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Business case studies No 208 - 23.02.2018


Gazprom-Media’s speciality is sponsorship and non-spot advertising. They are therefore invariably looking for creative ways to innovate and better meet their clients’ needs. As such, they invented a new format called the “freeze-frame”, a unique product exclusively used at Gazprom-Media channels. Recently, mobile operator MTS took this hyper-customised advertising to a whole new level during the most popular travel show on Russian television.

The freeze-frame is a five-second ad, charged at a premium of 50% compared to a classic sponsorship, included in the average 9 hourly minutes advertising in Russia. Normally, when creating a commercial, brands need to first create an atmosphere, tell a story, put the viewer in the right situation and then talk about the product. The advantage of this format is that the brand makes full use of the mood and context created by the show already: they simply need to choose the most relevant moment in a show to insert a five-second overlay.

As Maria Gavrilova, CEO of Havas Sports & Entertainment, explains, “All we need to do is choose the right moment and bring the information directly to the heart of the viewer”.

Tailored to the brand's needs.

When Gazprom-Media is asked to promote a given product, its inhouse video production unit creates one version of the freeze-frame. Even a single version is a very tailored work, as it implies watching a huge amount of content that has already been planned by the channel, so as to find the most suitable moment to insert the ad in the show.

The ratings for this type of spot are the same as for the content, because the viewer doesn’t have the time to switch or mute the channel as sometimes happens during a regular advertising block. The freeze-frame has become the most requested format for Gazprom-Media, especially for clients in the pharmaceutical industry. It was the mobile operator MTS however which pushed the concept the furthest, so let’s have a look at their recent campaign.

Taking hyper-customisation to a new level

To launch their new offer “Zabugorishe” (a mobile pack with roaming calls at the same price as home calls) the mobile operator MTS chose the TV channel “Friday!” and was in direct contact with Gazprom-Media. Havas Sports & Entertainment, Maxima and BBDO joined forces for the creation of this hyper-customised campaign using freeze-frames. It was launched as part of the most popular travel show on Russian television “Heads and Tails”.

In this show, two hosts visit a city for a weekend. One has an unlimited credit, while the other travels with a very small amount. The show was chosen because of its large and stable audience and the relevance of the content to the mobile operators’ offer.

The main strength of the campaign was the customisation of creatives. MTS took it to the next level by going from 1 creative to 30 for one single show. Over a period of 6 weeks, these highly personalised versions of freeze-frames were created. Each freeze-frame became a comic mini-story, which gave the viewer the impression to be present behind the scenes of each episode, as if the producer commented on the presenters’ actions.

The Results

The campaign reached 7 million unique contacts in the target audience (14-45 BC) on TV and the website, where the content with the freeze-frame was put.

On top of building a very strong and long-lasting partnership with MTS, Gazprom’s efforts were also recognized by a very prestigious award in the media industry. The campaign was awarded second place for best advertising campaign of the year by Russia’s most prestigious advertising media body

This award is a nation-wide phenomenon: to determine the winners, over 50.000 people cast their vote in 7 different categories (commercials, digital, campaigns, social advertising, BTL advertising, print / outdoor and branding). After the first round, 150 experts from the largest brands and agencies evaluated and chose the three best campaigns in each category, making it a very prestigious award to win.



» Website Gazprom-media (click here)
» Website MTS
(click here)


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