Jun 3, 2008

It's Never Easy (With Few Words)

When it comes to advertising, billboards can be the most challenging media, if you want to be relevant AND you have something to say.

Normally, billboards are used to reinforce a campaign and of course there is nothing challenging when the message is "103.2 FM Latina, tu musica" or all you need is a nice picture of a guy surrounded by almost nude models with a bottle of vodka and a logo.

But making your whole campaign using just one billboard sounds almost impossible. Not enough space for wording, branding, and a message compelling enough to position the product with just that piece. Well..., it may sound impossible but it is not.

To prove it, the New Zealand Winner of the Grand Clio. The agency is ColensoBBDO and the client Deadline Express Couriers. The billboard in question had 3 elements: a digital countdown clock, one sentence over it "this message will self-destruct in exactly..." and a sticker with the name of the client stating "when we give you a time we mean it". This campaign of just one ad also won Gold in the "Innovative" category.

That is exactly what happened and on the promised day at 6 pm sharp, agency and client made history by exploding a whole billboard in the middle of the city (Auckland). When the clock hit zero the billboard self-destructed in an explosion created by nitramine dry powder, strobe grenades and smoke bombs (see video below).

In the small picture you can see how the billboard looked for days. A web cam also provided a live video feed of the billboard counting down and the subsequent explosion. Of course, the idea was to reinforce in a very dramatic way the brand promise: when we give you a time we mean it!.

The last seconds and the explosion:

Now, to another billboard, this time the 2008 Silver Clio winner (yes, I am skipping the gold winner, I really don't see anything so brilliant there).

This is another great idea, this time from Germany, the agency behind it is Scholz & Friends based in Berlin. In this case the interaction between placement and product creates the whole message. No wording is needed...

Billboards, like slogans, can be one of the most challengings pieces for any creative. You can't write too much there (you don't want to be the cause of traffic incidents) and you have to catch the interest of people in less than 30 seconds. But as with anything else, "when there is a will there is a way", as this Clio winners can prove!

Now, check out this winner in the print category.

PS: I have been juror in some creative events -not the Clio-, but it seems that my eye for good creativity is still there. Some of the winners for this year have been posted in UD way before they entered the Clio competiton, like the campaign for the blind and the Italian Casino ad at the airport among others! (...sorry, but I had to brag a little!)

Source: Clio


Anonymous said...

Colenso is a New Zealand agency, not Australian.

Anonymous said...


This is a message for the webmaster/admin here at www.uglydoggy.com.

May I use some of the information from your post above if I provide a link back to your website?


San said...

Yes John, you can.

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