April 9, 2015

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”.

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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.

 

 

 

March 18, 2015

AME AWARD WINNERS

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.

January 30, 2015

Stalker advertising?

This interactive billboard created by M&C Saatchi Australia updates itself automatically to deliver personalized messages to drivers.

M&C Saatchi Executive Creative Director Ben Welsh called the smart billboards “direct messaging on steroids”.

“It’s quite epic to have a 42 square metre billboard having a chat to you as you drive past. It was an ambitious idea that Lexus really went for, brilliantly brought to life by APN Outdoor and TMS.”

Very clever use of image recognition technology to capture the attention of people used to the same old billboards.

Read the full story here >

January 18, 2015

Cardboard driving

With Oculus Rift being still expensive and better suited for events we will be seeing a lot more uses of Google Cardboard to deliver engaging virtual reality experiences. R/GA and auto brand Volvo recently created a virtual reality experience using this low-cost VR head-set to maximise excitement and interest in the new XC90 before it hit the dealerships. The experience takes users on a virtual test drive through scenic countryside, with different episodes featuring different locations and weather conditions. A limited number of branded Cardboard headsets were given away via the campaign website. Fans also had the option of buying and building their own Google headset. Once assembled, users slide their smartphone into the viewer of the headset before starting the app, which works on both iOS and Android. (via Contagious)

December 16, 2014

I spy cash

I’ve seen a few amazing gigapixel photos over the past couple of years but thought this was an interesting way to turn it into a marketing game. As reported by Contagious, “Australian financial institution CommBank has created a multi-platform game challenging customers to find wallets hidden in a giant interactive photograph of Sydney in exchange for real cash. Where’s My Wallet?, developed with M&C Saatchi Sydney, used a 125 gigapixel photo of the city, the largest panoramic photo ever to be taken in Australia. Players had to navigate around the 360 degree shot to find the wallets, each worth AU$200 (US$165) cash”. All of this was to promote a new service that allows people to withdraw cash from ATMs even when they forgot their wallets.

October 8, 2014

GO CLIO!

No, this isn’t about the popular French compact car that was available as a crazy V6 version. It’s the CLIO awards that were recently announced along with a special speech from Jerry Seineld who basically said that what we do is meaningless. Yes Jerry, we already knew that.

Rather than focus on the big winners we’ve already seen soaking up the glory at Cannes and elsewhere, I want to look at some of the lesser known projects.

Red Urban in Toronto won bronze for this inspiring website that tells the story of a VW Beetle that went around the world several times. Everyone talks about storytelling these days. But if you find a compelling story and tell it beautifully it can be really touching.

OK, this next one won gold but not enough noise has been made about this. The Beats Music app from R/GA shows how human technology can be. With curated suggestions and questions to gauge your mood they are able to give you playlists that match who you are. Let’s see what Apple will do with this now they’ve made Dre the richest gangsta on earth.

Having a terrible president (again) and being the sick man of Europe seems to be sparking a lot of creativity in France. We’ve seen a lot of award winning work this year from les Francais. Here is a lesser known project for SNCF from TBWA that picked up a bronze CLIO. To recruit new engineers they challenged potential candidates with an impossible game. OK, so they only ended up hiring 10 people. But they were geniuses!!

Here is one last one from the Innovative Media category. While adamandeveDDB earned lots of buzz for their Harvey Nichols work this year they’ve done some other great projects too. This one for Google brought passionate soccer fans from around the world to a live football match thanks to the power of Google +

So don’t just check out the grand prix and gold winners. There are some interesting nuggets to be found in the lesser metals and shortlists.

Check out all the 2014 CLIO winners here

September 14, 2014

Simple stupid

Every day I see super complicated campaigns that require people to jump through loops to participate. That’s why this one is so stupidly simple and brilliant.

To quote Creative Review, “Forsman & Bodenfors created a series of Instagram films for Swedish homecare brand Åhléns, which all featured Åhléns products zipping past at high speed. Viewers were then challenged to take screenshots from the films, and snap one of the products. If they achieved this, and posted it on Instagram, they could then purchase the product for half price”.

Enough said.

June 28, 2014

Cannes wrap-up

So another year comes and goes. Dashed hopes or dreams fulfilled. Many beers drunk and backs slapped. I wasn’t there to witness it this year but I know how it goes. Now we have another pride of Lions to show us what it takes to be a winner in this business we (used to) call advertising. Let’s look at some of the big winners…

Harvey Nichols stole the show this year with a campaign that bucked the trend for tear inducing Christmas campaigns. For the past few years John Lewis has dominated Christmas in the UK with soppy commercials that tap into the sentimentality of the season. This time Harvey Nichols said what everyone was really thinking – that people would rather spend the money on themselves. This picked up Grand Prix in Film, Promo, Press and Titanium to name just a few. Well done DDB Adam&Eve UK.

