Digital out-of-home creativity goes global

The Digital Creative Competition takes on an international flavor with this year's winners

The 2016 Digital Creative Competition has gone global, opening its doors to international entries for the first time this year.

The winning entries, announced at the BFI IMAX on London's South Bank, will share a prize pot of $800,000. The fund will be used to develop the winning digital out-of-home concepts, which will appear on screens in New York, Hong Kong and the UK over the next 12 months.

The competition, run by Campaign and Ocean, celebrates creativity in the digital out-of-home medium.  The seventh annual contest drew a record 81 entries and, for the first time, included international categories.

Previous winning campaigns include WCRS’ "Look at me" for Women’s Aid and MicroLoans’ "Pennies for life", which both generated global PR and went on to win Cannes Lions.

A packed auditorium at the BFI IMAX

International Creative Techniques First Prize

18 Feet & Rising’s idea to mobilize support to stop the slaughter of African elephants for their ivory stampeded its way to first prize for client Space for Giants. In the "March for giants", the public and companies are invited to generate branded baby and adult elephants who will march across
out-of-home screens internationally.

The judges said:
"To see this virtual march is a massive idea that should be extended to anyone with digital screens"

International Interactive First Prize

Kinetic Active plans an epic quest across the UK, New York and Hong Kong to find the "rightful" king or queen of England to promote the 2017 Warner Bros release of Guy Ritchie’s 2017 film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Each location will "crown" one person per day, and a competition to pull a sword from a stone will be run using biometric and emotion-recognition devices.

The judges said:
"This works globally, with crowd-appeal and fun"

UK Creative Techniques

First Prize

Campaign: Churchie’s drive-thru car insurance
Client: Churchill
Agency: WCRS

WCRS’ campaign for Churchill uses Ocean’s vehicle-recognition technology to serve passing drivers with personalized messages about their cars, reflecting the brand’s fast, dependable insurance service. The retro US drive-through diner theme puts the focus on speedy efficiency with a cheeky, "Churchie" twist.

The judges said: "The campaign understands what you can do with data and you can get away with by being cheeky; that’s why it works. The use of data and graphics is very good. It translates the tone of the brand really well. It’s inoffensive, happy, on brand and there are many executions to keep it going."

Second Prize

Campaign: Free me from this poster
Client: Born Free Foundation
Agency: WCRS
An image of a killer whale inside a 48-sheet digital screen represents the size of tank in which many orcas are kept. People can help free the whales by texting a donation to Born Free. When sufficient money is raised, the whale will "escape" and swim across The Grid, Ocean’s screen network.

Third Prize

Campaign: Magic: bringing guilt-free happiness to life
Client: Bauer Media
Agency: the 7stars
Capitalising on the trend for Carpool Karaoke, this campaign uses roadside sing-along lyric sheets that are synchronized with the music playing on Magic’s  radio station. The campaign promotes Magic’s ability to make driving happy and stress-free, and shows the synergy between radio and digital out-of-home.

UK Interactive

First Prize

Campaign: D.U.N.C.A.N.
Client: Pladis McVitie’s
Agency: Kinetic Active

National Biscuit Day 2017 will be marked by a series of experiments across the UK to test which biscuits can withstand the most hot-beverage dunks. The Kinetic Active-devized experiment will be controlled by D.U.N.C.A.N., an interactive robot operated by the public. Screens across The Grid, Ocean’s full-motion digital network spanning London, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham, will invite the public to "Dare to dunk". Those who do will choose the biscuit variety they wish to use to compete and then control the robotic dunker with a smartphone or tablet. The player with the highest dunk record wins a year’s supply of the biscuit of choice.

The judges said: "Dunking biscuits. They’ve made it fun and brilliant. It’s a simple idea that will engage people. It’s also a cracking poster. It’s typical of Brits to vote for a tea-and-biscuits campaign – but we have."

Second Prize

Campaign: Save the bees
Client: Bumblebee Conservation Trust
Agency: WCRS
When people make a donation on their mobiles to improve the long-term future for bumblebees, they are invited to design a flower on their phones that will populate a digital meadow on a large screen. The flowers can be saved on their device as a keepsake and all participants get a free bee-conservation pack containing flower seeds.

Third Prize

Campaign: One you active 10
Client: Public Health England
Agency: 23red
The power of out-of-home is used to encourage people to take a brisk, ten-minute walk by offering them time-sensitive, healthy rewards to be redeemed when they reach their destination. The campaign encourages behavior change and benefits businesses within a ten-minute radius of the screens.

Putting the consumer in control and making the impossible possible

Claire Beale global editor-in-chief, Campaign
Former F1 world champion Mario Andretti once said: "If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough." It could be a mantra for marketing in 2016, with speed now not just a guiding principle but a basic requirement. As for ceding control, smart marketers are rushing to hand it over to engaged consumers. So it’s not surprising that the more dazzling entries to Ocean and Campaign’s digital creative out-of-home awards this year made stunning use of iterative, real-time and interactive creative ideas – with consumers in the driving seat.

With technology changing so quickly, some of the best ideas this time round would simply not have been possible even a year ago, and it was exciting to see so many entries taking full advantage of those innovations.

So really smart strategic and creative thinking allied to DOOH’s flexibility, immediacy and interactivity was at the core of all the winning ideas. And again the competition proved a fantastic opportunity for agile marketers to show how DOOH can drive impact and engagement quickly and to great effect, often – sometimes literally – with the consumer at the controls.

Tim Bleakley chief executive, Ocean Group
Much like one of my favorite films, seven magnificent years of Ocean’s digital creative competition have seen agencies, brands and specialists come out all guns blazing. And who wouldn’t be impressed by this year’s winning ideas that embrace quintessential British habits, humor, history and this country’s immense capacity to put its hand in its pocket to defend the defenceless.

This year has been another momentous one for DOOH, with new branded content partnerships giving large-scale platforms for global events such as London Fashion Week and the Rio Olympic Games, changing how they reach fashionistas and fans. Add to that the emergence of new capabilities such as vehicle-recognition technology, and the whole dynamic shifts again.

This year’s entrants have corralled their concepts and made the impossible possible with ingenuity, imagination and invention. Cheeky dogs, captive whales, marching elephants, dunking biscuits, a flight of bees, carpool karaoke and a quest for Excalibur. A magnificent seven indeed. I can’t wait to be blown away by them and all the others to come. Congratulations to everyone. 

The judges

Vasiliki Arvaniti portfolio manager, Land Securities
Richard Atkins head of display & partner, Bartle Bogle Hegarty London
Claire Beale global editor-in-chief, Campaign
Tim Bleakley chief executive, Ocean Group
James Copley managing partner, Talon
Adrian Cotterill editor-in-chief, Daily DOOH
Sean Kinmont creative director, 23red
Joanna Lyall chief commercial officer, Mindshare
Chris Marjoram managing director, Rapport
Jon Mew director of mobile and operations, Internet Advertising Bureau UK
Bill Moss director of brand ventures and mall retail – Europe, Westfield
Tim Platt head of marketing, BFI
Gill Reid board director – OOH, MediaCom
Caitlin Ryan executive creative director, Cheil London
Bill Sweeney chief executive, Team GB
Stuart Taylor chief executive, Kinetic
Ben Tollett executive creative director, Adam & Eve/DDB
Glen Wilson managing director, Posterscope

For more, visit

See all the 2016 winning campaigns at:

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