Scottish Digital Agency Brings Pot-Load of Views to Rainbow “Thank You” Campaign

Image source: Ollie Cunningham, Design Director at The Lane Agency

A collaboration between billboard powerhouse, Ocean Outdoor, and The Lane Agency – an Edinburgh, Scotland based digital marketing shop — is delivering a high-impact “thank you” to essential workers across the U.K. during the COVID-19 crisis.

It all started back in February 2020. Ocean Outdoor created a fund to help small-medium businesses advertise on their billboards at this challenging time, free of charge. Ocean has coverage in UK’s major cities, including London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle. The Lane Agency applied to the fund and nine clients received placement on the boards.

Ocean also offered media partners, like The Lane Agency, billboard placements to advertise their own services. Lane’s management team decided instead to use these placements to show thanks to essential workers such as first responders, healthcare professionals, and grocery store employees. After all, essential workers would be the one constituency regularly commuting to and from work, passing Ocean Outdoor’s highly sought-after billboard spots.

A brief rainbow appears

With rainbow thank you art becoming viral phenomenon in windows across the country, The Lane Agency asked both their in-house creative team and a wider ecosystem of design talent to create billboard executions that took the rainbow theme to new, larger formats. The rainbow brief was born.

“The objective of our rainbow campaign is to spread joy, celebrate creativity, and generate a positive emotional response — as well as expressing solidarity with the creative community we work with, we also hope to bring some happiness to people who see the posters, including key workers on the front line, helping the nation through the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Ali Findlay, managing director of The Lane Agency.

One issue that immediately presented itself was showcasing the finished artwork on the billboards. It’s standard practice to send a photographer to the billboard site and photograph the finished creative on site. With a shelter-in-place order in effect throughout the U.K., and only essential workers allowed to travel, this was not possible. This is where Adobe Photoshop came into its own, with The Lane Agency using available imagery of billboard locations and placing Photoshop renderings of the rainbow art at each billboard site.

In all, 21 artists contributed work, and a full gallery can be seen here. “I’m really proud to work for an agency that puts this much value on kindness, creativity, and community,” says Sallie Bale, account director at The Lane Agency, who is also the organizational mastermind behind the campaign. “Using Adobe for this type of project means consistency and quality. Our in-house creative team work with Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, and lot of our rainbows used Adobe Color to get that perfect hue.” Sallie has also been relying on Acrobat DC to review PDF versions of artwork as they come in from the creatives contributing to the campaign.

Of course, nothing beats seeing creative work out in the wild and thanks to Photoshop here’s a selection of executions.

“To create my Neon Rainbow, I used a combination of programs. From Illustrator to plan and draw the basic shapes needed. Then they were imported into Maxon’s Cinema 4d to model, texture and render. I then took all the rendered images to After Effects to add in the final little touches and render out as the final movie file for delivery. The ease in which all these programs seamlessly work together means, as a creative, you can get on and create.” —Ollie Hooper, freelance designer – Glasgow Central Station

“Learning on the job is the best way for me to learn, so with the help of Adobe After Effects Tutorials I created an animation of my rainbow submission. And now I have new skills that I can put into practice at work.” —Catriona Munro, Designer at The Lane Agency – Newcastle Central Station

“When I was approached to contribute to this campaign, I immediately jumped at it. It is such a positive initiative to be involved in and it was great to have such an open brief. I always knew that I wanted to create a rainbow that included people within the design. The 6 people are a family who are all isolating together at this time. I contacted them initially via Facetime to fully brief them on what I wanted. Each portrait was shot through a window and individually lit with colored light.” —Alex Telfer, Photographer & Director – Westfield Gateway

“I wanted to create something that I wouldn’t normally create in my day-to-day job as a design director. Initially I used Adobe Illustrator to play with the type, and then used Photoshop to create texture and layers on the different components. I was aiming for something that had real depth, combining brightly painted rainbow colors and vintage photographs. The word ‘hope’ worked really well because it instantly conveyed the right message.” —Ollie Cunningham, Design Director at The Lane Agency

It’s estimated that the campaign has thus far generated nearly four million outdoor impressions, thanks to Ocean Outdoor’s premium spots. Phil Hall, joint managing director at Ocean Outdoor applauded The Lane Agency for their idea and the executions. “For many in the advertising industry, income streams and operating costs are under incredible strain. Ocean hopes to alleviate some of that stress through the creation of our small-medium business fund. We were delighted to hear that The Lane Agency decided to dedicate the advertising space we offered to such an inspiring idea, ensuring the artwork reaches as many areas of the UK as possible.”

Like creative communities all over the world, the response from UK creatives to COVID-19 has shown enduring resilience and commitment to their craft. With initiatives like this and Adobe’s Honor Heroes campaign, creatives everywhere have been quick to give a much deserved thanks to those that keep our world turning.

At Adobe, we believe that everyone deserves respect and equal treatment, and we also stand with the Black community against hate, intolerance and racism. We will continue to support, elevate, and amplify diverse voices through our community of employees, creatives, customers and partners. We believe Adobe has a responsibility to drive change and ensure that every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. We must stand up and speak out against racial inequality and injustice. Read more about the actions we’re taking to make lasting change inside and outside of our company.

We also know many people are still impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis and our thoughts are with you. The entire Adobe team wants to thank you, our customers, and all creators around the world for the work you do to keep us inspired during this difficult time.