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Apocalypses, pollution, smashed phones, witty banter: The Drum OOH Awards 2019 entry call


By Dani Gibson, Senior Writer

June 26, 2019 | 6 min read

Thanks to technology, innovation and the great talent that is powering the sector, out of home advertising has grown massively over the past few years.

It is undoubtedly the most visual of all mediums, offering instant stand out and kudos for brands and despite the increase of online opportunities, it has continued to deliver impressive results.

The Drum Out of Home Awards 2019 is open for entries, John McCarthy, senior reporter at The Drum takes a look back on some of the most innovative winners from 2018.

Havas Group Media, VCCP, Adcity, Posterscope: O2 Ooops

In just three years, over £1bn in repairs bills racked up for cracked phone screens. Responding to this unnecessary mishap, O2 decided to take a stand and make free screen repairs a core market proposition for the first time, anywhere.

Timing the campaign to coincide with the new iPhone launch, O2 was the only network offering free repairs with the new contract as part of its “Ooops” tariff. To get the word out, it needed a big message. The result? Turning digital out of home screens into smashed mobile screens, dropping 48 sheets off their hinges.

The best way to make a sale is to tap into the greatest fears of your audiences and sell them the solution expresses McCarthy. "If it is executed creatively, more people will remember it. With Oops, O2’s ‘media became the message’ with it perfectly capturing the seven stages of grief of a smashed phone.

“Having recently (and reluctantly) coughed up £180 to replace the screen on my Samsung S8, the cracked digital out of home creative, and the actual ‘free screen repairs’ market proposition proved enticing. What we have here is a new message. A new way of delivering it. And something that will come to mind the next 100 times I smash my phone.”

The@Partnership, The&Partnership London and Toyota: You'll Be Fine (Break Glass)

break glass
break glass 2

If you want to take down a horde of zombies, perhaps the Toyota Hilux is your perfect vehicle for the job.

The&Partnership were tasked to renew the desire of the Toyota Hilux re-establish its toughness in a competitive category. Every motor brand boasts about how tough they are, so rather than joining in The&Partnership London made the same point in a different and more emotional way. That whatever life throws at you, with a Toyota Hilux you’ll be fine.

“I’m not a driver." reveals McCarthy. "Or a car guy. But I am a firm believer a big truck would be helpful when the world ends (at least until the fuel is depleted). With the poster copy ‘in case of apocalypse… break glass’ - Toyota takes me back to that electric first viewing of Mad Max: The Road Warrior.

“It’s a strong creative concept that strongly indicates that the Hilux is a safe and reliable car. Kudos also for sparking such imagery without resorting to digital or video trickery and utlilising something much more powerful – imagination.

“This is not a poster or a billboard anymore. It is a vessel containing the viewer’s salvation from the coming apocalypse.”

UKTV, Talon Outdoor, Hearts and Science UK: Dave Always On


Dave is well known for its quirky humour. When creating the ongoing off-air campaign for the UKTV channel, Talon Outdoor, Hearts and Science UK produced a series of brand ads for UK travel environments projecting the channel's voice directly into its audience's day.

These contextual, shareable and funny ads were specifically targeted to consumers commutes. The creative generating hundreds of online likes, shares and comments.

"When I hear that Dave is the Home of Witty Banter – I think: ‘Prove It’. And so it did," admits McCarthy.

“As a writer-man with an unyielding bias in support of long-copy ads (almost as if to prove that writing and reading isn’t dead), it was a treat to sit on the Tube drunkenly dissecting Dave’s ‘Always On’ copy about what to do when your mobile phone battery dies. Like an observational comedian on Dave, it shrugged ‘phones eh?’ before launching into a tirade about how to better pass the time.

“The copywriter appears to have opted for text that is a bit smaller than is comfortably legible. I was drawn in, I leant forward in my seat and squinted at the musings. Twenty minutes after my copy chuckle, I threw myself into bed and absorbed some Dave.

“After years of being told to keep copy short and to the point, it may pay to go against the grain and get writing again. Stand out from the grammatically frustrating three world straplines and give me something, absolutely anything to read.”

Corona and Primesight: The Wave of Waste

Mexican beer brand Corona decided to take the fight against plastic pollution to a whole new level on World Oceans Day. Together with Vizeum, Posterscope, Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam and Primesight, a visually stunning special build was created on Old Street, London.

The sculpture, The ‘Wave of Waste’, featured Australian actor Chris Hemsworth surfing in a wave of plastic collected in the UK. Londoners were encouraged to contribute to the build by donating their own plastic waste to the billboard.

This hijacking of iconic symbols of paradise at such a large scale saw Corona become the number one mentioned brand on World Oceans Day.

“In advertising, the great outdoors is a vast canvas for creativity," says McCarthy. "Break out of the screen, the billboard, the site, and create something unmissable. Whereas a pop-up is a disruption, brands can enter the real world to build something unmissable and Instagrammable that inspires debate.

“This is what Corona did on World Oceans Day, reportedly becoming the top mentioned brand with its memorable illustration of the plastic piling up in our oceans.

“The creative featured Avengers’ actor Chris Hemsworth. He battered a surfboard through a wave of waste. In my mind, this transformed the plastic crisis, from a couple of plastic bottles floating in the distant ocean to a tsunami of junk threatening to clutter my street.

“It’s time to wave goodbye to plastic waste in our oceans – and Corona helped put this on the agenda."

This global competition recognises those who have been producing the most creative and effective out of home advertising work over the past year.

Entries are now open for 2019 and if you enter before August 15, you will receive a discounted rate on your submission.

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