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Yijin Zhang: The Pursuit of Excellence in Outdoor Advertising

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Yijin Zhang: The Pursuit of Excellence in Outdoor Advertising

January 31
22:34 2022

In 2022, it is reported that with the easing of the pandemic as vaccines and medical treatments gain popularity, areas within advertising will increase significantly compared to 2020 and 2021. Airports will be busier, theaters will increase capacity, population centers will see more foot traffic, and large-scale outdoor events will return. This change represents an opportunity for Yijin Zhang, an influential Chinese outdoor advertising artist studying in the United States. From her perspective, the outlook for the industry is optimistic, with most companies set to increase their Out of Home (OOH) advertising spending. As outdoor advertising growth increases, it will promote the development of advertising technology and content innovation.

Yijin Zhang was born in Jiangsu, China, a province widely known as a cultural center. Specializing in outdoor advertising for over 20 years, she has garnered a reputation built on dedication and empathy. Her expertise has expanded to research and development of outdoor advertising design, art, publicity, and big data. Prolific outside of advertising, Yijin also holds six patents, has written two scholarly papers, and has participated in the compilation of three Chinese art and design textbooks. She has seen every project as a reflection of her ethos: “tough and creative.”

Her portfolio includes the world-renowned clothing brand Karl Lagerfeld’s spring, summer, autumn, and winter shows, along with Metrocity Sphere Advertising for the 2006 World Cup Adidas. With the 2011 publicity campaign for the Citibank credit card, Yijin took part in establishing the first independent foreign bank credit card within China. Her vision has also helped existing brands like Nikon launch new products. Her other clients are mainly international brands, such as ExxonMobil, Castrol, Martell, Max Mara, Sisley, Bally, Chevrolet, Buick, Petronas, KFC, Pizza Hut, Sharp, Panasonic, Shiseido, Muji, among others.

Yijin’s work has won several high-profile accolades, including the Golden Tripod International Outdoor Advertising Awards. She has been recognized as the “Best Creative Elite of the Year” in 2017, “Best Creative Elite of the Year” in 2018, and “Most Valuable Corporate Leader of the Year” in 2018. In August of 2018, the China Advertising Association named her “The Most Promising Figure in China’s Forty Years of Reform & Opening.”

Also in 2018, Yijin was selected as a master planning and design expert to the list of “China Smart City Experts” a collection of innovators promoting the concept of technology-driven Smart Cities. In the same year, she participated in the International Outdoor Conference in Sorrento, Italy, as a member of the Chinese delegation. She shared the topics of contemporary scenarios, trends, and long-term development of the outdoor advertising market with other representatives from various national advertising associations. Likewise, she has been invited as an expert judge by many domestic and foreign advertising competitions.

Yijin Zhang’s success comes from her bold innovations in outdoor advertising design and planning. As her patents have been applied across other industries, many see her as an “inventor in the advertising industry.”

During her studies in the United States, Yijin Zhang began to adopt American cultural and artistic elements. The combination of Chinese and Western influences has resulted in a unique yet broader approach to reaching the public.

Her studies in the United States has further ingrained technology’s place in a changing world and the future of the outdoor advertising industry. This concentration has taken her research into new applications of 5G, Augmented Reality, naked-eye 3D technology, and other advancements. For instance, using the transmission speed of 5G in digital outdoor media to display ultra-high-definition realistic advertising images, thereby improving a user’s level of perception.

5G will further deepen the Internet of Things in hardware, which will bring greater convenience to offline data collection. This will improve accuracy and recall rate to provide more reliable data for offline marketing. With these advancements, digital outdoor media can better meet the precise delivery needs of advertisers.

Augmented Reality (AR) is another technology advertisers favor because of its interactivity and fun. This novel advertising form is believed to improve the user experience of social media and enhance users’ understanding of the brand. Furthermore, AR interactive advertising points to higher conversion of sales for advertisers. Yijin highlighted a naked-eye 3D advertisement that she made for Exxon Mobil at the end of 2021 as a working example of these ideas.

Technology will gradually permeate more pieces of our lives in the future beyond our screens. As this happens, outdoor advertising will become a place where each of us will be reached on a daily basis. As Yijin Zhang said, “The spatial extension and rendering power of outdoor media are irreplaceable by other media. In the era of mobile internet that put emphasizes on consumer experience, the immersive outdoor sense of space makes up for the lacking of online communication.” Imagination and aesthetics can make outdoor advertising spread beyond tangible light boxes and screen frames. She added, “What I can’t stop striving for is the improvement of self’s creativity and beauty, that is evolutionary power.” With the upgrading of AR, VR, and other technologies, consumers can transition from outdoor advertising to online information via mobile phones in outdoor public spaces. This is a common phenomenon in China, where the quantity and quality of large-scale LED display screens lead the world. It is proof positive that creative usage of technology can enhance implementation and boost market acceptance.

The future will be a competition of catching eyeballs. Therefore, outdoor advertising must become more ingenious and attractive to encourage consumers to look up. Yijin believes this will be possible by reshaping outdoor advertising so that people can easily obtain core information that addresses real needs in their lives. Through this evolution in her field, Yijin Zhang dreams of continued contributions to society.

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