Media: Strategy Analysis - Zoo finds six ways to spend £10,000

Brand: Zoo
Client: Nial Ferguson, Emap
Brief: Drive preference for Zoo over Nuts
Target audience: Young men
Budget: £2 million

Media: OMD
Creative: Mother, Poke (interactive)


The men's weekly magazine market has two dominant players - Zoo and Nuts. However, the two brands are totally undifferentiated by their target audience of young men. In an attempt to "drive Zoo preference over Nuts", Mother dispensed with the traditional method of communicating weekly editorial content, in favour of a model that would distinguish Zoo through the creation of a bigger brand idea.

Instead of communicating typical Zoo editorial content ("Zoo reading"), Mother created original branded content by bringing to life the notion of "what it's like to live life according to Zoo?" This was called "Zoo living". Mother created Zootube, an entertainment channel brought to life through TV, online, cinema and the magazine itself. The site was set up with the aim of satisfying the young male thirst for comedy and titillation in a way which isn't possible on TV.


- Online: Online videos were produced featuring the in-house Zoo marketers Steve Shanyaski and Richard Connolly. The videos were all based on the same premise: Steve and Rich were given a £10,000 budget to make a series of ads. How they spent the budget was entirely up to them. Their adventures were filmed in the style of a documentary.

The idea was to capture Steve and Richard spending the video budgets in the same manner that the typical Zoo reader would want to. Their adventures were featured on

- TV: Steve and Rich spent £60,000 on six stunts, which were used to create five 20-second TV spots. Also, 15 viral films of varying lengths were uploaded to

- Press: Stills from the ads were adapted into advertorials in Zoo and one of the commercials ("bouncy castle") became the theme for an entire issue.


The novelty element of the campaign has led to substantial PR. The Cab Ride Challenge (which saw Steve and Richard travel as far as they could in a black cab for £10,000 - they got as far as Marrakech) was featured on London Tonight, Metro and the Evening Standard. ITV has produced a one-hour documentary covering the making of the campaign. The "Keeley Lingerie Shopping" and "Keeley Crazy Golf" videos on entered the top 100 most viewed on YouTube. The activity resulted in three of the year's biggest weekly sales.

THE VERDICT - Jon Forsyth partner, ODD

On first glance, you might dismiss this campaign as a typical "tits sell" lads'-mag stunt. But in a category devoted to indulging this marketing cliche, it deserves praise.

First, it is a fantastic example of agency and client collaboration. The idea was completely dependent onintegrationacross editorial, creative production and media strategy.

Second, it placed the target audience at the heart of the idea without putting them in it. The stereotypical attempts at capturing "real lads' antics" on viral clips etc are a bit worn and often appear cheesy.

Being asked to spend £10,000 on anything you want is a 20-year-old's dream, but seeing the guys at Zoo do it is just as entertaining, as you'd expect them to share the same mischievous mentality.

And finally, it did something rare within the lads'-mag category by acting like a brand. The campaign avoids the formulaic product-driving tactic of promoting a front cover, and instead created some living editorial.

With such a concentrated top-shelf market, Zoo living's attitude and humour differentiated the magazine by existing outside of being just a magazine. Given the increasing demand for 24/7 mobile interactivity, this has got to be the way forward for brands that survive on "of the moment" information and news. Zootube was a literal example of this and a great way of extending accessibility of the idea.

I was slightly surprised the stunts themselves weren't a bit edgier. Given the target audience and available channels, I would have expected some really risque content that could be released virally. However, I'm sure the campaign will re-emerge, so there's loads of scope for more.

In terms of accountability, it will be interesting to see how well the title performs versus Nuts and whether investing into brand differentiation pays off. However, if the ITV documentary of the making of the campaign happens, I'm sure accountability will be unquestioned.

So, in summary, I think this was a great campaign and successfully created an opportunity for a very fickle audience to step inside Zoo and enjoy the personality of the brand beyond the staple flow of weekly titillation.

Score: 4 out of 5.

Become a member of Campaign from just £51 a quarter

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

Become a member

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