The Channel 4 TV Planning Awards 2006: The Winners

To reach a potentially massive audience, reinvigorate and build a brand, launch a product, drive mass awareness or revitalise sales, the medium of television remains unsurpassed, as the winners of The Channel 4 TV Planning Awards 2006 prove, in these edited papers.


Ongoing use of TV - Weetabix

Weetabix Week

Samantha Hale, Walker Media

With competitor launches boasting more indulgent ingredients, Weetabix risked being overlooked in the morning rush. The winning campaign translated a product's simplicity into versatility by convincing people to try Weetabix with a range of toppings over the course of a "Weetabix Week".

Walker Media's initial insight was that success would rely largely on inspiring people to eat the product, as well as people buying it. With breakfast cereal eaten by nine out of ten Britons, and a box of Weetabix in almost half the country's kitchens, the "adaptable" proposition had broad relevance. In spite of audience fragmentation, TV kept the capacity to reach the majority of cereal consumers.

To unlock the potential of the versatility message, the media would need to accommodate a breadth of appetising "recipe" suggestions with the production values to do them justice. TV offered the creative flexibility to explain, engage and inspire.

This combination of affordable scale and creative scope convinced the agency that TV, more than any other medium, was capable of mobilising the nation and, therefore, justified more than 90 per cent of the available budget.

With the cereal category investing heavily in media (£93 million in 2006), and TV seen as the major battleground, Weetabix's £6 million budget under-represented the size of the brand and its ambitions. Previous attempts to stretch budgets had been disappointing, including a lighter-weight drip phasing and the creation of a company range commercial.

Dilution, it seemed, would not be the solution to limited budgets or increased competitor investment.

With total weeks on air and recency of exposure both justifiable priorities for FMCG advertisers, the tempting response to budget pressures is to reduce weekly weights and punctuate campaign periods with weeks off-air. This creates aesthetically reassuring media plans, with presence spread throughout the year, but this can fail in the real world.

Standard TV weights for food brands have changed little in recent years, while the TV and retail landscapes have undergone some dramatic transformations.

The explosion of media channels and product lines has left consumers with more options than ever. On TV alone, the increased commercial minutage that accompanies the rise of multi-channel means consumers see an estimated 21 per cent more TV ads today than they did five years ago.

Reducing weekly weights in this context can be a false economy, with a campaign that falls short of activating frequency more wasteful than one that potentially "overcooks" it. Indeed, a case for heavier weekly weights in response to growing clutter is broadly supported by sales analysis so far of brands on the Sky View/TNS single source panel.

The proposition was straightforward, but provoking a reappraisal of such a long-established brand required some pressure. The campaign was about reinvigorating the morning routine, and its pace and visibility had to reflect this. This meant creating a palpable sense of event.

To ensure frequency levels that could excite and motivate, Walker Media had to compress the ratings at its disposal. Compression of coverage through restricted channel usage was counter-intuitive to our aim of mobilising the broad universe of cereal eaters. Therefore, our recommendation was to concentrate airtime into pronounced, vibrant bursts of activity. While the absolute TVRs varied little from 2005 to 2006, there was still a marked step change in campaign phasing.

Affording higher average weekly weights meant sacrificing overall weeks on-air. This was a particularly bold move in a high-spending, regularly purchased sector. Condensing these weeks on the air into clear bursts of activity also meant longer periods of complete absence from TV, potentially leaving the brand exposed. But the agency was confident that these front-weighted bursts, delivering frequency of up to four OTS in a week, would draw consumers into a Weetabix-based morning routine that they would then stick with in the longer term.

Using multiple "reality" executions kept the campaign feeling fresh and authentic, and allowed the targeting of specific executions to relevant channels without restricting overall campaign coverage.

As the campaign developed, Millward Brown tracking confirmed it was being noticed and understood. But importantly, Weetabix experienced double-digit year-on-year sales growth and, critical to our recommended phasing, sales remained above pre-campaign levels during periods off-air.

The emergence of "Weetabix Week" personal videos (some more appetising than others!) across content-sharing sites such as YouTube indicated that the campaign had captured the country's imagination. The correlation between TV impacts and traffic to the Weetabix Week website offered further evidence that the TV had run at an activating level.

The Weetabix Week was a very powerful concept, which was clearly articulated in some great work by Walker Media. Yet it was TV's scope as a creative platform that effectively brought this concept to life, and it was TV's reach that mirrored the breadth of the target market.

Finally, it was TV's flexibility in the phasing of impact delivery that let Walker Media turn up the volume as needed. These strengths combined to help Weetabix end the year at the top of the cereal value league.


