Outdoor - The cream of the crop

The Clear Channel/Media Week Planning Awards last month honoured the best in outdoor advertising. Here we celebrate the innovation and tenacity of the four winners.

BEST USE OF OUTDOOR IN A MULTIMEDIA CAMPAIGN/GRAND PRIX

Winner: MPG and Posterscope, for Magners Cider, "GB Launch"

Highly commended: Feather Brooksbank, for The National Galleries of Scotland, "Summer Exhibitions"

- The winning campaign in this category so impressed the judges that it ended up scooping not just the category prize, but also the overall Grand Prix.

Judges wanted evidence of a multimedia strategy where outdoor was used alongside at least one other media platform to make the best use of outdoor advertising formats and show how the outdoor element has contributed to the success of the project.

The winning campaign for Magners used outdoor as the call to action, alongside television spot ads.

MPG and Posterscope used national outdoor sites to catch consumers and trade near points of distribution, in targeted towns and cities.

Micro-planning of every panel, carefully layered from concentrated six-sheets mapped within 300m of outlets, to large-format premium panels and special builds, meant it really had the "stop and stare" factor. Not only that, but the creative was tweaked throughout the year to reflect the changing seasons.

The results for Magners were impressive - the return on investment for the inclusion of outdoor proved compelling, and the brand has regenerated an entire category.

Media Week's editor Steve Barrett, who chaired the judges, said Magners was chosen for the Grand Prix because it "demonstrated outdoor planning at its finest".

"It was a long-term, integrated campaign, demonstrating an understanding of how outdoor is consumed, and how careful proximity planning can have a huge impact on the overall campaign, when the right panels are chosen," he added.

Emily Young, client director at Posterscope, which worked with MPG on the campaign, said: "It shows what you can do with the right three-way collaboration between an agency, a client and a poster agency. It has been a great account to work on and we are really pleased."

BEST USE OF MULTIPLE FORMATS IN OUTDOOR

Winner: OMD UK, for Axa UK, "Dwell Time"

Highly commended: Manning Gottlieb OMD inVENTS Team, for Sony Pictures, "Casino Royale"; MindShare and Kinetic, for Kimberly-Clark, "Andrex Colours"

- In this category - which attracted the highest number of entries - the judges were looking for success in a campaign that used two or more distinct outdoor advertising formats as part of an outdoor-only campaign, or within a wider multimedia initiative that had a substantial outdoor element.

In fact, the judges said the standard was so high that they decided to award two highly commended honours.

But the winning entry for Axa UK beat tough competition by taking a brand in a low-interest category and bringing it to life across a spread of outdoor formats. Judges felt the target audience analysis and segmentation was strong, and captured the consumer when they were introspective but still alert.

OMD used a variety of formats to "stalk" the target audience throughout their working week, predominantly during their journey to and from work, in order to interrupt their dwell time frequently. By driving frequency and tailoring the creative to the media, the campaign managed to achieve standout in a cluttered marketplace.

The formats included London Underground, National Rail, tabletops in coffee shops, liveried taxis and tip-seats, gyms, and digital screens on station concourses.

The econometrics results outperformed television by 17% for return on investment against prompted awareness, and outdoor proved to be 28 times more effective at driving ROI against brand consideration over TV.

Reflecting Axa's faith in the medium, the brand has doubled its investment in outdoor in the past two years - this campaign proves such investment can pay off.

BEST USE OF CONTINUITY IN OUTDOOR

Winner: IPM for BSkyB Direct to Home, "Sky Dialogue"

- This category was to reward planners who have thought outside the boundaries of traditional two-week campaigns, and recognised that outdoor can be used as part of a longer-term strategy for brand building, maintaining and increasing saliency, and layering the brand message in multimedia or multi-format strategies over the longer term.

IPM's winning strategy, the "Sky Dialogue" campaign for BSkyB, employed a 20-week campaign on national premium backlit 48-sheets and 96-sheets in order to establish an ongoing dialogue with the consumer.

Site locations were chosen on the basis of the brand's customer index and to target affluent consumers on their journey home. The creative was changed every two weeks to continue the dialogue with the audience. Judges described the impact of the evolving campaign as "compelling".

IPM said it enjoyed working with Sky because of the broadcaster's willingness to explore new approaches and formats.

Toby Strange, client director for IPM, said: "Sky is a massive brand but we worked on bringing it back to its simplest level - the campaign is all about one-to-one communication over a long-term period. Rather than mass coverage, Sky aimed for high frequency so that consumers would see the billboards as prestigious."

Roy Jeans, chief executive of IPM, added: "The new Sky campaign was strong and we were quietly confident we could win this category.

"Sky is a great client: its outdoor spend has been going up and it recognises that outdoor really works for them."

BEST USE OF INNOVATION IN OUTDOOR

Winner: OMD UK, for Channel 4, "FourDocs" and Universal McCann, for Nickelodeon, "Kids' Fun that Mums Can Trust"

Highly commended: Posterscope and Carat, for Buena Vista International's "Interactive 6s" campaign

- This category looked to reward innovation in terms of forward-thinking, sustainable and effective campaigns, rather than one-off PR opportunities.

Two submissions emerged above the rest and after much deliberation, the judges agreed on two equal winners: OMD UK for its Channel 4 "Four Docs" campaign, and Universal McCann for its Nickelodeon "Kids' Fun that Mums Can Trust" campaign.

OMD's campaign, a collaboration with Michaelides & Bednash and Posterscope to promote Channel 4's broadband documentary channel FourDocs, used web and Bluetooth to target its two main audiences. C4 was the first advertiser to take advantage of Viacom Outdoor's network of Bluetooth-enabled poster sites on the London Underground and in rail stations, allowing consumers to opt in to a four-minute documentary on the spot.

Universal McCann's campaign took the Nickelodeon brand out-of-home by creating 250 experiential areas around the country. During the six-month campaign, interactive music stands were supported by six-sheets, CDs and take-home bags. The results were strong: Nickelodeon saw an 11% increase in core target viewing over the campaign period.

Chris Locke, UK trading director at Starcom, said: "I particularly liked the Nickelodeon campaign because it was really smart and well-executed and the product looked fantastic. It was perfectly targeted to the environment it was in, so much so that you wouldn't have thought it was an outdoor campaign. Universal McCann's interactive campaign advertised the product without pushing the product: it struck me as a real world YouTube for kids."

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