‘Look at me’… as I look at you: Facial Recognition Billboards

A campaign that launched yesterday in Canary Warf, London used creative billboards to raise awareness of the fight against domestic violence. The campaign was created by London agency WCRS who teamed up with Women’s Aid and Ocean Outdoor to coincide with International Women’s Day this Sunday. 

What’s so amazing about the billboards?

As a way of taking digital advertisements to a new level of creativity facial recognition is being used to recognize when people are paying attention to the ad. As more people look at the billboard, the bruises and cuts displayed on a models face heal faster. The aim of this is to communicate the benefit of not turning a blind eye to the problem and recognising the importance of doing something to stop domestic violence when you can see it happening. . 

Despite the campaign only premiering yesterday the advertisment has already won an Interactive Award in Ocean’s annual Art of Outdoor competition 2014. 

Women’s Aid and Ocean Amplify the Violent Face of Abuse from Ocean Outdoor on Vimeo.

I think this is a great way of using this technology for raising awareness of an important issue, rather than just targeting us with the right products. I often write blog posts about creative campaigns that I think shine within the industry and this is definitely one of them. A conventional billboard would have gained awareness but this digital communication takes it to the next level and will really make people think. 

What do you think?

Story found at adweek.com 

The best of the beautiful game campaigns

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently you wouldn’t have been able to escape the lead up to the 2014 World Cup. Having said that, there’s been so much hype about the 20th World Cup that it would probably find its way under the rock anyway.

(I must say that I have never watched a football game before so I can’t say that I’m not a fan of the sport. I do like watching sports so perhaps I would enjoy it, however, my only dislike with the game is the over-the-top hooligan fans that come with it. The ones that get into fights when their adored team loses or starts riots in a town centre pub when they disagree with a refs decision.. This type of football crazy fan makes me think negatively about the sport and therefore have steered clear. But what I have been interested in is the overload of football themed campaigns that have been released this summer.)

Many companies have jumped on the opportunity to release a timely campaign that fits in with the build up to the World Cup. Brands like Nike and Pepsi have pushed the boat out, so to speak, and have created some extravagant campaigns, whilst others have simply paddled in the shallow waters with a more simple approach.

Here’s a look into some of the campaigns that have launched to coincide with the 2014 World Cup:


Kristin Patrick, Pepsi’s global chief marketing officer, told Bloomberg in April: “It’s the first time we’ve rolled out a global football campaign to this magnitude. It’s in 130 countries, and we have a large body of content from television, short films and digital content. We have events happening every single month leading to up to the summer.”


Nike’s ‘Winner Stays’ ad, the second in its ‘Risk Everything’ 2014 football campaign, has attracted more than 70 million YouTube hits so far.

Beats by Dre


Adidas, an official partner of FIFA has 17 million Facebook likes and one million Twitter followers.

The advert creation isn’t the only element of the campaign as Adidas promises to have 50 people in its Rio ‘war room’ located at the home of Flamengo FC. “Our target is to be the most talked about brand at the World Cup,” says Rob Hughes, senior global football PR manager, adidas global football. “We will have our legal, marketing and FIFA teams to help expedite approvals, to ensure we are best placed to publish content and drive media spend, no matter what the time, day or time zone.”

It is clear, however, that a company doesn’t need to be an official partner or sponser with FIFA. Coca Cola’s campaign has been over-shadowed by Pepsi even though Coca-Cola is an official partner and sponsor.


Twitter also got involved by creating ‘hashflags’. This new feature turns a hashtag and 3 letter abbreviation into a colour icon of the countries flag.



So to sum up the campaigns, it is clear that a visual and interactive approach has been used by many big-name brands as way of establishing themselves within the World Cup. Social media has, of course, hit the ground running with new features and engaging ways for fans to communicate throughout the World Cup. There is a lot more that could be said about new campaigns and features but I feel like this post is now rather long, so here are a couple of links for you to use if you wish to read more about this.

Tech Giants Play The Game

War Rooms

Why ASDA cutting 4000 managers is a good thing

ASDA recently revealed that they are planning on rolling out a new business structure, which would ultimately lose 4000 manager roles. There’s always a massive fuss when a large organisation decides to ‘lose’ a bunch of employees and this time has been no exception. The only difference is that this time it’s managers that are getting the sack, so an even larger uproar was expected. There’s two ways to look at a business restructure that eliminates job roles.. The first is to realise that jobs will be lost and conclude that the organisation (in this case ASDA) is making a bad move. The second is to look into the reasons why they are making the changes and realise that the new customer-facing responsibilities that are being created are much more beneficial to a range of their stakeholders.

Whilst studying PR at university I have had the importance of corporate engagement drilled into every aspect of my studies, so when looking at this ASDA restructure I must say that it would seem ASDA has made a smart move. Yes, 4000 managerial roles have become obsolete, however new responsibilities have been given to shift leaders that will enhance the engagement and interaction with consumers on the shop floor. This minimises office roles and maximises stakeholder engagement.