New to TV

NS&I Waking a sleeping giant

Simon Brockman and Ben Fox OMD

This paper shows the exceptional results that can be achieved with an unabashedly "old-fashioned" approach to TV planning. There's no mention of iTV, niche audiences, or even programme-led strategies. Instead, it acknowledges the power of an integrated, well-executed, "traditional" TV campaign and it shows how a strategy that exploits TV's historic strengths of delivering impact, driving mass awareness and building brands can deliver outstanding results.

NS&I, backed by HM Treasury, has catered to the nation's savings and investments needs since 1861. However, by the middle of 2005, it was clear the business was facing a huge challenge. Sales were down 15 per cent year on year; new customers were at a five-year low and a huge £3.5 billion net finance target was moving out of reach.

A prolonged period of under-investment in the NS&I brand, while the business focused on modernisation of customer service, meant that goodwill towards NS&I was eroding. The consumer perception of NS&I did not match the actual capabilities of a rapidly modernising business. It was suffering from DM and DR fatigue. Return on investment had reached a plateau and these channels could no longer be relied upon to deliver the net finance target.

NS&I was also coming under fire from increased spends in the financial category, led by ING's aggressive support of headline grabbing rates, which gave NS&I only a 2.6 per cent SOV (Nielsen MMS).

The period of hibernation wasn't all bad news. NS&I was a sleeping giant. In spite of low spontaneous awareness, prompted awareness was still a healthy 80 per cent and NS&I had a huge customer base of 22 million people to re-engage with. There was a lot of latent trust and goodwill to unlock.

There was also a new 2 x £1 million draw to communicate on Premium Bonds, which were already a hugely popular, unique, hero product. In addition, NS&I was relaunching Index Linked Savings Certificates as "Inflation Beating Savings," which meant it had two 100 per cent secure, unique, tax-free products to promote. Finally, the readiness of the online sales channel, which had seen growth with limited above-the-line support, hinted at the size of the opportunity.

It was clear that a decisive change was needed to revive NS&I's flagging fortunes. A solution that would deliver on three clear objectives was needed. The first was to reach the critical mass needed to hit the tough targets. The second was to re-engage a consumer that was becoming immune to the hitherto favoured DR route. The third was to reinvigorate a modernising brand and make it more relevant to today's investor.

TV was the perfect medium to deliver the impact and scale necessary to lift the brand and meet the net finance target.

Econometric modelling was used to influence a client with limited resources that TV was capable of improving falling ROI. OMD Metrics indicated that brand TV could drive a 70 per cent uplift in responses for DR.

Analysis of two key customer segments, "affluent investors" and 'confident careerists', combined with sales response data, confirmed Sunday as a key day for financial consideration, and Monday to Wednesday as important days for converting heightened consideration into sales. These insights informed a Sunday up-weight enabling NS&I to increase its SOV on a crucial day, while ensuring the response channels focused on Monday to Wednesday.

OMD recognised that rapid cover build would be crucial to ensure that awareness peaked as the DM was delivered and the DR press was consumed. OMD worked with EHS Brann to ensure vertical integration. This amplified the level of spend in the eyes of the consumer and maximised ROI.

With the weight of econometric modelling, and the widening target gap, OMD was able to show the client the value and necessity of doubling investment year on year.

This investment was used to fund four discreet bursts of TV building towards the crucial October sales period. It was decided to lead the communication with Premium Bonds in August. The new draw format on Premium Bonds, and memorable Sir Alan Sugar copy, would be a "trojan horse" to re-engage the consumer before cross-selling other products. Having established the Premium Bonds communication, the Inflation Beating Savings copy was introduced to showcase another part of the portfolio.

The results were phenomenal - TV was instrumental in waking a sleeping giant. Before the campaign, NS&I was running £1 billion behind the £3.5 billion net finance target. By the end, it had exceeded £5 billion, with an investment that was less than half that of the main high-street competition.

The impact of the campaign was immediate. Both Premium Bonds and Inflation Beating Savings witnessed uplifts in sales. Premium Bond sales in August rose 90 per cent and Inflation Beating Savings in September were up 125 per cent. Online sales also leapt 173 per cent and customer acquisition rose by 142 per cent.

The impact on DM ROIs and retention was equally impressive. DM ROI was up 50 to 100 per cent and churn was reduced by £877 million across the year. Familiarity and favourability also increased to their highest levels in five years.

NS&I was persuaded of the power of TV to fulfil its objectives, and it now forms an integral part of its media plan.


Ongoing use of TV

Sony BMG Nina Simone

Sameer Ami and Stephen Juson Manning Gottlieb OMD

This entry showed how, on a limited budget, Manning Gottlieb OMD was able to deliver a campaign that embraced Nina Simone's core fan base of 45-plus women, but also introduced the artist to a younger audience of heavier music buyers.

