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The Intimacy of One-to-Many

March 5, 2021

OOH is intimate. Yes, technically, it’s a one-to-many messenger, the experience is public, concurrent, and you are not alone. Yet a viewer’s OOH consumption happens on a personal level, internalized, and with a singular interpretation.

Imagine finding yourself standing on a city street or looking out the window while driving a car. Alert, expectant, out in the world. Life is swirling about, most people are wearing masks, some aren’t, everyone is seemingly on a mission. You take notice how the crowds and traffic are increasing, and relish in the expectation for more action and energy in the coming weeks.

You’re naturally taking it all in – navigating and investigating what’s happening around you. Engaging in a visual triage of sorts. Your brain’s instinctive bias for efficiency leans into pictorial messages. The survival mechanism is kicking in. You are processing all manner of visual rhetoric. Working through hierarchies of intent and meaning. A constant filtering of input and stimuli. Making lightning fast judgements of what you see - Yes/No, Friend/Foe, Helpful/Not Helpful? In this stream of signals are moments of OOH media.

Something in your line-of-sight stops you for a pause. A message resonates, disrupts expectations, triggering a dialogue. Asking and answering a question with intrigue, humor, literal relevance, aesthetics, or perhaps a contextual adjacency. The exchange is active and present, satisfying your craving for progress, unity and order when out in the public space. The puzzle is complete. There is empathy. Everything “clicks” and the persuasive power of seeing and solving is gratified.

This is an OOH impression. It happens in crowded spaces with a shared sense of cooperation and purpose. The public, the space and the OOH messenger all know their roles. These conditions create a reciprocity of trust, an emotional closeness, an opportunity for disclosure. When a message is received on target there is a pronounced impact on our attention and long-term memory storage. There’s a flow, a freedom and an intimacy - the intimacy of one-to-many.

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