2 min read

Marketing Life Beyond Digital with Lush

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You probably saw the headlines – British cosmetics company Lush announced in late November that they were doing the unthinkable. Effective immediately, they said, they would no longer use social media giants Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok to engage with customers around the world. Why would a global business cut off multiple millions of followers and risk losing millions of dollars in sales?

To protect their customers.

Lush CEO Mark Constantine put it this way: "I've spent all my life avoiding putting harmful ingredients in my products. There is now overwhelming evidence we are being put at risk when using social media." He was talking about a host of damaging misinformation, racism and mental health concerns recently revealed by a Facebook whistleblower, but Facebook (now Meta) isn’t the only culprit.

"I'm not willing to expose my customers to this harm," he added, "so it's time to take [social media] out of the mix."

Doing the right thing is good business

Lush may be the latest, and their withdrawal from social media may be the most comprehensively dramatic, but they are by no means the first. That place goes to Elon Musk, who back in 2018 accepted a Twitter challenge from followers and ditched Facebook pages for both SpaceX and Tesla.

Since then, numerous big brands have taken their own actions. In 2020 hundreds of companies from Microsoft and Coca-Cola to Ben & Jerry’s, Hershey, Honda and Pfizer pulled their Facebook advertising for a month to protest unrestrained violent and divisive speech. Unilever announced they were "shifting to other media." Starbucks now says they are rethinking their organic presence on Facebook in response to overwhelming "negative, insensitive and hate-speech related comments" every time they post about social responsibility issues.

Eco-friendliness and ethical behavior matter to consumers. A whopping 88% say they're doing their bit to be greener and more socially conscious and they expect brands to step and help achieve that. Publicly dumping social media certainly makes a bold statement that resonates with consumers. But will it damage your ability to reach all-important marketing goals?

Nope. Even Lush didn't go the whole hog, they hung onto their Twitter and YouTube accounts. But smart digital marketers were already seeing the writing on the wall.

Out of home picks up the slack, and then some

"Out of Home advertising offers brands an all new opportunity to flex their creative muscle with targeting and measurement," notes Onescreen.ai's Chief Strategist Tim Rowe. Whimsical or straight-up serious, bold and concise, billboards, posters, street furniture and mobile displays invite attention and inspire a response in ways digital simply cannot.

And they do it without irritating the heck out of people. Digital messages are usually surrounded by an eye-crossing clutter of other ads that compete for attention and put off viewers instead of drawing them in. Digital ads interrupt with unwanted pop-ups and flashing visuals and sound. No wonder so many online users, especially Gen Z and Millennials, have deftly sidestepped this visual cacophony by adopting ad deletion software.

On the other hand, OOH messages stand out as unique placements. They catch the eye instead of rudely intruding. And there's more.

Tim Rowe notes that "new data privacy policies are limiting marketers' ability to abuse their customers' privacy." In response, "brands are moving to offline media, like billboards, to connect with their customers in the real world first, before converting them into a customer online."

That combination of OOH + digital is an exciting development for marketers because it delivers amazing results. We can tell you this first-hand because we tried it out ourselves. We ran two ad campaigns, one Facebook-only and one where we diverted half the budget to OOH billboards. Adding billboards delivered an additional 85.4% in hidden value! You can read all about it here.

Who knew it would be so easy to do the right thing?

You can boost your brand’s reputation with customers (and everyone else) by reining in your social presence while simultaneously generating better-than-ever ad reach and results, simply by expanding your strategy to include OOH.

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