Liberty Mutual seeks to capitalize on Spider-Man fandom with outdoor advertising

In a world dominated by online entertainment, it’s easy to forget the role that outdoor advertising can play in consumers’ lives. People may not be commuting to the office as often as they used to, but strategically placed ads can still be very useful. In fact, the Out of Home (OOH) Advertising Association of America is forecasting that OOH will see 10-12% revenue growth for 2021, up from a $1.2 billion decline in ad revenues in 2020.

One company contributing to that trend is Liberty Mutual, which set up an outdoor newsstand in Manhattan based on the Daily Bugle from Spider-Man. The fictional tabloid offered consumers real-life papers (at a limited run of 3,000 copies) declaring Marvel’s webslinger “public enemy #1.” The popup newsstand also was adorned with posters showcasing Liberty Mutual’s brand with a tagline, “Savings, Our Superpower.”

The newsstand was set up in early December in advance of Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home, starring Tom Holland. The highly anticipated film quickly amassed over $260 million in the US at its box office open, becoming the second-highest domestic opening of all time, surpassing the $257 million made by Avengers: Infinity War in 2018 but still behind the $357.1 million generated by Avengers: Endgame.

The box office record was even more impressive considering that pandemic concerns had been heightened by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. Despite this, No Way Home no doubt has given hope to struggling movie theater chains like AMC and Cinemark.

For Liberty Mutual, it was a smart move to piggyback on the popularity of a franchise that’s currently enjoying massive mainstream awareness. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, while Liberty Mutual customers are ahead of State Farm’s when it comes to Spider-Man fanship, the insurance firm trails All State and the general population. If the pop-up newsstand led some Spidey fans to consider Liberty Mutual, it may have been worth it.

Measuring an OOH campaign’s effectiveness isn’t easy, but as Ellie Bamford, senior vice president at media agency R/GA told Digiday, “There’s something very powerful about showing up in people’s everyday moments in their life. We’ve all grown sick of the social bombardment, and no one even notices a banner ad anymore. We’ve moved past it.”