How BNP Paribas and JCDecaux brought cleaner air to Marylebone Station

JCDecaux UK was highly commended in the Corporate Social Responsibility category at The Drum Out of Home Awards 2019 with its ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ campaign for BNP Paribas. Here, the agency reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this successful project.

The challenge

BNP Paribas wanted to raise awareness of their commitment to supporting solutions that boost the long-term sustainability of cities, raise awareness of the issues of air pollution and use Outdoor advertising space to make a difference to people’s lives.

The strategy

Clear strategic thinking was at the heart of this innovative campaign.

Anne Marie Verstraeten, UK at BNP Paribas said, “BNP Paribas has integrated the UN sustainable development goals into its business globally and as part of this is committed to developing solutions which contribute to the long-term sustainability of our cities. Where we have an opportunity to partner with clients, start-ups and the local community to make an immediate, positive impact, we should take it.”

The campaign

Giving millions of Londoners a breath of fresh air, in October 2018 BNP Paribas unveiled a ground-breaking clean tech advertising solution that adapts Out-of-Home advertising space to create four ‘clean air zones’ to improve the quality of air in Marylebone Station, a busy commuter hub.

This innovative year-long initiative was the first of its kind in a UK rail station and the result of a partnership between BNP Paribas, media company JCDecaux UK, clean air technology start up Airlabs and Chiltern Railways.

JCDecaux UK incorporated high-tech air-filtration technology from Airlabs into an entirely new advertising product specially created for Marylebone Station. Positioned where people wait for trains, the four BNP Paribas branded air-cleaning units filter the air around them, removing harmful pollutants.

Meanwhile, posters and floor media delivered clean-air messaging to inform and engaged the public about this important issue. This innovative campaign deployed Out-of-Home advertising space in an entirely new way to meet BNP Paribas’ objectives and clean the air at a busy London rail hub.

The launch of the branded clean air zones was timed to coincide with the World Health Organisation’s air quality summit in Geneva and was supported with giant posters, high-impact floor media and gateline branding.

This highly innovative and flexible campaign reached the public and BNP Paribas’ own people - situated a stone’s throw away from BNP Paribas’ UK headquarters in London.

The results

The eye-catching branded media space on the air filters generated 183,932,000 viewed impressions (or eyeballs) among people visiting Marylebone Station (source: Route), reaching people on their daily commute and creating significantly cleaner air.

The project featured in the press and on news channels including Sky News, covered in India and Russia, bringing the issue of air pollution to millions worldwide.

To date, 23 mil. m3 of 100% Particulate Matter (PM) cleaned air has been delivered to the station - enough to fill Wembley stadium 20 times with 100% PM free air. 16 mil. m3 of 100% Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) free air, enough to fill Wembley 14 times. (source Airlabs).

The campaign is highly effective. Marylebone Station has around 300,000 commuters passing through the station every week and they will now breathe air that is up to 95% cleaner. (source Airlabs)

A survey among Londoners found, two in five respondents agreed it is “a great initiative for the public”, while two in three respondents “would consider going through Marylebone station after finding out about this campaign” and “9 in 10 respondents would like this campaign to be replicated in other stations” (Source: Attest survey March 2019). The same survey survey showed passengers that had seen the campaign agreed that BNP Paribas is innovative, forward thinking, in-tune with current issues and sustainability.

The initiative has improved the passenger experience and underlined Out-of-Home’s ability to provide advertiser-funded media space that is effective in terms of corporate responsibility. Above all, it has been welcomed by the UN, underlining its results and world changing impact

Satya Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretariat General, UN Environment ,said: “Air pollution is a public health emergency causing seven million premature deaths annually. We therefore welcome BNP Paribas’s leadership and contribution to restoring clean air, a basic human right. Air pollution and climate change can seem insurmountable, but when the power of innovation is unleashed, and the private sector takes on its responsibility we can overcome these challenges for current and future generations.”

This project was highly commended at The Drum Out of Home Awards 2019. Click here to register to your interest in 2020's event.

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