Halo Awards: H2 2021

I’m in media which means that I tend to notice ads more than the general population. But not just notice, critique ads, especially OOH (out of home e.g. billboards). Rather than keep those useless opinions in my head, I’ve decided to start the Halo Awards – my own version of the Cannes Lions, the Effies, the Golden Pencil…

I should give the classic media spiel on how I’m judging the submissions (not really submissions but just photos I’ve taken walking around London) but there aren’t any categories. Merely what caught my eye and why and then at the end, my favourite for this half of the year.

Most OOH campaigns tackle the objective ‘awareness’ but for those who don’t know the media world, I shall explain briefly. A widely accepted taxonomy (there are always different names media people use for the same thing and so many more sub levels that can be added, more so digitally) is, going top-down through the funnel: Awareness, Consideration, Conversion. Awareness meaning to reach a large number of diverse people. The ad should be simple and attention-grabbing, in areas of high foot traffic. Consideration meaning being able to stand out with their USP against competitors and have more precise brand messaging. The ad should be frequent, in areas that allow for longer dwell time and contextually relevant. Lastly, conversion meaning making the consumer take an action whether it be to download an app or buy a new product. The ad should have precise targeting, have a specific CTA and encourage engagement.

Ikea “Every home should be a haven” by Mother: This awareness campaign immediately encapsulates the message in their creative by showing that despite the chaos in the outside world that one can’t control, the home is a space where one can feel safe and at peace. Rather than advertising specific things that they sell Ikea are associating themselves with a feeling – of being calm and secure. It’s well cited that emotional branding is the most powerful tool for building a relationship with your audience. It also taps into the subconscious when making buying decisions. Just look at the most recent McDonalds’ infectious laughing ads that connect happiness and the food together. The TV spot is equally commendable featuring humorous hench teddy bears and a black dad and daughter bonding over pillow forts and make-overs.
Patch “There’s a Killer”: Another awareness campaign that immediately captured my attention. It’s simple messaging with an accusatory question makes you think you’re in an Agatha Christie novel – ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. The black and white colour scheme not only matches the murder mystery concept but makes the ad stand out from bombarding TFL ads. The clever use of the word ‘reformed’ adds an element of hope to anyone relating to the message of killing plants.
Twinings ‘Alive in Every Drop’ by Uncommon (Media by the7stars): Again this campaign focuses on the calm feeling that tea is often associated with but it really highlights how Twinings can improve people’s daily wellbeing with their product line. It’s not uncommon for campaigns in the past two years to focus on serenity and mental health given the pandemic. The whole creative concept concentrates on the natural elements on their blends and the video formats modernises the image with cinematic moments. The whole campaign effectively highlights the importance of mindfully living in the moment.
Reddit ‘Maybe Together We’ll’ by R/GA: A solid campaign across some of the biggest OOH sites in the UK supported by 60″ digital. One of Reddit’s key barriers is lack of understanding and relatability, so the campaign tackles this by showcasing the hilarious, inspirational and motivational moments that come out of twitter. It focuses on the diversity of the communities by highlighting sub-reddits that are quite popular topics e.g. trail running, vs quite strange ones e.g. conspiracy theories. A great strength of the platform is its people focus and they definitely don’t detract from that, not only in their wording “we’ll” but also displaying how you can find people like yourself on the platform and make it your safe space.
Innocent “Fruit that does Good before it does Bad”: Innocent have really kept with the TOV here by staying witty but using simple terminology. They manage to be playful whilst still tackling the main concerns of smoothies which is ‘are they actually good for you given all the natural sugars’. This ad is straightforward, clever and showcases their product diversity.
Audible “Have you Heard” by Fold7: A joyous campaign across VOD, Cinema and OOH that brings to life the different genres of audiobooks available with visible excitement. The quick transitions on the OOH ad is mirrored in the TV spot where the clips jump to contrasting personalities/scenarios talking about sometimes the same story. It presents that everyone can love the same content with nothing hindering them to join the escapism.

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