Article first published in Campaign.

Experts, including our very own Will Sharples, pick their favourite out of home campaigns and explain why their chosen work makes the most of the medium.

Will Sharples, Strategist, WCRS

Britain certainly isn’t the most welcoming place right now. A recent Ipsos MORI study reveals anti-immigration feeling as the main cause of the Brexit outcome. But it’s also a time when many people are looking for leadership to champion a more positive, progressive set of values. In a void of such leadership, brands have an opportunity to step up.

Making a political statement with clarity and authenticity is no easy task. That is why Jigsaw’s recent OOH takeover of Oxford Circus Tube station stands out. It’s immediate, relevant and left me a little happier about the world.

The posters are refreshingly direct. “♥ Immigration” is plastered in front of ethnically diverse models against quintessentially British rolling hills and heritage homes. The message is clear: immigration doesn’t threaten “British values’’. Then there’s its manifesto poster, which reads: “There’s no such thing as 100% British.”

Few media buys can give the impact an OOH takeover has at Oxford Circus Tube. The work covers the walls, surrounding you with Jigsaw’s bold statement. The location itself feels pertinent; it’s the epicentre of fast fashion, where many cookie-cutter retailers wouldn’t touch such an emotive subject with a bargepole.

Jigsaw had a modest budget; it needed to create a campaign that prompted a wider discussion. So it used OOH for what it’s best at – creating bold work that can stir a reaction among a small audience who want to share it. By presenting such an unequivocal message, so attuned to the current political conversation, the campaign did just that. “♥ Immigration” was picked up by loads of publications, podcasts and news outlets, and social media was buzzing with people’s responses to the campaign.

Jigsaw could have done some print ads featuring beautiful people in beautiful clothes. They would have looked nice and some people would have glanced at them. But instead, it has used what’s best about OOH: a chance to create something worth talking about, triggering a bigger conversation. A conversation that needs to happen.