Campaign Media Awards 2006: Outdoor Sales Team of the Year - Viacom Outdoor

In 2005, Viacom Outdoor vowed to become the number-one brand for capturing and captivating consumers on the move.

Yet it was also crunch time for the 12-month pitch for the London Underground concession, Viacom's biggest contract, worth an estimated £1.5 billion over ten years. The company's future depended on winning the pitch, but it was still necessary to drive the sales business in the day-to-day market.

Viacom secured the renewal of the Underground contract in May and outstripped the outdoor market fivefold. The contractor believes it has outperformed all other media owners outside of the online sector.

There was no magic formula; Viacom simply "rolled up its sleeves and got stuck in", with key sales people seconded to work on the pitch full time and others remaining on the "day job" expected to work doubly hard to make up for the absence.

The sales and marketing teams worked relentlessly on their core strategy of owning customers on the move. Viacom launched radical research projects to demonstrate that its ads were welcomed rather than avoided. This also proved that Londoners spend around one-third of their "captive message time" consuming advertising on the Underground.

This became the springboard for the long-copywriting initiative, that played on the fact that consumers have an average wait of three minutes on an Underground platform, providing time to absorb lengthy messages and not just visuals that pass the "glance test".

This delivered more than £6 million of extra revenue for cross-track formats on the Underground and in the process cemented Viacom's strategy of harnessing the value of the product environment and challenged the behavioural norms of the industry. The outdoor contractor also demonstrated, with one of its biggest marketing campaigns, why bus advertising is the most-seen medium in town.

With an aim to build its reputation among the creative communities in 2006, Viacom's Impact team sold a record number of ground-breaking campaigns such as sponsorship of the Nelson's Column refurbishment to Zurich. And digital escalator campaigns and LED bus-sides became two of the most talked-about media innovations of the year and significant drivers of revenue.

Viacom achieved its success through hard work and the embodiment of its new culture and values of being "brave, smart and proud".

The company has succeeded in winning the hearts and minds of its staff to wholeheartedly subscribe to its new vision and, in 2006, employed two training managers whose role is solely to develop the sales people.

Viacom believes that while every team within the company can lay claim to the award, it is really the entire company that deserves it.

Finalist: Clear Channel Outdoor.


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