How the ‘biggest mistake’ in newspaper history helped fuel

the world’s largest photo competition

In November 2012, Metro readers were surprised to find their familiar (and favorite!) newspaper was completely without photos. Word quickly spread across social media that Metro had screwed up – a huge mistake.

But of course: This was no mistake. The ad agency TBWA Copenhagen had been tasked with developing a sticky campaign for the world’s biggest photo competition: Metro Photo Challenge. This “No Picture Edition” paid tribute to pictures by proving how much we miss them when they are not there.

This innovative campaign — together with a new platform and a fantastic photo expedition as a prize for the winners — proved highly successful as the Metro Photo Challenge 2012 received buzz on social media worldwide, which resulted in a 377% increase in participants, a 139% increase in visitors and 139% more photos. It was the sixth time the competition ran worldwide, and the results were better than ever before.

The No Picture Campaign recently received four awards in the Creative Circle Awards: the Ambient Award, Integrated Award and Event & Digital Events Award. Metro also received the award for Client of the Year. 

Metro Photo Challenge in total received eight prize nominations from Creative Circle, INMA, Communicator Awards and Marketing Week. 




To publish an entire newspaper without pictures and make it look like the worst mistake ever in the history of newspapers is a quite simple idea. And yet quite daring to conceive” says Creative Director Tom Olsen from TBWA. “But the real courageous part of that idea is to execute it so boldly and uncompromisingly as Metro did. I am so happy that once again creative thinking combined with a fearless execution proved to be so efficient.

“What a year! I have been delighted to see the reach of Metro Photo Challenge 2012 recognized by netting top places in 8 different international awards, says Jeremy Bryant, VP of Commercial for Metro International. “Thanks to the synergies between our global headquarters and the local expertise of our management teams in 23 countries, visibility for Metro Photo Challenge’s partners now reaches over 100 million people over a sustained period. But it doesn’t stop there — we are preparing for our 2013 edition, and expect an even higher reach.

For any inquiries to become a partner of Metro Photo Challenge in one of Metro’s local markets, or on a global level, please contact:

Jeremy Bryant        VP Commercial Department        +46 8 120 570 06        [email protected]


Metro is the largest international newspaper in the world. Metro is published in over 100 major cities in 23 countries across Europe, North & South America and Asia. Metro has a unique global reach – attracting a young, active, well-educated Metropolitan audience of over 18 million daily readers.