Campaign Media Awards 2008: TV Sales Team of the Year - Viacom Brand Solutions

Changes in regulations have meant a tough time for television advertising, especially for broadcasters to younger markets.

However, Viacom Brand Solutions, which creates bespoke ad packages for advertisers on its channels, including MTV and Nickelodeon, has shown that it can adapt for the times and innovate for profit.

After the ban on junk-food advertising, VBS responded by launching "Force for Good" - an initiative aimed at bringing incremental, ethically sound businesses to television via VBS with the objective of showing that television advertising makes a positive contribution to society.

The company backed this initiative with a monetary investment, offering pound for pound value to advertisers as well as producing their copy and researching each campaign's effects. As a result, ten advertisers have joined up, five of which are new to television.

This initiative, along with other innovations, has seen VBS improve its revenue and market share over the past 12 months. However, the team is not resting on its laurels, and is researching the impact of digital technologies in order to future-proof its business. This includes a unique study that involves state of the art TV/PC technology being installed into 15 homes across the UK over six months and assessing digital's potential impact on consumer media behaviour, broadcasters and advertisers.

Further research has been done on a somewhat larger scale, looking at "threenagers" - 25- to 40-year-olds who strive to stay young by watching MTV, among other things. This research questioned 15,000 of them to find out what drives them and how advertising can better connect with them.

VBS has also lobbied and worked with Ofcom in shaping the future TV marketplace structure. It has publicly represented its views in the trade press and at conferences such as the Westminster Forum and Mediatel, to ensure the TV landscape retains its plurality.

It's not just about research and lobbying, though - creative campaigns are the order of the day and VBS has delivered with efforts such as Clean & Clear's sponsorship of "My Super Sweet 16", along with a competition and tour; bespoke copy for MTV viewers and an online safety guide to promote fire safety for COI; as well as a family event in conjunction with Nick Jr to promote Vauxhall.

Magners, the cider brand, also got in on the act with a huge television and live comedy event, in conjunction with Paramount Comedy.


- Sky Media.