This article was originally posted as "Unique ways to help your client go green. Environmentally friendly outdoor advertising is hot." on Media Life Magazine by Diego Vasquez

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Eco-friendly ads remain really hot in out of home advertising, and one of the most creative ways to go green with your client’s message is literally green.

We’re talking about living walls, or ad installations that at first glance look very similar to billboards but are actually made using living materials such as moss, flowers, plants and shrubs.

The ads are essentially vertical gardens in which the various elements are arranged to display an ad message.

Brands including Coca-Cola, Adidas, PNC and McDonald’s all recently used living walls for advertising, and buyers say more will join them.

“With the affordability of these executions becoming more transparent, I predict seeing more and more,” says Jacob Taylor, partner and director of client experience at the agency CivitasNow in Columbus, Ohio.

Lead time for a living wall is 30 and 90 days, depending on the location and size of the installation. Cost can also vary widely. A small, basic living wall could cost $8,000 to $10,000, while a larger more elaborate wall could cost six figures.

Living walls generate buzz because they’re unique and look cool, in addition to being friendly to the environment.

“Constructing an entirely bespoke media installation using natural materials leaves minimal environmental impact and can actually be used to reduce energy emissions,” Taylor says.

In addition to living walls, here are four other ways out-of-home advertisers can use eco-friendly options to get out their message.


Chalk art

Chalk campaigns on city streets and sidewalks are not new, but these days most campaigns used environmentally friendly biodegradable chalk, which washes away naturally.

It’s certainly affordable. A local business can use simple stencils on surrounding blocks to help drive foot traffic.

But chalk art can also be more complex and eye-catching by using professional artists to create more elaborate works.


Power-wash stencils

Similar to chalk art, advertisers can use stencils and a power-washer to create images and messages on city streets and sidewalks.

The difference, of course, is that instead of adding colors or materials to the ground, the power-washers actually clean the area inside the stencil, wiping the grime away with high-intensity spray.

Like chalk art, power-wash campaigns can be executed for a low cost and are very noticeable to pedestrians.


Ice or sand sculptures                                                           

Branded sand or ice sculptures are both eye-catching and fun to look at, but they can also be turned into events. Crowds often gather to watch artists sculpt the ice or sand, creating an interested and engaged audience for the brand.

And while ice sculptures are mainly used in colder climates and sand sculptures on beaches, you can mix it up. Advertisers sometimes use ice campaigns on hot summer days, while sand campaigns have been executed in locations nowhere near beaches, such as Times Square, though you do have to import your own sand.

 

Recycle

There are ways for out-of-home advertisers to make their traditional outdoor installations sustainable. A good recent example is from the brand Burt’s Bees, which donated a sign used in a campaign to an arts school in Durham, North Carolina. The materials were used to create a system that caught rainwater to be re-used by a group of urban gardening students.

 


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