Spike of creativity

Spikes Asia just announced the winners of it’s 2015 awards. It’s part of the group that also runs Cannes Lions and usually we see the Cannes winners dominate Spikes. This year there seems to be a bit more local flavour. Let’s take a look…

The Mobile Grand Prix went to a project from South Korea. Samsung’s “Look at me” campaign by Cheil was designed to show how mobile devices could be used for good, not just sharing food selfies. The project helped autistic children connect with people around them. It also won the PR Grand Prix and several golds.

Australia and New Zealand always perform well at Spikes being two of the strongest APAC countries when it comes to creativity. This Grand Prix for the Promo & Activation category was produced for BMW by DDB Auckland. It’s a simple April Fool’s stunt that made a lot of noise…

A project for India produced by Grey Singapore picked up the Innovation Grand Prix. The Life Saving Dot turned the traditional bindi, that almost every woman in India wears on her forehead, into a life-saving tool for delivering iodine to women in rural areas. A brilliantly simple yet clever idea.

Japan has traditionally been a strong performer at international awards and this year we saw Hakuhodo Kettle Tokyo win an Innovation Gold for another project that aims to help people in need. Working with the University of Tsukuba’s Special Need School they used technology to allow handicapped children to play the piano by just using their eyes…

Back down under for the final selection from Spikes and this project from Leo Burnett Melbourne won the Integrated Grand Prix. SPC Ardmona is the leader in packaged fruits and vegetables and needed a way to fight back against cheaper/lower quality imports. They used the power of great emotional storytelling and national proud to change people’s attitudes to how they shop.

Check out all the Spikes winners here >

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Posted in Agencies, Brands, Creative, Media, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

July roundup

Been a bit busy since my last update. So here are a few projects that caught my attention during the month of July.

I have to admit to being an old softy so can’t resist anything to do with babies. This campaign for Comfort fabric softener in Singapore is a great example of branded content. There was also an interesting competition element where couples had to watch as their babies chose the prize for them – a soft cuddly toy or a motorbike, flat TV etc. Those damn babies better choose the right prize or no supper for them!

I saw this technique used some years ago for a driving game but now VW have introduced a way to use your voice to create a film for the new Golf R. Just go to their special website and start making silly driving sounds with your mouth. It will generate an exciting driving video to share with others and inspire them to do the same.

Staying in the car category, here is a project I love and hate. Why? Because I presented exactly this idea to the same client here in China probably 18 months ago. Well here is the idea and it’s pretty cool. Land Rovers have 5 cameras built in to see all round the car. Imagine if you used those cameras to make a movie? Better still, get real directors to make movies with the car as the camera…

If you are heading off on holiday then enjoy the break. But if you are stuck then try a fake vacation. Or a Fakation as they have called it at KFC in Romania. As reported in Contagious, “KFC’s Fakation provides the tools for young Romanians to make it look like they’re on holiday. Selected urban outlets of KFC in Romania will boast tray liners and floor stickers decorated as sandy beaches and blue oceans. Teens who visit those branches can then fool their friends who are on a genuine holiday by faking a vacation photo with their mobile phone”. The video is in Romanian but you get the idea.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Posted in Brands, Creative, Technology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Cannes – it’s a wrap

Another year at Cannes has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Even for those of us not there it hasn’t been a particularly memorable festival. No stand out project that people will talk about for years to come. Lots of me-too work that makes women, teens, LGBT or whoever feel proud of themselves thanks to brands that truly understand them. With so many brands saving the world the future is looking bright. OK, maybe I’m being a bit cynical. But there is something of a bandwagon rolling around adland right now. So I am going to choose some of the work I think isn’t copycat.

Last year Intermarche in France showed how they were able to get French people buying ugly fruit and vegetables. This year they have come up with a way to brand fresh orange juice with the times that the juice was squeezed. It won gold in DIRECT and probably took a lot of efforts to get the production line up and running.

So many agencies are looking for that earth shattering idea and incredible execution to bring home a Cannes Grand Prix. Grey New York did it with hardly any effort at all. The Volvo Interception campaign took home the Direct Grand Prix with a simple tweet.

But sometimes it’s the beauty that makes it a winner as in this Cyber Gold winner for Photoshop’s 25th anniversary. The Dream On campaign made use of 1000s of Photoshop files submitted by real users.

Who would have thought that the humble GIF would be back and bigger than ever in 2015? EA Sports harnessed people’s obsessions with American football and GIFs to get people talking about their console games. This won a Mobile Gold and Cyber Silver Lion.

