Campaign Media Awards 2005: Outdoor Sales Team of the Year - Innovate, JCDecaux

French may be the language of love, but JCDecaux is certainly using it to sell things. The company has repeated its triumph of both 2003 and 2004; this year, its creative solutions division, Innovate, has been crowned the Outdoor Sales Team of the Year.

JCDecaux owes much of its growth to the creative solutions brand. Innovate has helped change the perception of the creative opportunities available to outdoor advertisers. Channel 4, British Airways, 3, Wrangler and a lengthy list of others have signed up this year, each wanting more original ideas to help them achieve stand-out.

The overall growth of outdoor over the past five years has partly been driven by the efforts of outdoor contractors to offer advertisiers high quality and original landmark sites.

Innovate responded to this and in April it launched an outdoor format, called Showscreen, which combined sound and visuals in a fully interactive poster. Carat signed up as an exclusive user of the Showscreen format with its client Buena Vista International. A series of six-sheets were adapted to incorporate 21-inch flat screens and built-in sound that consumers can control through a four-button panel. The first campaign promoted Buena Vista's film The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Users were able to access a choice of interviews, trailers and some footage from other forthcoming films.

Showscreen six-sheets were located around the country at busy city-centre sites. Central London sites include New Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and Russell Square.

Next, the Innovate team unveiled a new piece of poster technology called the Opinionator, specifically to promote the launch of the 20th Century Fox film Alien vs Predator. The sales team asked consumers to vote on who they wanted to see win in the battle of the movie monsters. Innovate placed two buttons on each six-sheet poster and collated responses via technology fitted in the poster units.

Innovate's idea was such a hit that 20th Century Fox reworked its budget, pulling money from other media so it could take the Opinionator across the UK. The campaign saw 537,000 hits registered over the 20 sites in London, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester over the two-week campaign.

In September, Innovate worked with Sony Ericsson on an outdoor campaign for bus shelters featuring giant models of mobile phones. The work featured models with 19-inch screens to demonstrate the features of the Sony Ericsson W800i Walkman phone.

Despite the figures exceeding the company's targets, JCDecaux predicts its overall revenue will grow by only 4 per cent this year. However, Innovate brought in £6.7 million worth of revenue in 2005, up 37 per cent compared with 2004, which stood at £4.9 million.

FINALIST: Viacom Outdoor.

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