Sealord and Saatchi & Saatchi embrace their inner pyros with burning billboard

The billboard seems to be a growing darling of marketing and this year, for the first time ever, outdoor entries at the Cannes Lions overtook the number of press submissions (5660 outdoor entries vs. 5007 press entries). And while the majority are still static and passive, some of the more progressive outdoor executions aim to inspire more interactivity, both in real life and, increasingly, online. And Saatchi & Saatchi has gone down this road, setting a manuka billboard on fire to launch Sealord’s new hot-smoked salmon.

Now on show in Ponsonby Central, the ashen billboard is made of manuka branches and was burned on a Clevedon farm to “replicate” the old-fashioned traditional kiln method Sealord uses to prepare the salmon (it is the only nationally available traditionally smoked salmon range in the country and is produced with brothers Joe and Gavin Kouwenhoven, who have been smoking seafood in West Auckland since 2000). 

Saatchi & Saatchi’s executive creative director Antonio Navas said in release: “When we learned about the wonderful artisan techniques involved in the creation of this delicious salmon, we were inspired to try and find a way to make this process the hero.”

Saatchi & Saatchi worked with Gyro and Gorgeous Films to create and capture the burn. 

And while we’re on the topic of creative billboards, here are a few from here and around the world.

The Economist’s billboard featured a large single light bulb, which turned on via a motion sensor when pedestrians walked under it for a genuine light bulb moment – by BBDO UK.

IBM’s Smarter Cities added some utility to its outdoor media, with billboards that doubled as seats. 

Colenso BBDO created a billboard that bleeds when it rains to advise people to drive to the conditions – “Rain changes everything”.

DIY shop OBI demonstrated its awesomeness by renovating billboard-sized sections of old buildings with its own products – created by Jung Von Matt/Elbe.

Yes, it’s half a decade old now and but Saatchi & Saatchi’s Kill Bill 2 promotional billboard is a homegrown favourite, with blood spraying out of the picture and onto a car placed in the street.

You can even save the world with your billboard, as Japanese natural cosmetics brand Shokubutsu Hana is attempting. This company stands for healthy beauty and a green future, so it created a billboard made of vetiver grass spelling “clean river soon”, and floated it on the Pasig River in the Phillipines. Vetiver is a grass that can filter toxins, and the Pasig River is so polluted by industry and sewage it was declared biologically dead in the 1990s. The company partnered up with a rehabilitation commission and vetiver growers to pull off the project.


Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand
Client: Sealord – Melissa Semmens (Brand Manager, Chilled), Sarah Sandoval (Head of Marketing and Innovation)
Executive Creative Director: Antonio Navas
Creative Group Heads: Cory Bellringer, Matt Sellars
Senior Producer (Agency):  Anna Kennedy
Designer: Rob Flynn

Planner: Sarah Hodgetts
Business Director: Shelley Winsor
Account Director: Katja Green
Production Company: Gorgeous Films

Director: Rowan Webb

Executive Producer: Edwina Monaghan

DOP: Kent Belcher

Editor/2nd Camera: Zac Blair

Billboard Construction: Gyro Constructivists

Sound Design: Franklin Road

Media planning and buying: Starcom – Matt Kum, Jesse Jones

Outdoor Media partner: APN Outdoor 

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