Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (OS) has been making maps for more than 200 years, providing reliable and accurate geographical information. Now they wanted to put themselves on the map by increasing sales of their newly revamped range and inspire people to plan days out

Ordnance survey logo


  • Increase sales of revamped Ordnance Survey maps
  • Inspire consumers to make the most of ‘days out’ using Ordnance Survey maps
  • Target consumers in a relaxed and relevant environment
  • Create a link with historic buildings sited on the new OS maps
  • Achieve all of the above, including creative work, with a budget of £50,000


The Campaign

We wanted to create a multi-platform campaign that would reach out to those consumers wanting to discover new and exciting days out. So we developed the concept of ‘Great Days Out’ and built the whole campaign around the sponsorship of the programme strand ‘Britain’s Finest’ on The History Channel. The History Channel was an ideal fit, delivering upmarket adults with a penchant for visiting galleries, exhibitions and cultural events (Source: SkyView). To further strengthen the campaign an association with English Heritage was forged.

The Sponsorship

‘Britain’s Finest’ was a series of programmes fronted by celebrities including Richard Holmes, Jenny Agutter, Hugh Scully and Magnus Magnusson. It followed the presenters as they explored and shared their passion for Britain’s Finest… stately homes, ancient monuments, gardens and castles. The programmes’ content was a natural fit for  Ordnance Survey and perfectly complimented the historical places sited on the OS map range.

The sponsorship credits were created in-house as part of the campaign and used the tag line, ‘Where could we take you?’. The series was also supported by OS branded on-air promos, again, created by Sky.


The online element of the campaign consisted of a dedicated micro-site which was accessible via the History Channel website. It complimented the television campaign with extended information on the venues visited, more ideas for ‘Great Days Out’ and identified which OS maps you could use to explore. The monthly History Channel E-newsletter with 27,000 recipients, also profiled the series and provided information on OS.

Extending the Association

Having established ‘Great Days Out’ on air and online, OS were able to extend the concept to their point-of-sale (POS) communications, which in turn further increased awareness of the association with the TV series. The POS material focused on the competition to win a free day out to a choice of over 400 historic English Heritage destinations, with entry via the purchase of two Ordnance Survey maps. POS locations included Ottakars bookshops and Welcome Break service stations.


Meeting the Objectives

Since the start of the campaign, Ordnance Survey have increased sales of their maps by 20% and increased awareness of Ordnance Survey’s brand from around 60 to 75%.

Over the period of the campaign, the Ordnance Survey microsite totalled nearly 46,000 page impressions. The online competition hosted on The History Channel home page received 831 entries, of which 359 chose to opt in to the Ordnance Survey database to receive further information.

With Sky Media’s broad range of channels and opportunities we were able to pinpoint the right environment and creative concept to meet the brief. The programming successfully generated an association with historic buildings as featured on the OS map range and all within budget.


We got such good return on investment through the sponsorship. The campaign itself was very effective and it was our first go at getting everything integrated. As such it’s something that we can build on for the future and we would do it again.

Gail Meadow, Consumer Marketing Manager, Ordnance Survey

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