What is Fake Out-of-Home (FOOH)? - The Future of Outdoor Advertising

Surely, you are familiar with DOOH (Digital Out-of-Home). But how much do you know about FOOH (Fake Out-of-Home)?

As explored in our previous article, 2024 New Outdoor Advertising Trends in Hong Kong, the OOH world is rapidly changing across the globe. Just as immersive experiences are becoming increasingly popular, another form of "virtually immersive" form of advertising is also on the rise. But what is this new thing called FOOH?

What is FOOH? The Emergence of New Outdoor Advertising

Imagine a grand outdoor advertising campaign as tall as the IFC: a 412-meter installation of your latest product. Better yet, make it a moving object that walks down the busiest streets of Central and past all the iconic landmarks in Hong Kong. Sounds out of this world? Well, it is possible in 2024. The best part is that you don't have to spend a dime on building the extravagant-sized installation, nor figure out how logistically and legally to pull this off. 

Introducing FOOH, through which your wildest ideas can finally come true.

FOOH, or Fake Outdoor Advertising, refers to the use of digital manipulation or creative staging to craft the illusion of an outdoor advertising campaign that doesn't actually exist in the physical world. This could range from digitally inserted billboards in social media photographs to elaborately staged events that are designed primarily for online consumption rather than real-world interaction. The essence of FOOH lies in its ability to generate buzz and engage audiences online, leveraging the viral potential of social media platforms.

How Does FOOH Work?

FOOH operates through a variety of mechanisms, from simple Photoshop edits to sophisticated augmented reality (AR) experiences. A notable example is a campaign where a brand creates a digital rendering of an extravagant billboard in a prominent location and shares this image across social media platforms. The image, while never existing in the physical realm, can generate considerable online engagement and discussion. Another instance is the use of AR filters to project virtual billboards or brand messages onto real-world scenes, viewable only through specific apps or devices. This method blurs the line between digital and physical spaces, creating a new avenue for brand interaction.

Real Life FOOH Advertising Example: Adidas Hong Kong

Remember us mentioning FOOH at IFC? Adidas Hong Kong did just that. In a recent campaign promoting the new ADIZERO Adidas Pro 3 along with the Hong Kong Marathon, Adidas creatively showcased the product through augmented reality (AR). Having the shoes themselves interact with the real environment captured on video including flying over Hong Kong's sky and hanging on top of the IFC. The video quickly garnered over 200,000 views and was shared hundreds of times.

Real Life FOOH Example: Barbie - The Movie Sensation

To say that the Barbie movie is a global sensation is possibly an understatement. The marketing around the movie was ingenious and was a major contributor to the movie's success. Take this innovative advertisement in Dubai, for example. A giant Barbie doll was placed next to Burj Khalifa through AR became hot viral content as it promoted the release of the movie. All the campaign needed to engage their audience was simply the participants' smartphones. Since everyone with a cell phone can access this FOOH "installation", combined with the fun and innovative ad design, shareability is through the roof!

Another Real Life Fake Out of Home Example: Maybelline

In promotion of their SKY HIGH Lash Sensation Mascara, Maybelline utilized AR and placed the product in the London subway in the most endearing and creative way. The footage was quickly shared all over the world on TikTok, YouTube, and even LinkedIn. This is FOOH in its best light!

The Benefits of FOOH

  • Innovative Engagement: FOOH advertising allows brands to break free from the constraints of physical spaces, offering creative and innovative ways to engage with their audience.

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Without the need for physical billboard space, FOOH can be a more cost-effective strategy, removing the expenses associated with printing and placing traditional outdoor ads.

  • Viral Potential: The unique and often surprising nature of FOOH marketing makes them ripe for sharing across social media, amplifying their reach beyond traditional outdoor advertising methods.

The Challenges and Criticisms of FOOH

  • Authenticity Concerns: One of the primary criticisms of FOOH is its potential to mislead audiences, raising questions about the authenticity of what is being advertised.

  • Regulatory and Ethical Issues: FOOH operates in a grey area concerning advertising standards and regulations, potentially leading to ethical dilemmas regarding truth in advertising.

  • Impact on Consumer Trust: Overreliance on FOOH advertising strategies might erode consumer trust over time, as audiences become wary of distinguishing between genuine and digitally fabricated advertisements.

Adapting to the FOOH Trend as a Brand

For brands looking to navigate the FOOH landscape, a balanced approach is key. Embracing the innovative potential of FOOH requires a commitment to transparency and ethical practices. Brands should consider the following strategies:

  • Transparency: Clearly communicating the nature of FOOH campaigns to avoid misleading audiences.

  • Creativity with Integrity: Leveraging the creative potential of FOOH while maintaining a commitment to authenticity and truth in advertising.

  • Integrating Traditional and Digital: Combining FOOH advertising with traditional outdoor advertising methods to create a cohesive and multifaceted campaign strategy.


FOOH example - Samsung

Source: Vacuumtester

FOOH advertising represents a cutting-edge trend in outdoor advertising, offering a blend of innovation, engagement, and digital savvy. However, navigating its challenges requires careful consideration of ethical practices, regulatory compliance, and the preservation of consumer trust. As the advertising world continues to evolve, FOOH stands as a testament to the industry's ongoing transformation, urging brands to adapt creatively while upholding the principles of authenticity and transparency.

Share this content

Related posts