Another campaign that made me smile this year was for Newcastle Brown Ale. They decided to hijack the Superbowl with a slice of British humor and underdog attitude. The campaign they would have made, from Droga 5 NY, won a Cyber Gold.

Next is a project where most creative people would have said “trucks? not sexy!”. But the team at Forsman & Bodenfors in Sweden decided to go all out and the result was spectacular. Next time you are given a brief for a product you think is boring look at this case video. It won a Cyber Grand Prix along with gold in Titanium, Promo, PR and Direct.

Sometimes, when technology is invisible it feels like magic. That’s the case with this project for British Airways by OgilvyOne London. It’s a billboard that points out BA flights in a surprising way. It won a Direct Grand Prix along with gold in Media, Cyber and Outdoor.

From something beautiful let’s look at something ugly. There were a lot of award winning projects from France this year but this one stood out for me by using humor to tackle a real problem. So much fruit and vegetable gets thrown away by producers because it is ugly. What a waste. This project from Marcel Paris won a Direct Gold.

There are loads more award winners to choose from, whether it’s the 24 hours of Happy from Pharrell or The Sound of Honda. But I thought that I’d end with something totally and brilliantly stupid. Why advertise when you can get your competitors to do it for you? An win a Promo Gold along the way.

May 14, 2014

New York Festivals Shine

As a judge during this year’s New York Festivals I had the pleasure (and the pain) to see all the shortlisted entries. So seeing which projects won doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Below are some of my own favorites from the winners.

Nike SB APP – R/GA

Digital: First Prize

Until now Nike apps have focused mainly on running, fitness training and soccer but in 2013 (to quote the R/GA case study) they collaborated with pro riders to create never-before-seen digital skate experiences. It changed the way skaters participated in the world’s biggest action sport.

The Nike SB App helps skaters progress in their sport, connect with their peers and pro riders, and earn respect for one another with features like video posting and challenges, and building their personal skate history.

The app features a multi-angle video learning system, letting users watch trick videos from multiple directions. They can go head-to-head in virtual games of S.K.A.T.E. and get exclusive access to live-streamed Nike Pro events.

To launch the app, 28 of the world’s best skaters were brought together for 24 hours and challenged to complete all 616 tricks in the Trick Tree while the world watched live on YouTube.

GEOX. 7 Days of Rain – SMFB with Media Monks

Digital: First prize

We’ve seen some beautiful work from Geox in the past couple of years. This time, to promote the FW 13 Amphibiox collection (a waterproof line produced by Geox), the agency decided to get quirky by getting one man live for 7 days under a man-made cloud.

LOWE’S Vine Fix in Six – BBDO

Digital: Second Prize

Lowe’s is the second largest home improvement retailer in the world and they’re in the business of providing “how to” tips. When the agency saw Vine, they saw an opportunity.

To quote the agency, “in the first campaign of its kind, we used Vine as a way to bring useful home improvement tips to life. Using stop-motion animation techniques, we created over 50 six-second films that were as entertaining as they were useful. We called it Lowe’s Fix in Six”.

The campaign was recognized by the press and users alike for bringing meaning to a platform often associated with trivial curiosities, rather than compelling content.

Perrier Secret Place – Fighting Fish

Digital: Second Prize

Amazing project with extremely high production values. To quote the agency, “PerrierSecretPlace is a digital experience designed to enable people to party in a way they never could before, but have always dreamed about. It’s the first interactive film that puts you in the shoes of a guest at a very special party, where they live their craziest fantasies. To do so, all characters that you see on screen are clickable”.

By playing their role, you can live their fantasy. Choose among 60 lives, and as many fantasies as you want. There are almost 10,000 different ways to experience this party, conceived with a real movie studio production for 18 months. To give users the opportunity to continue the party in real life, there’s a hidden a secret Perrier bottle somewhere in the party. If found, it could give the user a chance to win an exclusive invitation and go to one of the craziest parties all around the world.

Volvo Trucks Live Test Series – Forsman & Bodenfors

Integrated: First Prize

Everyone knows the Van Damme video stunt. But the whole campaign was amazing. According the agency’s website, “the creative idea was to carry out extreme tests of relevant product features, in a live set up, where the outcome could never be guaranteed. In this way we could thrill and engage the widest possible audience while still providing a valid demonstration of the new truck. If our live test films could evoke enough interest, then we might be able to get all the way through to the purchasers”.

No doubt we’ll be seeing many of these project in upcoming award shows. Great work always rises above.

March 14, 2014

Slurp!

It’s the season for scams in the run up to Cannes. I usually hate them but this one made me laugh.

To quote Adweek, “To encourage moviegoers to stay quiet during a film, Saatchi Denmark filmed audience members milling around the lobby sipping soda through straws and pulling stupid faces, then quickly edited the footage into the background of a fake movie trailer. In the middle of the supposed preview, viewers suddenly saw themselves on the screen, ruining a perfectly cheesy sex scene with their odd expressions and obnoxious slurping sounds”.