Media: Strategy Analysis - Bringing some colour to Xerox users

Brand: Xerox
Clients: David Millican, head of communications, Xerox UK; Henrik
Bustrup, European advertising manager, Xerox
Brief: Re-energise the Xerox brand and reposition it in the colour
Target audience: Key business and IT decision-makers
Budget: Multimillion-pound

Media: Mediaedge:cia
Creative: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, Vibrant Creative


Xerox wanted to shake off its image as an old-fashioned, black-and-white copier company and reposition itself in the more profitable colour market.

This required Mediaedge:cia to re-energise the brand and establish it as the leader in, and synonymous with, business colour in Europe.

A communications platform was developed to add metaphorical and literal colour to the brand under the strapline: "Xerox Colour. It makes business sense."

Born out of the insight that people really see the benefit of colour within a black-and-white context, MEC developed a strategy to show the practical and emotional values by adding colour to traditional mono environments and removing colour from "expected" colour environments.


The campaign focused on innovative media partnerships. Key business connection points were chosen to deliver impact and engagement in each market.

Working closely with media owners, beyond their ad sales teams, Mediaedge:cia developed media firsts which changed editorial into colour and/or created new content.

- Press: Colour ads were placed within mono environments in print titles across Europe. For the first time in its 25-year history, The Daily Telegraph's cartoon character Alex was published in colour, extolling the virtues of colour in business. This was supported by Xerox sponsoring Alex, the downloadable desktop, providing business updates three times a day. Parts of The Independent's business section were printed in colour and The Times featured a colour watermark behind the share listings, both of which were media firsts.

- Online: On three business sites across Europe, including, users were met by a mono version of the home page which gradually turned to colour. Interactive ad units were developed using a streaming video version of the "Loft" TV ad and deployed across a variety of key business and IT content areas online. Xerox was also the first advertiser to develop clickable colour ads on the BlackBerry version of

- TV: A 30-second TV ad ran across five pan-European channels, which included Xerox's first ever presence on terrestrial UK TV. Capitalising on a World Cup year MEC created branded content with Eurosport, where classic football action started off in mono, with colour being gradually introduced to show how colour can enhance the experience.

- Outdoor: High impact, prestige sites and small ambient opportunities within key business areas in "black and white" City environments were chosen to host colourful posters, including billboards with 3D lightbulbs that changed colour. The route between the City and Heathrow was transformed with the 3D lightbulb displays.


Research shows 30 per cent recall of Alex being in colour for the first time and a 35 per cent increase in those people agreeing that Xerox is an "innovator" (Telegraph readers). A 36 per cent recall of colour "wash" activity (The Times readers), and a 12 per cent click-through rate on (the industry average is 0.2 per cent). Eurosport attracted more than 2,000 business entrants and 7,000 people downloaded the Alex desktop.

Tracking and independent research had delivered positive shifts in all desired brand attributes and associations with colour. In the colour MFP/copier segment Xerox's shipments increased significantly year on year.

The campaign was named Best Digital Campaign in the Media and Marketing Europe Awards and picked up a silver for Best Medium Campaign at the MediaWeek Awards.

THE VERDICT - Iain Jacob chief executive EMEA, Starcom MediaVest Group

This brief could have turned out to be a disaster. Imagine the scene in a boardroom in Uxbridge; the boss is talking: "We want businesses to use a lot more colour, specifically Xerox colour. But we all know that those people in the purchasing departments of our clients don't want this at all, it is far too expensive.

"So let's tell the business community just how much more cost-effective the use of colour is - I have a survey that shows sales presentations in colour are 38.3 per cent more effective than their black-and-white counterparts. At only a 25 per cent premium, you know it makes sense."

Thankfully, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, Vibrant Creative and MEC didn't do any of that. They went back to basics. Things look better in colour, right? Especially when you have been used to seeing them in black-and-white.

The beauty of this campaign is all in the execution, both creative and media. The vibrancy of the creative work in typically black and white media environments works a treat. Being the first to introduce colour into many of these places makes it an even more powerful idea.

Turning the Alex cartoon in The Telegraph into colour and then having the content of the cartoon be all about colour is a masterstroke.

This was taken seamlessly into the digital environment with a presence on PDA newswires and business websites. Adding a splash of colour to the traditional mono business sections in The Independent and The Times has added to the whole approach. So, what we have here is a simple demonstration executed beautifully.

My only criticism is that they went for the strapline "Xerox Colour. It makes business sense" rather than the more motivating: "Xerox, light up your business" that I found in the body copy.

PS. As a regular in this column, and an awards judge, may I make a plea? Please stop using the word "engagement". The word appears in every submission, typically on multiple occasions. As a person, you will generally be engaged before you get married and you might engage a lawyer at your divorce. Our response to ads, however, is to read, respond, smile, blog, laugh out loud, click, go to a shop or simply ignore. Engagement does nothing to explain what is actually happening as a result of spending the money.

SCORE: 4 out of 5.


Become a member of Campaign

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a member

What is Campaign AI?

Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content