OK, so I need to include one project that tries to save the world. The Clever Buoy project for Optus (sorry Americans, doesn’t sound quite right when you say it) uses technology to protect people from those pesky sharks that want to spoil your fun and eat your limbs. After all, the sea is there for humans not sea life! Now you can check your mobile before jumping into the sea and feel safe knowing that M&C Saatchi won a Titanium and Mobile Lion.

Finally, if there is one thing that has helped advance civilization in recent years it is the emoji. It has elevated communication to whole new levels. Now we’ve reached the summit of language with this Titanium and Integrated Grand Prix project from CP+B that lets you order pizza with emoji. Not just any emoji of course. The pizza one. Another case of minimum effort for maximum Cannes glory.

I’m exhausted now so go and check out all the winners here – while I order a pizza.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Posted in Agencies, Brands, Creative, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sharper ideas

Hot on the heels of the One Show winners we now have D&AD pencil winners to admire. I’ve selected some of my favourites, ones that I haven’t shared here before…

Yellow pencil winners

Geico – Unskippable
The Martin Agency

Most pre-roll ads just beg to be skipped. But this one was designed to get the message across in a flash then make you want to watch the whole thing. They even created an extended version of one of the ads which I’m showing below. Can’t resist a naughty dog.


Issey Miyake – message

Can’t find the full case video but this is a taste of a project developed in Japan with beautiful animated typography using Issey Miyake products so people could send customised messages.


White Pencil winners

Burger King – Proud Whopper
David the Agency Brazil

I love campaigns that piss people off. Especially ignorant bigots. It’s a super simple idea but really well executed. White Pencil winners are all about work for important causes. LGBT being the most fashionable one right now. Until Bruce Jenner makes us all sick of hearing about it.


Rainbow Laces
Lucky Generals

Another campaign supporting gay rights. It won’t change the mind of most morons but at least loads of brands get to show how politically correct they are…


Graphite Pencil

Luxottica – Penny the Pirate
Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney

Really smart idea to get young kids to have their eyes tested and to prey on the minds of paranoid parents.


Foxtel – Zombie Followers
Clemenger BBDO Sydney

I love anything to do with zombies so I had to choose this as my last selection. How to make maximum buzz with minimum bucks.



There were 5 Black Pencil winners. None I wanted to share here but check them out for yourself.

To me, D&AD is the ultimate award. Cannes has become ruled by scam. So congratulations to all this year’s pencil winners.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Posted in Agencies, Brands, Creative, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One and only

The award season is in full swing and it’s interesting to see what is winning festivals like ONE SHOW to get a glimpse of who will be grabbing the lions in just over a month. I’ve chosen a few of my favorite GOLD PENCIL winners which I think will definitely be picking up prizes at Cannes.

Interactive Gold Pencil

Under Armour – I will what I want
Droga 5

Let’s face it, Gisele Bundchen doesn’t need the money. So when you see her doing a campaign like this you know that it’s because she believes in it. I love the way she kicks ass while all the internet trolls try to bring her down. Really empowering stuff.

Interactive Gold Pencil

Honda – The Other Side
Wieden and Kennedy

Some projects are famous even before they hit the judges screens at award festivals. I remember this one doing the rounds and being amazed how seamless and brilliant it was. One button interaction! You can’t get more user-friendly than that. www.hondatheotherside.com

Direct Gold + Best of Discipline

Sol de Janiero – Tattoo Skin Cancer Check
Ogilvy Brasil

This is a really smart idea. Young sun lovers are never going to get a skin check so how can we bring it to them? OK, so how about all the people who don’t get tattoos? I guess they are not cool so don’t deserve to be saved :-)

Mobile Gold Pencil

TeatreNeu – Pay per laugh
The Cyranos//McCann

I love the case video as much as I like the campaign itself. Maybe even more. But it’s interesting to see how broad the mobile category is now. This is a really smart idea especially for a country where the economy is bad and people want value for money.

UX/UI Gold Pencil

SNCF – The most serious game ever
TBWA Paris

Nice to see the UX/UI discipline being recognized because it can mean success or failure for any project. The challenge for the agency would have been to really get inside of the mind of this super-smart target audience. Not an easy task to do for most people working in advertising. Sorry.

Check out all the winners here and see which ones you think everyone will be talking about this year.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Posted in Agencies, Brands, Creative, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s get physical

We live in a digital world but we still go out and about or do other things than just sit glued to our screens. Yet we can’t help but be drawn to anything technological even when we are switched off. Here are a few examples of brands using digital in the physical world to engage with people as they go about their daily lives.

Netshoes, the biggest sporting goods store in the world with the smallest popup store

To promote its new mobile app, Netshoes, the largest e-commerce of sporting goods in the world, launched its first physical store. Opened at Oscar Freire, the main shopping street of São Paulo, the Netshoes Pop-Up Store made available over 40,000 products in a space slightly larger than a mini tablet, placed between two other stores. It was a great way to promote their online shopping app for mobile devices.

