Campaign Media Awards 2009: TV Sales Team of the Year - Viacom Brand Solutions UK & Ireland

The past 12 months could arguably be considered the hardest time in history to be in TV ad sales.

So how has this year's winning sales team, Viacom Brand Solutions UK & Ireland, managed not only to survive but to deliver a 13 per cent increase in share for the owner of stations such as MTV, E! and Comedy Central?

VBS already has a track record in initiatives to bring new advertisers to television, with its Force For Good programme. In 2009, it came up with Force For Enterprise - a way of getting smaller businesses and newer brands on television, or luring lapsed advertisers back to the medium.

After investing heavily by offering to match advertisers' spend pound for pound, as well as helping out with campaign effectiveness research, 15 new advertisers have been converted to television, generating more than £1 million of incremental revenue.

More research investment came in the form of "Digital Drive". This was qualitative research that analysed the impact of installing state-of-the-art TV/PC technology in 15 homes over a six-month period.

Then there was "The MTV Generation v.2". This used research to map the minds and motivations of the MTV Generation, which is traditionally so hard to pin down.

None of the other teams entering this year could boast launching a credit card branded with one of their media properties, but MTV did just that, in conjunction with NatWest.

It was one of numerous innovations that judges liked, showing that VBS has an ongoing commitment to coming up with the "brand solutions" that is part of its own brand.

Others included a campaign for the British Heart Foundation, which resulted in more than 1.2 million registrations and a weekend dedicated to the author Elizabeth Noble, called Mother & Daughter weekend.

This ran across E! and Comedy Central and resulted in a number two bestselling book for Noble.

VBS also created the Lego City promotion for Lego, bespoke TV and online creative for the baby food brand Ella's Kitchen and, for the Metropolitan Police's anti-gun campaign, Trident, five short films that aired on MTV Base. All of these campaigns provided impressive results.

As far as supporting its staff goes, VBS says it has created a close-knit team - partly through team-building initiatives such as making every member of staff learn a circus act for a piece of fundraising for ChildLine.

In spite, or perhaps because, of this, the team delivered a strong financial performance, and scored highest for innovation in TV sales in an independent piece of research by Fuller Girling.


Turner Media Innovations



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