Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Taking The Ambient Temperature

Ambient used to be all the rage.

At one time, it was the world's sexiest medium... before the rise of Digital.

But is it still relevant today?

Mastercard's Valentine-themed Ambient piece, which I featured a couple of days ago, got a mixed reaction from readers.

Perhaps the medium's high point may turn out to have been Mother's wonderful Britart campaign - from 2002.

Last year, only 8 entries were accepted into the Ambient category by D&AD. And of those, only 2 were from the UK.

Can we still do Ambient? Do people care any more? Is it still something worth having in your student book?

I think so. I love Ambient. It's an opportunity to demonstrate pure creativity, unfettered by media restrictions.

So I'm making next week Ambient Week. Every day I am going to showcase the best of Ambient advertising. Feel free to suggest candidates.

And if you're a student and you have a cool Ambient ad in your book, I want you to send it to me, at simon dot veksner at bbh dot co dot uk, and I'll put those up too. (If you're looking for a job, it may showcase your work. Yes, some ECD's read this blog. Why they don't have better things to do, I don't know).

If you want to submit something and be anonymous, that's fine too. And if you're not a student but you just have a cool Ambient ad in your book that never got made, that would be great. Send it. I just think it would be fun for us to spend a whole week looking at Ambient.

For inspiration (or possibly criticism) here's a reminder of last year's Cannes Outdoor Grand Prix winner - HBO's Voyeur Project.


George said...

Aside from ECDs with nothing better to do, your readership also consists of those of us who don't work on the agency side.

Therefore, please could you define Ambient?

Obviously I know what it means - I'm no ignoramus, but for those simpletons out there that don't know, I thought it better to come from a creative in the know.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe none of you are taking this seriously.

Yesterday, I saw a man dressed as the McDonalds hamburglar, on a bus, carrying a mop.

This is the issue. Fuck ambient media.

Anonymous said...

The problem with ambient is that you can't quantify it in the same way as other, safer, media. The ones we hear about are the successful projects, but they're often considered an (expensive) risk at the time of conception.

If budgets are tight, I would be looking for the client to put more money into their TV spend rather than a great ambient idea which is often a leap of faith from an effectiveness viewpoint.

That's why I think this channel is losing out. Great creative vehicle though it is.

Todd Skinner said...

This is rather exciting.

Im an AE and have been toying with the idea of trying some ambient work on the side.

I would be interested in your thoughts on whether you believe a very small agency (5-10 employees) could make it doing primarily ambient work and public relations.

Anonymous said...

Taking The Ambient Tempreture?

In most cases, rectally.

Anonymous said...

Samsung do a brilliant piece of ambient most Saturdays at Stamford bridge.
These eleven blokes get dressed in blue kits, with their logo on the front and pretend to be a football team.

Brill it is.

Anonymous said...

how do we send you the work??

Liam Scott + Piers O'kelly said...

This has got to be up there with the best of them!

Mister Gash said...

The campaign that had works of art on walls around Soho was good. Can't think for the life of me what it was for though.

Do flash-mobbing dancers flogging phones count as 'ambient'?

Only asking....!

Anonymous said...

The carlsberg live ad is one of the best i have seen recently

Scamp said...

George - an Ambient piece normally refers to any advertising that is outdoor, but not a conventional poster.

Scamp said...

Todd - I think it's great that you're thinking of starting your own shop. But I wouldn't take business advice from some guy who runs a blog!

Scamp said...

2.26 - you can e-mail the work to

Or put it up on a web hosting space and link to that in the comments.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a good idea
low impact too.

Anonymous said...

Any truth in the rumour that BBDO NY paid for HBO voyeur (making it the scam of all scams)?

And the voyeur stories are shit.

Anonymous said...

This was interesting, although probably more in the 'experiential' bracket (if there's a difference).

Anonymous said...

The Carlsberg ambient 'Litter' campaign was great.

For the industry.

But I imagine only about 20 people saw the actual £5 notes on the pavement and probably didn't pop to the local boozer to buy a pint of Denmark's best with it either.

Ambient's great for awards, but not to have mass reach.

Anonymous said...

I saw a man with a Subway board. Is that Ambient? Albeit crap?

Anonymous said...

I loved this one . . .

Anonymous said...

Saw a cracking one for a gay bar once.

Tiny sticker on the floor, so small you had to bend over to read it.


Don't think it was very effective though. Waited for ages but no-one came.

Anonymous said...

I have never in 10 years of working round london seen a piece of ambient advertising outside awards annuals. Am I the only one?

Anonymous said...

There have been some great ambient pieces around and about.

Adidas had some a few years ago. One from Japan where they played football on the side of a building, and another from New Zealand where they made a soccer ball out of one of those reverse bungy rides. Apologies for the

There was another one where a student (I think it was a student) submitted their business card for the D&AD ambient category. Genius. Can't remember which year, but it's in The Book.

Anonymous said...

When i bought a paper this morning the man behind the counter was looking down, which meant he had to raise his eyebrows slightly to look at me, and then suddenly i felt the urge to buy a chocolate bar.

is that ambient?

Anonymous said...

What do you think of this:


Anonymous said...

There was a great one for Weight Watchers a few years ago - just the Weight Watchers logo and phone number on cracked paving stones.

Anonymous said...

was at a football game one miserable afternoon. Can't even remember who was playing who but I was dragged to the ground. All I can recall was it was somewhere in essex, it finished 0-0 and it's a division 1 game.

anyway halfway through the game, a streaker ran to the pitch. A female streaker. Stark naked. Embozzled across her tits and arse were the words 'XXXX Strippers'.
My mate says it happens regularly. The bar owner gets his girls to do that ever so often.

One day I will do something just as good.

Anonymous said...

best bit of ambient ever was when the Mirror put there logo on the soles of Julius francis' boots when he fought Mike Tyson.

We saw the Logo about 5 times.


Anonymous said...

rich and dave did some brilliant stuff for pretty polly a few years back - colourful bin bags and the like.

and they did some clever crushed cars for the godzilla film.

those guys are the kings of ambient.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

when you can't get anyone to run your scam ad, you make it ambient.

Anonymous said...

ambient is great. but only if you live in london.