ASDA restructureSo, what are the actual changes that ASDA are making? In short, 4100 department manager roles will be discarded, whilst 1500 new managerial roles will be created. This leaves 2600 managers with no job role left in the new structure who will be offered the role of section leader; a role that is typically a pay grade down from their current department role. As part of the plans an additional 3,500 new section leader jobs will be created, which Asda said would result in an additional 900 staff on the shop floor.

Chief executive Andy Clarke said: “These 20 [hotspot trial] stores are performing ahead of expectations. With these changes we’re putting more colleagues in front of customers.”

The whole aim of this new restructure is to generate more of a focus on the ‘click & collect’ service, which the section leaders will be responsible for. This is an attempt from ASDA to channel a better online shopping experience and expand further into online retailing.

From a PR perspective, this move could potentially lose faith from their employees but will benefit the rest of their stakeholders. Expanding into a digital approach is a great way to keep up with the consumers preferences as ‘IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) is predicting that this year total online sales will rise by 17%’




Experience: Client Meeting

As part of the Digital PR module of my course I had to attend a client meeting with my fellow campaign group members. The client meeting was last friday and was a chance for myself and my group members to show Naomi Garrathy, from FiveByFive agency, and Fiona Phelan, from CooperVision, our ideas and main strategy for the campaign.

To start the module off we visited FiveByFive agency in Southampton who focus on digital communications. They set two briefs with the focus of building a digital relationship with consumers. One brief was for CooperVision Lenses and the other for Welchs fruit juice. In groups of 4 we had to pitch to the rest of the course in an attempt to win the brief that we wanted to create a campaign for. My group made up of myself, Paige Hiley, Chloe Attwood, and Trine Larsen chose to pitch for the CooperVision brief, which we were proud to win. After we won the pitch it was time to get started on generating ideas, key messages and the main strategy for the campaign. The brief is focused on developing a digital relationship and driving consumers to CooperVision website.

The client meeting was scheduled last friday (22nd November) as a way of giving us experience in that type of situation, and also an opportunity to share our main ideas and strategy with .. and Fiona. My group was chosen to be filmed and shown to potential students looking to start at the university to study PR. It was a great experience and my group was very proud of ourselves for how well it went. The meeting was more of an informal conversation about our ideas and gave us the confidence to continue with our proposed ideas for the campaign.

Below are a couple of photos of my group during the client meeting taken for the SolentPR instagram page:

Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 21.39.35 Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 21.39.46

We received some great comments back about our efforts in the meeting and I personally feel that it was a great experience to learn from and to have when progressing through the course.

I hope I’ll be able to get a copy of the video soon, which I will post to show what content was discussed.

If you’re interested in finding out more about what I’m getting up to as part of my uni course then follow my twitter account for frequent updates: @helencummingspr

British Airways, Flying High For Interaction

Earlier in the year I posted about how standard advertisements just won’t do anymore. To get noticed they need to be interactive and fun. They need to make people think and react. An example that I gave was ‘Smarter Cities’ campaign with 3D billboards that let the public interact with the advertisements in their everyday lives. (Check out this post here: http://goo.gl/X9Kgiv). I wrote about the campaign because it caught my attention and made me think, exactly what the billboards were set out to achieve.

After reading an article on businessinsider.com about British Airways interactive billboards, it got me thinking about how creativity can be channeled by different formats to consumers. A billboard now-a-days doesn’t necessarily mean a poster that peels off after a month. It means digital. It means eye-catching. It means INTERACTIVE.

Below is a youtube video of the BA advertisement.

After the advertisement was released many people took to youtube to post videos of the billboard. These videos reached amazing view counts and were being shared via google+ by many of the viewers. This response shows the importance of being interactive with the public and the consumers.

British Airways’ head of marketing Abigail Comber said, “This is a first, not just for British Airways but for U.K. advertising. We all know from conversations with friends and family that we wonder where the planes are going and dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination. The clever technology allows this advert to engage people there and then and answer that question for them.” (businessinsider.com, 2013)

I personally think that this quote from Abigail Comber says it exactly how it is. There has been many times when I’ve been sat (procrastinating) looking out of a window wishing I was onboard the plane flying overhead. These billboards express the thoughts of people watching the planes take off and the day-dream of wanting to be flying away. The creativity and interaction of these advertisements will be thought-provoking and encourage the consumer to book a flight.

Just another example of how to be interactive in the current digital world. Well Done BA!

If you’d like to read the article, then here is the link: http://www.businessinsider.com/british-airways-interactive-billboards-2013-11


Moss, C. 2013. These Awesome Interactive Billboards Point To Planes Flying Overhead In Real Time. [online] Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/british-airways-interactive-billboards-2013-11 [Accessed: 25 Nov 2013].