Ford Explorer’s Interactive Print Ads

Not the first time we’ve seen this technique but still a nice way to drive brand engagement and tell a compelling product story by combining print with mobile. With three separate print ads, people were encouraged to place their phone on the ad once they scanned the QR code. They then saw an interactive video demo of the SUV’s new features: Park Assist, Power Fold and Adaptive Cruise Control, in a way that looked like the print ad was coming to life.

Walkers Crisps put Gary Lineker inside a Twitter Vending Machine

As part of the Do Us A Flavour campaign, where the public was asked to come up with new varieties of crisps (sorry, it’s not chips, this is happening in England), Walkers Crisps put soccer legend Gary Lineker inside a Twitter-activated vending machine. Watch to see how people reacted as he surprised them with free packs of the 6 Do Us A Flavour finalists.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Posted in Brands, Creative, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Power of E

Storytelling, it has been the buzzword for the past couple of years. Apparently we don’t produce campaigns any more. We tell stories. Our agency is full of storytellers now. If they lose their jobs they can always head down to the local library and read books out loud in the children’s corner. Personally, I feel that brand storytelling falls short. We need consumers to be part of the story and not just be observers. We need the power of E to help brands connect with their audience. We need people to EXPERIENCE brands, ENGAGE with them and be ENABLED.

It starts by understanding our audience, their behaviors, aspirations and triggers. With the internet, people are highly informed and opinionated. They influence others and are influenced themselves. With the data at our disposal now, we can gain some real insights into the people we want to connect with. We have to get creative about how we use these insights, not just to create campaigns but how we bring people along a path to a point where they buy and then advocate a product or service. As Jean Lin (CEO of Isobar) puts it, we have to “choreograph every step in the customer journey”. The Fiat Live Store from Isobar Brazil is a great example of experience, engagement and enabling people to take the next step towards purchase. It won a 2014 Cannes Innovation Gold Lion.

Brands need to provide experiences that are authentic and relevant. Every step from awareness to purchase and beyond is an experience that can be positive or negative. Technology has transformed how we communicate with each other and it has become the same with consumers and brands. Luckily we are at a point where technological maturity is allowing us to fulfill the ambitions that we had a few years ago but seemed impossible. We are seeing a convergence of physical and digital worlds. Online to offline and the reverse. As things to continue to advance we will see new exciting ways for brands to provide new experiences, ways to engage and increase enablement. Domino’s has been exploring new ways to make ordering a pizza more easily and seamlessly. As reported on the Verge website, “We live in an age of convenience, but it’s highly possible no company takes that more seriously than Domino’s. In addition to being able to order a pizza via voice commands, on your Android Wear or Pebble smartwatch, and even through Ford SYNC, you can now use your TV to get a pie delivered directly to you. Domino’s will now let you order a pizza from your Samsung Smart TV, a true revelation in the pizza-ordering ecosystem.

Samsung_SmartTVAgencies have to constantly question their relevance to clients. With some clients taking matters into their own hands an agency has to provide something the client can’t find on his own. Unilever is looking beyond the traditional network of agencies for the next big . The Unilever Foundry enables “innovative startups that are ready to scale up to partner with Unilever and its 400 brands in over 190 countries. The playing field is open. It’s up to agencies to push themselves beyond traditional ways of reaching customers”.


Forsman and Bodenfors are known for doing things first and their recent campaign for Åhléns, Sweden’s largest chain of department stores, is a great example. As reported by Contagious, they “wanted to raise awareness about its wide range of sustainable products, from kitchen wares to decorative furnishings. Working with Forsman & Bodenfors, Stockholm, the retailer kitted out an entire apartment with its Bra val (‘Good choice’) sustainable collection and then put the Stockholm flat up for rent on Airbnb. In November 2014, guests could book a night’s stay and try out the sustainable products”. You can watch the case video here. A future Cannes winner no doubt.

From the first step to the last mile, we need to think more about brand experiences, engaging with people and enabling them by constantly innovating how we think and execute work for clients. It’s much bigger and smaller than purely thinking about campaigns. It’s every way the brand speaks, acts and reacts.




Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Posted in Agencies, Brands, Creative, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Better and Faster

Jeremy Gutsche, CEO of Trend Hunter, has an inspiring new book called Better and Faster. To quote Guy Kawasaki, Former Chief Evangelist of Apple, the book will “teach you neurological habits that can accelerate your success and make you into a fire-breathing, game-changing innovator of epic proportions”.  You can download the first chapter for free by sharing a tweet. Details on this page.

