VBS also took a lead in the thorny issue of food advertising to children, using Nickelodeon to prove that TV can be a force for good.
With its clear strategic vision of insight, ideas and partnership, the VBS sales team cemented its reputation as a leader in bespoke solutions. VBS invested heavily in research, giving it a strong viewpoint to take to clients, agencies, regulators and industry commentators.
Following the success of similar MTV and VH1 studies, VBS produced "The Nickelodeon Generation", unpicking the minds of two- to 12-year-olds, via workshops, interviews and video diaries. VBS also used MRI scanning to produce a neuro-scientific study that quantified the incremental power of advertising when corresponding to the programming environment, generating an enormous press debate in the process.
The research was the basis for VBS's bespoke solutions for new and existing clients, including a revenue-sharing product licensing deal for bmi baby, on-air promotions and off-air events featuring the football stars Damien Duff and Ashley Cole for Adidas +10, and an ad-funded programme as part of Unilever Persil's "Be My Coach" campaign.
Most topically, Nickelodeon underwrote a campaign for the entrepreneur Paul Lindley's new range of organic fruit smoothies for kids, competing with the likes of Del Monte.
The campaign, "Ella's Kitchen", was aimed at children, with the aim of creating emotional attachment to go with the rational benefits, and was critical in securing retail support. This gave VBS the chance to help build a brand from scratch and dispel the myth that TV was an exclusive medium for multinationals.
Crucially, it was a chance to demonstrate that VBS could use TV to positively influence eating habits, in the context of a wider debate on advertising unhealthy foods to children.
VBS generated a 28 per cent year-on-year increase in partnership business, much of it repeat business, and bespoke solutions now represent 20 per cent of MTV's revenues.
RSVP, the cross-media sales initiative with IPC and GCap, yielded ten incremental projects with clients such as L'Oreal, Lynx, Intel and T-Mobile.
VBS started streaming TV content online via its broadband portals and 3G mobile and digital revenues grew by 30 per cent with EA Games, Universal Music, PlayStation, Coca-Cola and Nokia among the 40 clients converted.
Overall, TV's commodity market declined by 1 per cent and was typified by aggressive trading, but VBS increased its revenue by 3 per cent and market share by 4 per cent.
Commendation: Sky Media
Finalist: Emap Advertising.