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Astral giving creatives carte blanche

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March 26, 2010   |   By Jeff Beer  

Most talk about cutting-edge advertising these days typically focuses on online and the latest digital innovations and interweb wizardry, until, that is, someone breaks through the noise using a more traditional medium.

We've seen it recently on TV with Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like." In outdoor, recent efforts like the Zimbabwean newspaper's award-winning trillion dollar currency billboard and closer to home, Leo Burnett's work for James Ready beer stood out.

Now, a new contest by Astral Media Outdoor aims to encourage just that kind of inspirational thinking by giving complete control to creatives.

Carte Blanche for Creatives challenges Canadian ad creatives to come up with an outdoor execution for any brand, with no brief and no restrictions ("Make the logo bigger!"), for a chance to win a paid trip to the Cannes Lions advertising festival and have their work displayed, pending client approval, on either transit shelters in Toronto or on billboards in Montreal.

"Creatives often complain about the constraints put on them by briefs, budgets and logo placement, so we just said, ‘Do what you have in mind for a client and we'll see what comes out of it'," said Astral Media Outdoor spokesperson Patrice Attanasio. "For us, it's a way to get closer to the creative community and promote our outdoor products, which are usually perceived as traditional but are really the essence of creative advertising. To stand out in that frame you really have to exhibit a certain level of creativity."

Creatives have until April 18 to register at, where they can also comment on submitted work and vote on their favourite entries. There will be two rounds of judging, with each short list being reposted on the site for further voting until a winner is picked.

Astral Media Outdoor primarily deals with media buyers, said Attanasio. "But they want to create a better awareness within the creative community, so when a creative thinks about different projects, they also think about using outdoor as one of their tools."

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