WWTT? BBC Stakes a Billboard to Promote ‘Dracula’

In an out-of-home (OOH) advertising effort to promote the new series Dracula, BBC showcased a billboard covered in wooden stakes — the iconic weapon used against vampires. While the imagery was eye-catching during the day, the billboard had a surprise to share at night.

All right, so a bunch of bloody stakes in a billboard promoting BBC’s new series Dracula makes sense. Dracula is a vampire. Vampires hate wooden stakes through the chest. There’s nothing else to cover, right?

WRONG.

BBC's billboard for Dracula
Credit: BBC Creative

BBC Creative, the in-house agency for the BBC, decided that because the series is aiming to be a fresh and unusual take on Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale, the marketing campaign should follow suit. The agency opted for an out-of-home (OOH) advertising effort, putting up two billboards: one in London and one in Birmingham. In daylight, each billboard displays the quintessential tools to use against the undead monster, along with a a glass case below containing another sharpened stake and the phrase “In case of vampires break glass.”

The billboard isn’t particularly spooky, despite the bloody stakes, though the imagery is spot on. But when the billboard truly shines is at night … literally and figuratively.

BBC's billboard for Dracula
Credit: BBC Creative

Once the sun goes down, a light attached to the side of the billboard gradually turns on, revealing that the stakes have been placed in such a way that Dracula appears in the shadow.

Olly Harnett, creative head at BBC Creative remarked upon the billboards: “Our campaign for Dracula leaves the audience in no doubt they can expect something fresh and unexpected from this extraordinary adaptation of the vampire classic. Our unique campaign is one of the most ambitious special builds we’ve ever undertaken — by day, a random assortment of stakes hammered into a billboard but by night, transformed, as the Count springs to life in the form of a looming shadow.”

Regarding the full campaign, BBC One’s Head of Marketing, Chris Hooper, said, “Coming from the makers of Sherlock, this version of Dracula is laced with dark humor and rock star swagger. We wanted our campaign to reflect Steven [Moffat] and Mark [Gatiss]’s fresh take on a classic character, so each element has been designed to surprise …”

Marketers what do you think of these billboards? Do you think they will entice BBC’s current audience to watch, as well as attract new viewers? Leave a comment below!

 

Consumer Reports Nets DMA ECHO Green Marketing Award 2011: Lessons for Every Marketer

One of the highlights of the Direct Marketing Association’s 2011 annual conference was the awarding of a special ECHO award to Consumer Reports, the organization behind the magazine of the same name. As a member of DMA’s Committee on the Environment and Social Responsibility (CESR), I was one of the judges of this year’s competition, which looks to honor one marketing organization that has demonstrated environmental performance and sustainable practices in the design and execution of an advertising campaign.

One of the highlights of the Direct Marketing Association’s 2011 annual conference was the awarding of a special ECHO award—the ECHO Green Marketing Award—to Consumer Reports, the organization behind the magazine of the same name. As a member of DMA’s Committee on the Environment and Social Responsibility (CESR), I was one of the judges of this year’s competition, which looks to honor one marketing organization that has demonstrated environmental performance and sustainable practices in the design and execution of an advertising campaign.

What makes the Consumer Reports entry remarkable is its demonstrated adherence to a set of environmental principles and practices known as the DMA “Green 15.” Established by DMA in 2009, the DMA Green 15 provides guidance to marketers on list hygiene and data management, paper procurement, printing and production, and recycling and workplace operations—all in an effort to support the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

The campaign itself was a recent subscription offer for Consumer Reports and ShopSmart magazines. The campaign did not sell an environmental product. It did not tout environmental claims. It did not involve environmental causes. Yet it won our discipline’s highest environmental marketing honor. Why? Because the campaign incorporated environmental sensitivity, efficiencies, and cross-company and supply chain engagement into everyday marketing planning and decision-making.

In short, the Consumer Reports effort is a blueprint that all marketers—commercial and non-profit—can replicate in their own everyday marketing.

Consider this excerpt from the entry:

We produced the Winter 2010/11 direct marketing campaign with the goal of strategically supporting the sustainability objectives of meeting our acquisition targets, serving the ongoing needs of consumers, and of being good stewards of the resources we use. Direct Marketing and Publishing Operations departments worked collaboratively guided by our internal Environmental Policy & Vision Statement to identify, implement, and track meaningful environmental choices made throughout the life cycle of the campaign season.

The overall environmental benefits of the choices we made included less energy and materials consumption, more benign manufacturing, and reduced emissions. Additionally, we promoted recycling of direct marketing packages that are recyclable, saved money, upheld response rates, and met our objectives.

The full entry incorporated actions that the Consumer Reports vendors undertook to increase efficiencies and environmental performance, as well as documented gains in paper procurement and use, mail design and production, and recycling and pollution reduction—all with measurements that document positive environmental impacts while achieving financial objectives.

I encourage all marketers to look to the example of Consumer Reports and its adherence to the DMA Green 15. In fact, the long-term sustainability of direct marketing depends on it.

Resources:
Direct Marketing Association’s Green 15 Toolkit for Marketers

With Special Permission, This Year’s DMA International ECHO Green Marketing Award Winner, Consumer Reports.

Editor’s Note: As of Autumn 2011, ConsumersUnion is newly rebranded as Consumer Reports.