We are delighted to award the first winner of Bannerflow’s quarterly best display campaign competition for 2020. Celebrating the very best in display advertising, whether that is through the application of technology or impactful design.
And after much deliberation, the winner of the best display advertising campaign of winter went to Swedish betting company ATG.
Designed in our creative management platform (CMP), ATG’s emotive and sleek display campaign uses video to show a different angle to the world of horse racing. We spoke to Graphic Designer, Frida Bergsten, and ATG’s Senior Designer/Creative Lead Mattias Hallbom about their winner campaign and how they create display campaigns in-house.
Tell us about the winning campaign design. What was the purpose of this campaign and how did this translate into design challenges?
Mattias Hallbom, Senior Designer/Creative Lead, ATG: I would say the purpose of the campaign was to do something different with our communication. At ATG we tend to be very focused on speed, thrill and power. Our normal imagery is the race track – often with a big bold message and a lot of selling, jackpots,etc.
In this campaign we wanted to do something different, show another side of horse racing: the build up before the race, the horse in the stable, the interplay between driver and horse – create something with more feeling.
Therefore, we aimed to create something clean and uncomplicated, with simple copy that aimed to enhance expectations before the race day. And at the same time strengthened ATG’s brand values.
Can you describe some of the technical details of this particular display ad?
Frida Bergsten, Graphic Designer, ATG: We applied the video widget for the background, which is one of the main design elements. We also used a brand-specific logo widget, and some other HTML5 widgets that we add to every set that we do.
Was the video asset made specifically for this campaign?
Frida Bergsten: The video footage comes from a commercial shoot that was done last year for another campaign. However, the part we selected hadn’t been used before.
Mattias Hallbom: We guessed that there was more material from the shoot, such as horses in the stable before the race. So we asked for a hard drive from the agency that makes our larger film productions. Frida then found a lot of emotive material that no one had ever used before, which we then added to digital banners.
It’s interesting that you take assets and reuse them in a more creative fashion…
Mattias Hallbom: Yes, it is isn’t it? Again, the section of footage was only used for a second in our bigger commercial so I guess we were lucky in this case. I think this is one of the strengths of being an inhouse agency – we have a good overview of the productions, both external an internal.
Working in-house you are able to be more creative with the assets that you had?
Mattias Hallbom: Yes, and work in a more proactive way.
Do you ever think: “I need to create this ad in a certain way so it fits a certain place”?
Frida Bergsten: Yes, this ad is for the professional race players, so it’s not for everyone. The banners for this campaign are on pages where the professional players look.
Specifically people who know horse racing and the context behind it?
Frida Bergsten: Yes.
Mattias Hallbom: That’s why it was possible for us to be so clean and not so “selling” in this particular campaign. We knew the audience we were talking to – they are ATG’s core players. They already know the product so this is more of a treat; “here you go, this is something else from ATG”. It shows another side of us as a brand.
How do you tackle the design process of creating campaigns? Is it something you do alone? In a team?
Frida Bergsten: Firstly, we sat down with our horse team and came up with concepts as a team.
Mattias Hallbom: We then did a brainstorming session and talked about how we can use the material effectively in our advertising. For example, what is the best message and target audience for the campaign.
For this project there were 5 people in the team: a project leader, me as the creative lead, two designers (Frida being one), and a copywriter. After the initial concept and the copy was created, Frida then dug into the material and worked in After Effects to produce the main video.
How long did it take you to go from concept to finished campaign?
Mattias Hallbom: We worked on and off with it for a couple of weeks, so not full time. We had other projects running productions along with it. We set a goal to have it ready in under 3 weeks.
When working on the design process which other tools, beyond Bannerflow, do you use?
Frida Bergsten: Mostly After Effects and Photoshop, Illustrator sometimes. Not so much pen and paper for me. I don’t have time for it.
Mattias Hallbom: Sometimes we make storyboards – and thenI still use pen and paper. But in Bannerflow, it’s faster to just concept.
What is it about Bannerflow that makes designing ads easier?
Frida Bergsten: It’s very effective, as we can produce so many different formats. You can easily make a new format based on a master creative and that’s really useful. Also it’s very simple to design animated banners.
Since you using Bannerflow, where have you seen the most radical shifts in how you work?
Frida Bergsten: We used to use Photoshop – now I work more or less in Bannerflow. It was more stressful without Bannerflow, we had so many different formats to do. It’s much less stressful now.
Mattias Hallbom: I worked with Flash back in the day and it’s a huge difference. Just like Frida described – it was time consuming when you have many formats and sizes to design.
I haven’t personally worked in Bannerflow that much but it’s fairly easy to work in, especially the timeline. It’s not that complicated to use and that’s a strength, as you can make some pretty cool stuff in HTML5.
Does Bannerflow help you to work remotely?
Mattias Hallbom: Yes. We are all working from home with it at the moment.
Are there any particular favourite features?
Frida Bergsten: The HTML5 video widget in the ad creator. We work with that a lot right now.
What is it about using video that enhances your ads?
Frida Bergsten: It’s simple to make banners look good when they have a video in the background.
Mattias Hallbom: It’s the magic of movement! It’s how we are as humans – we’re drawn to something that’s moving. However, at the same time it puts demand on us not to overload it with copy or animations. When we use video, we try to find a balance.
What are the benefits of working in an in-house agency at ATG?
Frida Bergsten: We have lots of knowledge in-house, both within the in-house agency and at ATG. It’s easy to ask colleagues questions about horse racing and other company specific areas.
Mattias Hallbom: The main strength is that we are close to our customers and can be proactive. Like this campaign – we came up with the concept from scratch.
But there are always two sides to a story. I worked at an external agency before and I think the hard part for internal agencies is that we do a lot of production. It’s sometimes always fast fast fast, before quality. External agencies can have more time to be creative.
However, my personal view is that internal agencies are moving towards adopting more creative tendencies. They are becoming less production focused and more focused on concept and idea generation.
As a designer, how do you continue to find inspiration for your work?
Frida Bergsten: I can find inspiration online, across channels and pages. I can also get inspired by my colleagues at ATG, who are good at different areas of design.
Mattias Hallbom: Good question. We talk about it a lot in our team. We try to look at other campaigns, from other companies, and figure out how they work.
Also we look at stuff that is not market communication. For example, art exhibitions. We try to draw Inspiration from a range of different areas of design.
How we selected the winning campaign
Bannerflow’s Customer Success, Operations and Marketing Team sat down together to decide on the best display advertising campaign for Winter 2020. Each team considered the design, performance, complexity, features, and formats for each campaign submitted.
Selected campaigns were then presented to a panel of judges who rated them from 1 to 10. The campaign with the highest total won display ad of the season!