THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Best sales innovations

1. The launch of The Month

Literacy standards have dropped. We all know that because the newspapers tell those of us who can read so. In response, The Sunday Times launched a monthly CD-Rom called The Month in a bid to attract flighty youth who may have neither the inclination nor the ability to tackle a broadsheet paper. The Month, with music, films and gaming content, proved to be a success with sales up 160,000 and advertisers were attracted by its ability to showcase ads to the press market.

2. The launch of the tabloid Independent

In October, The Independent did what other newspapers have been talking about for years - it launched a tabloid-sized version to complement its broadsheet offering. To avoid accusations of dumbing down, The Independent replicated exactly the same material in its broadsheet. Circulation was lifted by 50 per cent in the regions it was available. The Independent now plans to sell the tabloid version across the UK by 2004. The Times swiftly copied The Indy's lead.

3. The creation of Viacom Plus

July saw the launch of Viacom Plus, billed as a one-stop shop offering media and creative solutions across Viacom's entire portfolio. All rather predictable, you might think, but Viacom's UK interests extends from MTV to London buses to Blockbuster video rental stores and are particularly attractive if you are targeting a youth audience. Heinz used Viacom Plus to great effect for the launch of its Bite Me range.

4. Ids' tie-up with BBC Magazines

In October, the Flextech-owned TV sales house joined forces with BBC Magazines for the first time, and the two companies aren't even related. The result was a cross-media deal for Renault Scenic that included a print guide in the Radio Times and 16 ad-funded programmes on UKTV channels about days out at scenic locations. You don't get many better fits than that.

5. Freestyler - the Face Off

It's Viacom again, this time Viacom Brand Solutions producing an ad-funded programme for Nike based on the fusion between hip hop music and sport. The 60-minute programme, Freestyler - the Face Off, was the culmination of events hosted by trendies such as Trevor Nelson and some chap we are reliably informed is called Shortee Blitz. Anyway, the final show manages to achieve credibility with a naturally sceptical target audience. Historically, ad-funded programming has been ill-conceived and clumsily executed. This was not.

6. Marie Claire's 15th birthday

Marie Claire had its 15th birthday this year. Did you miss it? You wouldn't if you'd have read it - everything was themed around 15 years, for example, what it's like to be 15, 15-minute makeovers, 15 favourite lovers, etc. IPC Southbank identified Calvin Klein was also celebrating its 15th anniversary and in a first for the client, allowed IPC to manage its creative with a print execution. The result was an eight-page booklet inserted in a DPS celebrating Eternity photographic campaigns spanning the past 15 years.

7. BJK&E Chrysler competition

Being crafty old buggers, every year BJK&E invites media owners in to pitch for a chunk of money from its flagship client Mercedes. This is a neat way of seeing, and perhaps "borrowing", their best ideas. For the launch of the Mercedes Cabriolet, Viacom Outdoor came up with the idea of staging an art exhibition on the trav-o-lator at Waterloo showing the car's virtues. BJK&E loved it, so did Mercedes and bought the lot.

8. London Pride graphic overlay

The now-defunct Granada Enterprises developed a bit of technology that could instantly overlay graphics on to ads. The London brewers, Fuller Smith & Turner used this during ITV's coverage of the Rugby World Cup to show the latest England scores. Simple enough, but surely the full implications of this technology have yet to be fully exploited.

9. Benylin in Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Here's proof that some of the old-school skills of simple TV trading are still out there somewhere. The first ad in the first break in a Tonight special revealing the admittedly rather unsophisticated techniques (coughing) that Major Charles Ingram, his wife and Tecwen Whittock used in their attempt to win the top prize on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was for the cough medicine Benylin. See, if you're innovative, TV buying can be fun.

10. JCDecaux's Gatwick aeroplane

Foreign tourists visit England for the history, the countryside, the pageantry and erm, Mamma Mia. At Gatwick Airport, a branded Mamma Mia aeroplane was suspended from the ceiling to reflect the holiday feel of the show.


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