In this first chapter we learn how many people fall into the same old patterns of behavior that are instinctive to the farmer mentality. This is how the human race evolved after first being hunters. Yet in todays rapidly changing business world we need to reignite the hunter instinct to stay ahead. Jeremy Gutsche talks about the three hunter instincts being insatiability, curiosity and the willingness to destroy.

Meanwhile, enjoy the top 20 trends predicted by Trend Hunter at the start of this year. Probably some of them are already yesterday’s news!

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Posted in Creative, People, Technology | Tagged , | Leave a comment


It’s hard work judging awards but very inspiring too. Was lucky enough to be judging the AME AWARDS this year and saw a lot of cool work. Of course there was also a lot I’d already seen in previous festivals. Like a bad smell, the more successful projects hang around for a long time.

Here are some of my favorites from AME

AID COUTURE – Platinum award
“An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, leaving thousands of casualties. Each year, the Philippine National Red Cross receives 18 tons of donated clothes. A good number of these are fashionable pieces that are not appropriate for everyday wear of calamity victims. In the aftermath of a typhoon, when the hot sun is up again, leather jackets and long gowns are of no practical use to the intended recipients of this donation. What they need are food and daily essentials that will help with their survival needs. Check out the video and see how Leo Burnett Manila convert fashion to food, water and medicine”

Jaguar British Villains – Platinum award
“How does an iconic yet misunderstood luxury car company reignite its mojo and win back the hearts and minds of US drivers? By casting its newest sports car as a Villain, of course. Jaguar’s “British Villains” campaign played off the insight that the best Hollywood Villains are played by Brits, and introduced Jaguar as the newest British Villain. An integrated campaign touted the idea that it’s #GoodToBeBad and encouraged audiences to embrace their dark sides”

Coca Cola Mini kiosk – Gold award
“To launch the new Coca-Cola mini can in Germany, we created the Coca-Cola mini kiosk. A fully functional, normal looking kiosk with vendor – just in mini version. Combined with a small Coke vending machine, it appeared spontaneously around different cities. The mini kiosk sold a series of miniature products, but first and foremost the 0.15L mini can”.

Art of OLDTOWN – Gold award
“THE ART OF OLDTOWN As proprietors of the original white coffee recipe, OLDTOWN White Coffee took ownership of the one place no other white coffee brand could – Old Town in Ipoh, the birthplace of white coffee. A collaboration with street artist Ernest Zacharevic and the Ipoh tourism board saw OLDTOWN transform Ipoh Old Town with 7 unique murals. We turned art tourism into a medium, and spread our brand story with every piece of PR coverage and social media sharing. Best of all, we created permanent fixtures associated with OLDTOWN White Coffee that will live long beyond the campaign period”.

Suntory 3D on the Rocks – Silver award
“Whisky is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the world. However, whisky fans are getting older as time passes, while younger generations see it as an out-of-date, boring drink. Our challenge was to attract younger drinkers and once again to create the golden age of whisky. We designed a service at the bar which users can enjoy whisky with ice cubes created in their desired shape with use of the state-of-the-art 3D technology. In addition, we designed a system that uploads ice cubes selected by users to the web gallery”.

Google Maps Urban Escape Plan – Silver award
“Google Maps is known by the majority of Germans. Most people use the product to get from A to B, but they are not really aware of the fact that Google Maps can also help you explore new places near and far away. In order to make people re-discover Google Maps, we decided to focus on a unique proposition: inspiration as part of navigation. In Summer 2014, after a long winter, we set out to help German urbanites find what they really needed the most: a bit of green. But not any bit of green. A new bit of green. We wanted people to explore their environment and visit places, where they have never been before – nearby green treasures accessible within a short walk or bike-ride. That is why we created the „urban escape plan“: The world’s first hyper-localized, nationwide exploration campaign”.

Congratulations to all the winners (which you can view here). This may not be Cannes but since this festival is about effectiveness it means that you are faced with a load of scam work that boosts the agency’s ego but does nothing for their clients’ sales. Looking through all the entries there are definitely some major trends. We are in an era of brand experiences now. I hear a lot of talk about “storytelling” but that seems like a bit simplistic and patronizing. People want meaningful experiences that change their attitudes towards a brand. Better still, engaging experiences that lead to purchase. After all, if our clients don’t sell they won’t pay us and we can’t enter awards any more. That’s the circle of life. Hakuna matata.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Posted in Agencies, Brands, Creative, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Air rage

Interesting idea from Air France to get people to battle it out for a free business class upgrade. Adding a little more stress to your boarding experience. Via Digitalbuzzblog

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Posted in Brands, Technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment