Cannes Lions


NEWS UK, London / Bridge Studio / 2018

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It became clear that in order to sustainably grow digital & video advertising revenue, The Times & Sunday Times would need to offer tailored mobile video ads that weren’t overly disruptive and which premium, paying-subscribers would engage with. Moreover, advertising sales teams needed to appeal to premium advertisers and media buying agencies in order to steer ad budgets away from the likes of Google and Facebook.

The Times & Sunday Times would look to achieve this by creating v-Studio: a full-service creative studio designed to produce, publish, and distribute vertical video ads exclusively for mobile environments – a global first for a major traditional news publisher. It would be designed to be a one-stop shop for mobile video creative that could be accessed by either filming & producing content entirely in-house via in-house studio OR re-formatting advertisers’ existing TV/video assets to produce fully bespoke vertical mobile video content.


Resource was allocated in-house to deliver full v-Studio shooting & production capabilities.

Additionally, an extensive RFI process was conducted to identify and source a suitable tech platform that would allow quick and efficient editing of standard TV/video assets provided for ad campaigns with shorter turn-around times and smaller budgets.

Seven original vertical video ad formats were created to meet a range of possible advertising campaign objectives and KPIs. These included:

1. v-Shoot (original branded content shot vertically in-house)

2. v-Edit (vertical video re-cut from a 16:9 standard video)

3. v-Skin (full-screen vertical ad creative with a 16:9 video embedded)

4. v-Social (vertical video with social sharing hotspots)

5. v-Select (a vertical video gallery)

6. v-Drive (vertical video with dynamic overlays / call-to-action triggered by feeds like location)

7. v-360 (fully responsive vertical 360-video)

Once development work was completed on the Times mobile site to enable vertical video ads, all Times digital advertising sales teams were trained to recruit launch advertisers. Initial ad packages were designed to include creative production from standard video assets at no additional cost, with the possibility of 3rd party research to measure effectiveness.

The 1st campaign launched in July 2017 with Dom Perignon advertising via KR/Mediacom.


15+ campaigns secured from advertisers that hadn’t previously ran video ads on The Times & The Sunday Times, alongside significant UK marketing/advertising trade press coverage

Over £250K in ad revenue generated in the first 6-months - (more than doubling all video revenue)

Premium brands including Michael Kors, Mr Porter, Chanel, Boeing and Dom Perignon made bookings in the first 6 months; over 1/4 of all initial clients made repeat bookings within the period

All Times & Sunday Times vertical video ad inventory sold out after five months

Campaigns have produced engagement results 5X higher than non-optimised video formats in the same environments

Independent research commissioned via Visual DNA/Nielsen proved audiences exposed to a v-Studio format in isolation were more likely to purchase and 2X more likely to agree that the brand was ‘prestigious’ in comparison to those exposed to a standard home page takeover with a 100% share of voice