Muller had been using the Nina Simone song Ain't Got No, I Got Life as its advertising soundtrack from March 2005 to May 2006. Studying the delivery of this campaign using Snapshots, the agency's weekly survey of 2,500 adults, the agency found that women aged 25 to 44 revealed the greatest affinity of all audiences, and that the younger Muller audience were the least likely to own a Nina Simone album, but the most likely to consider buying a new one.

It was clear Muller was the key to unlocking a new audience. Using key lifestyle channels, the agency negotiated the tagging of all Muller TV advertising; every time a Muller ad appeared, so would The Very Best of Nina Simone execution. The agency used Infosys and Barb to establish indices and profiles of channels and programmes, and identified Channel 4's Lifestyle strand as the perfect home for the campaign's initial £67,000 budget, as it delivered both younger and older audiences without compromise. These programmes performed better than ITV for 25- to 44-year-old women, who buy £50 to £100 worth of music a year.

The results were impressive. An average Nina Simone album sold 80,000 copies, while The Very Best of Nina Simone sold 443,000 by the time the paper was entered for these awards. It was in the top ten for 13 weeks and, where most catalogue releases last an average of one month, the success of this strategy created a virtuous circle of investment that lasted for six months.


Ongoing use of TV

Carlsberg Old Lions

Simon Taylor and Graeme Adams OMD

This paper is based on the fact that consistent investment into TV has made Carlsberg probably one of the most famous advertisers in the UK.

The brewer is also a big supporter of football both in the UK and internationally. An OMD consumer study found that while Carlsberg's football association was working well for a core group of fans, there was a lot more it could do with football, especially in the build-up to the World Cup.

The strategy was to feed consumer passion for football at a time when feelings were running high. This was achieved by maximising Carlsberg's association with the England football team. Consumers were invited to interact with the "Old Lions" and explore Carlsberg's personality in depth.

Fortunately, the agency had a great ad to build the idea on: 11 ex-England legends formed the "Old Lions" - billed as "probably the best pub team ever".

One of the "Old Lions" appeared on Soccer AM and introduced a full 180-second edit of the TV ad. A three-minute version was uploaded on to YouTube and Google Video. A mini-documentary about the making of the ad, using nine hours of unscripted banter, ran on interactive TV and on the web.

The agency used analysis of Barb and Continental Research's Pub Tracker, as well as buying into the Trinidad & Tobago game to deliver 20 additional ratings in the pub, worth £300,000.

Overall, there was a positive sales effect from the "Old Lions" TV activity. In the off-trade, Carlsberg outsold Carling by three million pints in the four weeks up to 1 July. In the on-trade, Carlsberg grew 33 per cent faster than the draught lager category during the World Cup. Finally, 23 per cent of people drinking Carlsberg during the World Cup had switched from another brand due to its association as the "Official Beer of England".


Ongoing use of TV

Nintendo Nintendo Wii

Michael Beecroft Mediaedge:cia

The Nintendo Wii was launched on 8 December 2006. Mediaedge:cia's task was to help make it the best-selling console of Christmas 2006 in the face of competition from Microsoft's Xbox, Sony's PS2 and the planned launch of the PS3.

To beat the competition, it was necessary to push Wii's potential market far beyond the boundaries of the existing gaming market, while still convincing hardcore gamers of the Wii's credibility. Its controller would be the key to its success.

MEC created a multimedia campaign with TV at its heart. A three-phase strategy was devised that focused on target audiences via programme affinity, sponsorships, promotions and interactive TV. Across the phases, an interactive dedicated advertiser location backed up the TV creative and provided extra information.

The core insight of "join in" provided a framework for communicating to various groups: active gamers, casual or lapsed gamers, non-gamers and children. For instance, for broader audiences, the appeal was to bring the console out of the bedroom and into the living room. For the hardcore gamer, it was about new ways to play.

The TV strategy moved into unchartered territory for games consoles when it addressed non-gamers and their families. Consoles are not a high-interest category for this audience and a higher effective frequency was needed.

Nintendo and MEC MediaLab, MEC's research and insight division, carried out ongoing online tracking research around the Wii campaign. So far, awareness of the console has increased among all target groups between two research waves. Consideration of the Wii has also increased - 58 per cent of active gamers wanted one (up from 40 per cent), as did 12 per cent of non-gamers (up from 2 per cent).

Overall, the campaign has helped to turn the Wii into the biggest-ever console launch, and it continues to be the UK's best-selling console in 2007.