemitism and combat bigotry. The campaign consisted of yellow, street-level signs placed across high-visibility areas in New York, NY featuring succinct phrases opposing antisemitism and encouraging kindness.
Campaign #8: “PassItOn” by The Foundation for a Better Life
In 2022, the non-profit organization The Foundation for a Better Life released the 15th collection of advertisements for its billboard campaign titled “PassItOn.” The campaign has been running since 2001 and utilizes cameos from notable figures to promote positive values and encourage people to “pass them on.” The latest batch of inspirational Ads featured iconic individuals such as the Wright Brothers, Mister Rogers, and Oprah Winfrey.