Cannes Lions

Essential Thanks

DENTSU, Auckland / ASB / 2021

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Case Film






When COVID-19 hit New Zealand, the country went into an immediate level 4 lockdown. No one, except for essential services, were allowed to leave their home. Which meant out-of-home advertising became effectively redundant. But while other other brands started to pull out, we ramped up our OOH buy, because there was still an important audience.


There were two key elements to our strategy - the first was targeting our core audience via sponsored social media placements to get them to write the messages for our billboards, the second was to use a wide reaching dynamic digital OOH network to target essential services who were out on the streets. With outdoor numbers dropping by over 90% in New Zealand, we were able to target the essential services on the street using a cost per view model based on traffic data - a media first in New Zealand. Combining this with dynamic targeting to make sure each message ran in a place that the person it was dedicated to would see it, our strategy focused on impact over reach.


A simple template allowed us to plug in the user-generated messages along with a photo of the message sender. Then, working with our media partner and the message sender, we hyper-targeted each placement so it would run in a place we knew the specific person it was dedicated would see it - whether it was near their work, or on a route we knew they would take. On top of this, dynamic digital screens let us update the billboards to run in a matter of hours.

The campaign ran from 04/04/20 - 27/04/20


With over 1.2m impressions from a single social post, we had thousands of unique comments which we were able to turn into unique billboard placements across the country. Not only that but our campaign was broadcast on national news and ultimately helped lift ASB’s brand love score to the highest it’s ever been. But most importantly, it let us say thank you to the people who deserved it the most

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