Nedbank – Power to the people (the world’s first Solar Powered Billboard)

Generallly billboards are viewed as visual pollution. So we created a billboard that actually gives back to the community. By attaching solar panels, the billboard is able to supply energy to the school that feed 1100 kids, in one of South Africa’s poorest townships. This socially-aware approach to outdoor not only changes the public perception of billboards, but also builds the brand personality of our client, Nedbank, who through social upliftment projects are seen as the bank that cares about more than just money. Their payoff line, “Make Things Happen” is elevated from mere words into a tangible demonstration.

This billboard was the first of many that are being rolled out across South Africa in an attempt to create advertising that makes a real difference.

Apart from the value to the community and the 1100 kids that are being fed daily with the help of the power supplied by the billboard, the piece received extensive coverage in the mainstream media (beyond the “media and marketing” pages) with numerous write-ups in national publications, coverage on national radio and television news. It was also picked up by Contagious Magazine as a leading example of branded utility. All this “talk value” has played an invaluable role in the establishment of Nedbank as the bank that cares about more than just money.

According to AdAge, What ultimately swayed the jury in the favor of the NedBank “Power to the People” work was that the solar power being collected by the billboard was helping to power several community buildings, including a schoolhouse. That the work made a difference in the community made all the difference to the jury. At a time when it is so common to have short-term promotions, that the “work that continues to work and continues providing” was key”, said jury chair Jean-Remy Von Matt, founder-chairman, Jung Von Matt, Hamburg.

Advertising Agency: Net#Work BBDO, South Africa
Creative Directors: Julian Watt
Art Director: Jonathan Santana
Copywriter: Brad Reilly
Year: 2007
Grand Prix


One Comment on “Nedbank – Power to the people (the world’s first Solar Powered Billboard)”

  1. shoesfulloffeetct says:

    Reblogged this on Marketing That Matters and commented:
    I was so excited when I saw this post, marketing that matters right on our doorstep! What if every billboard did what these do? Nedbank’s getting it right.

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