By Michele Munro

People sometimes claim to be passionate about what they do as a day job. But what differentiates true devotees in my opinion is their commitment to get out there and get their hands dirty. This is why, as an outdoor advertising enthusiast, client field trips are such an important aspect of my job.

It helps that I really love getting out in the great outdoors myself. I still find it incredibly exciting and rewarding to be personally involved from ground zero.

Working as part of a team with both our agency client and the relevant out of home (OOH) media owner yields the best OOH solutions for the client. I believe that, in an ideal world, all OOH briefs should be handled this way.

An example of a best practice OOH campaign I was personally involved in recently, was done for our agency client Joe Public. Anglo American commissioned Joe Public to source sites in the Northern Cape and Thabazimbi for Kumba Iron Ore, as well as in eMahlahleni, formerly known as Witbank, for Thermal Coal.

The overriding theme of Joe Public’s campaign is to showcase what Anglo American is doing for the local community in areas where they are active. By going the extra mile and taking the time to do field trips with the agency and OOH media owner, we gained a real perspective and deeper understanding of what Anglo American is doing on the ground. We were then better able to understand specific site requirements.

I was truly inspired by Anglo American’s utilisation of unused land to help previously disadvantaged communities. The broader demographic has not been exposed to many of

these good news stories and OOH is a fantastic medium to show people what Anglo American is doing behind the scenes, in a bold and dramatic way. (This is where MMAP comes in.)

Highlights from our field trip to Thabazimbi, where we were tasked with sourcing perfect sites for various OOH boards for the campaign, included visiting Bakatudi, a flourishing vegetable farm with the most delectable crop of produce offered for sale. We also went to a Venda cultural village where locals sell homemade goods.

The recently opened Thaba Tots, the first English medium early childhood development centre in the greater Thabazimbi area, was inspiring because of the good work done there. This unique facility accommodates children of three to five years’ old.

On the Northern Cape site trip it was fascinating to visit the Sishen mine and experience Anglo’s focus on safety first hand. We were also exposed to various Anglo American initiatives in Kuruman, Kimberley, Kathu and Postmasburg. A highlight of this trip was visiting the Gogi Modise Wellness Clinic in Kathu, which provides much-needed health care services to the community, employees and many local contractors.

Through service rendered by the clinic, the mine actively engages with communities to address a number of wellness issues. These include sexual violence, alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and child abuse.

The field trip to eMahlahleni was anything but dull. Here Anglo American’s coal division runs the world’s largest free workplace HIV treatment programme. By investing in small businesses, Anglo American has also created more than 1 750 jobs locally.

eMahlahleni features my favourite billboard creative created by Joe Public for the Anglo American campaign: “At Kumba Iron Ore, we don’t offer women the chance to be equal. We offer them the opportunity to be exceptional.”

It’s gratifying to be exposed to and inspired by the positive actions of a big corporation such as Anglo American. A true understanding of what they are doing helps us service our client Joe Public better, enabling us to deliver hard-working, prominent and effective media sites for their OOH campaigns.

This article first appeared at The Media Online