The Joy of ads: IAB UK ‘hires’ 8ft Chief Digital Cheerleader


Digital advertising industry body IAB UK has ’employed’ an 8ft brown bear as Chief Digital Cheerleader to front a new campaign encouraging advertisers to rediscover the joy of digital advertising.

Joy the Bear

Aptly named Joy the Bear, the IAB’s latest recruit takes on the newly created role with immediate effect and will, in her own words, “be a larger-than-life cheerleader for what digital advertising can do when you let your imagination run wild – no pun intended.”

The integrated campaign launched today, bringing Joy to life across display ads and the IAB’s own channels.

Activity includes a 60-second video where Joy introduces herself to the industry, addresses her unusual job title, and explains why she’s the perfect candidate to get marketers thinking differently about digital.

Meanwhile, video display ads are running across social media and press, starring Joy as a hip-hop ballet star, taking up yoga and trying her paw at DJing – all directing people to a dedicated hub on the IAB’s site with resources and advice to get the most out of digital advertising.

As the newest member of the IAB team, Joy also has her own LinkedIn profile and is primed to chair the Joy Awards from the end of November.

The campaign has been produced by creative agency NOW with media planning and buying by 19 December.

It is the first brand building campaign that the IAB has run for the digital ad industry and marks the start of what will be a long-term and multifaceted focus from the trade body to get advertisers excited about digital advertising.

The focus on ‘joy’ has been informed by research conducted by Walnut Unlimited – which utilised qualitative interviews with top marketers, a survey of over 400 agencies and brands, and semiotic analysis of industry commentary – to get an in-depth understanding of how marketers truly feel about digital channels.

Joy has been created to specifically address the barriers identified, including a feeling that human creativity has limited value in the digital space and that the industry moves too fast to keep up with.

Commenting on the work, James Chandler, IAB UK’s CMO, said: “A 200kg bear doing yoga probably isn’t what springs to mind when you think about a B2B campaign for the digital ad industry – but Joy actually has a lot more in common with digital than you might think.

“Both are a bit overwhelming on the face of it, perhaps a little misunderstood, but both have an incredible amount to offer once you get to know them.

“We know that advertisers are spending on digital channels, but do they feel positive about it? The honest truth is that they’re daunted by the pace of change in the industry and are constantly battling a feeling that they need to be investing in the next newest tech to make an impact.

“This campaign is about addressing that unease, encouraging advertisers to use digital channels confidently and creatively and – ultimately – to spark some joy.”

Louise Hayward, CEO at NOW, added: “This was a dream brief for us; not only because we got to advertise our own industry, but because we were given the brilliant challenge of dramatising the sheer joy of digital advertising.

“This is something that can be forgotten, given the misconception that digital advertising only works hard from a commercial perspective for brands, therefore is less powerful at building brand affinity and meaningful connections.

“A big challenge needs a big (at least 8ft) solution, so we introduced Joy to IAB UK. She is infectiously joyful and a great champion for the endless creative and emotional potential within the dynamic world of digital communications.”

Joy the Bear added: “I can’t wait to get my teeth into this challenge. Joining the IAB is a big move and while I’m a bit worried that I won’t fit down the office slide, I’m so excited to be part of the team.

“Expect to see this furry face popping up in some unexpected places over the next few months and do say hello if you see me – I really won’t bite.”