Episode 9 – Ana Balarin

Ana joined us from Mother London where she sits as ECD alongside her husband Hermeti. Ana [and Hermeti] joined Mother 13 years ago rising up through the ranks from placement to ECD. 

We toyed with the idea of renaming this episode ‘Beyond the Billboard’ given Anas passion for breaking out of the traditional in terms of Outdoor campaign… But then we saw the KFC campaign. Outdoor creative at its finest! 

We talked about the KFC campaign [which had landed just that week]. A pure and simple Billboard campaign fearing just 2 words, and NO LOGO. The photographic lead campaign was shot by Sam Wright simply has their casted models lost in a moment of Finger Lickin’ goodness. Sandwiched either side of the photo, the words It’s Good. 

Ana told us that they went through a tremendous amount of casting to find the right models, that finding that right moment of someone licking their fingers is a difficult one. But the outcome looks incredible. 

One of her favourite Outdoor campaigns of the last year was the Mural for Derry Girls, by 4 Creative for the hit Channel 4 show. As much about the placement location as much as the creative and craft.

Ana also cited Spotify for ‘Listen How You Used to” from Who Wot Why. 

We talked about the ‘State of Outdoor’ and gather Anas opinion on the medium in general. Ana believes we’ve broken free from the billboard and that Outdoor gives us license to to whatever you want [provided you get the permission!]. Outdoor can create experiences, that become collective experiences, unlike other mediums. Ana also talked about Outdoor campaigns being hyper-local and hyper-visual… you can’t hide from it… we’ve put something out that EVERYONE can see and experience.

Ana’s first billboard campaign was for Yellow Pages. The poster was actually for Yell.com, which is what yellow pages became. The campaign was a photograph of an installation where Ana had built a map of UK using the phone books. 

Ana went on to tell us all about ‘The Boob’ – or Free the Feed as it’s officially known. It began life as a ‘Mother Project’ – a project the agency get behind each year due for launch around mothers day. The insight around this concept came from some incredible stats around how new mums feel when feeding in public. But the original boobs they intended to put out as part of the launch, got stuck in customs on their long journey from India. Ana recalled a producer eagerly awaiting the arrival of the boob at Heathrow.

While it was well received and highly rewarding, the best outcome from the concept was the viral uptake of the hashtag #freethefeed. The concept did its job with the campaign going viral and empowering women all over the world. Part 2 for this concept was with Elvie – the  breast pump company. This time there was 5 boobs across London… the biggest one being 6 metres in diameter. 

PS – A little known fact was that the boob was going to lactate… but the weather curtailed that! 

From boobs to Beer… and Becks. The Green Box project. This is a lesser known project in the mainstream really, but it’s incredibly creative use of the outdoor medium. Anas brief was to bring Becks passion for the arts to life in the OOH space, and the response was to create a global interconnected gallery using the green box as an entry point to geo specific augmented reality artworks, from various famous artists. An amazing feat technically at a time when AR was the bleeding edge of technology. 

Finally from German Beer to Swedish Furniture, and the launch of the most sustainable store in Greenwich, London. The idea stemmed from another launch for Ikea in Sheffield that Ana and her team worked on. That work became the new standard for store launches. One of the hero pieces was an Ikea toy boat, that was rebuilt life-size that cleaned the river and canal around the Greenwich store. The plastic it collected was taken to the store and recycled. 

Another element was Ikea wild homes in the Greenwich area for insects, bats and small mammals all upcycled from Ikea furniture. 

The final element, a more classic outdoor campaign was a location specific steps to each store. Someone did go to each location and measure the steps from each poster to the store!

Anas favourite billboard campaign of all time is the Economist ads. Classic, simple and minimalism. It’s all rewarding. Viewers make the connection between the creative and the brand. And another is a tube card panel for Guardian called ‘influencer’ featuring a woman reading the guardian on the train next to a child looking at her. 

Anas top tip… what is ‘the insight’ behind your concept? Find your insight, hone your creative concept.