August 27, 2010

Effies down under

The Australian Effie Awards ceremony last night revealed some great winners. Even though we live in a connected world too often we focus on great work coming out of the USA or Europe. There is some amazing work being done in countries like Australia or in Asia. So let’s take a look at some of the Effie winners.

I really liked this gold winner from Naked Communications and Frank PR where they encouraged people to pressure Richard Branson into giving community radio station FBi a million dollars. FBi Radio is an iconic, independent, Australian radio station based in Sydney. The financial crisis forced the station to the brink of closure. They needed over $500,000 to save the station, they had a $0.00 budget. Richard Branson had nothing to do with the station. He was just one rich person that the agency felt would appreciate the humour of being targeted this way. Branson became aware of the campaign, and Twittered to say he’d be calling in. Live on air he donated a massive prize pool, and his involvement generated more PR and social media activity. Check out the case video here.

Another gold winner from DDB Sydney was for McDonald’s Australia and Ronald McDonald House Charities. They needed to find a big idea for McHappy Day that would cut through charity fatigue so they developed a powerful message that all children, especially seriously ill ones, had the right to happiness. This helped them create a campaign where people felt they were contributing to the emotional well-being of sick children rather than just donating money. With a TVC, campaign website, digital in-store and packaging they were able to break the record for previous years with over AU$2 million donated. An amazing result.

Check out all the winners here.

August 26, 2010

Tom Dot Com

I while back I started a series profiling some of digital industry’s greats. My first profile was Lars Bastholm, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy New York. This time around I want to take a look at Tom Eslinger – Worldwide Interactive Creative Director at Saatchi and Saatchi.

What does a WW Interactive Creative Director do exactly? According to the Saatchi website “Tom spearheads Saatchi & Saatchi’s fast-growing worldwide interactive capability. He works from New Zealand and London with both a worldwide focus across network clients for interactive creative, strategy and operations, and a London focus with respect to UK and European clients to develop interactive and mobile initiatives and programs”.

Or in his own words: “I spend my day looking for opportunities to connect agency creation, media, planning and account management, with interactivity and keep it as close to the centre of the process as possible. I make way for great ideas to get made and I work on ideas for our clients around the world. I mentor and learn everyday. I celebrate our successes and make sure we learn from our defeats. I’m building teams around the world, so I keep track of talent and try to seduce the good ones to come over to our side. I think I’ve got the best job in the world and I remind myself everyday”.

Let’s take a look at how he got where he is today…

Originally from North Dakota, in May 1990 Tom graduated Minneapolis College of Art and Design with his thesis project: an interactive catalogue for clothing company The Gap. One of his professor’s there, Hazel Gamec, had set up a design school in Wanganui New Zealand and asked Tom to go there to teach. While there he co-developed the Wanganui Polytechnique design degree course, the Design Survival Camp student conference and worked on a CD-ROM (remember those?) project for Charles Spencer Anderson Design that won awards from Communication Arts magazine and Type Directors’ Club (USA). After moving from the academic world to the commercial one in 1995 it was not long until he found himself at Saatchi & Saatchi Interactive as an art director. A year later he was Creative Director and developed projects for Telecom New Zealand, New Zealand Rugby Union and Adidas. At the same time he was a contributing typeface designer to RayGun magazine (USA) 1994-96.

He also created the font BEAST, used for the Swatch International Halloween campaign (1999). It wouldn’t be long until he would be snatched from his beloved adopted home of New Zealand to move to London culminating in his current position as WW Interactive Creative Director.

He’s been a judge at Cannes 3 times and was the Cyber Lions jury president in 2007. Tom is a multiple Cannes Lion winner himself, most recently taking Gold in 2006 for online and mobile innovation with Rubbish Film Festival and receiving 4 Shortlists at Cannes in 2007 across Cyber and Titanium. In 2009 the standout win was for the T-Mobile Dance viral video/TV ad winning Gold in Direct, a Gold and Bronze in Film, Silver in Media, Silver in the Cyber and Bronze in the Titanium category. While Tom isn’t credited he no doubt played a role in making the project.

He remains quite an elusive guy and it’s hard to find out alot about him. We know that Tom lives in London (and as much time in New Zealand as possible), haunting local comic shops and snowfields, snowboard under arm. This interview with Tom for the 2010 Comic Con shows his passion for world of graphic art and scifi.

Some other interesting glimpses into the mind of Tom can be found in this interview on the MobiThinking website where he shares his views about mobile marketing. In AdAge, prior to the Cannes Lions, he gave his views about what he thought would do well in 2010.

But in the end it is the work he helps bring to the world that shows what kind of creative leader he is. This project for UK charity Childline was created to let young people know they can now express how they are feeling online as well as by phone. Their idea was to use music and words so they created a fully interactive campaign based around mash-ups. They got world famous musician Paul Hartnoll from Orbital to collaborate with hot digital film director Dennis Lui. Together they recorded real kids expressing themselves with just a single word or sound. From this Paul created a unique music track. Dennis then projected the track with accompanying images on an urban landscape. The footage was also turned into an ad. The ad drove kids to a website where they could create their very own mash-up and enter it into a competition where the winning entry would become a real TV ad. See the case below…

My next victim will be Michael Lebowitz of Big Spaceship. Unless I hear from his lawyer.

August 23, 2010

Gaming can make a better world

Fascinating TED presentation by Jane McGonigal where she explores the use of game mechanics to solve real world problems:

“In the best-designed games, our human experience is optimized: We have important work to do, we’re surrounded by potential collaborators, and we learn quickly and in a low-risk environment. In her work as a game designer, she creates games that use mobile and digital technologies to turn everyday spaces into playing fields, and everyday people into teammates. Her game-world insights can explain — and improve — the way we learn, work, solve problems, and lead our real lives.”

via Game My Brand

How to make good (digital) campaigns…

In David Ogilvy’s book “Confessions of an Advertising Man” he points out that there are real specific factors to consider when it comes to advertising in certain categories. Online, things are no different. You can’t apply a cookie cutter approach to any product but need to understand the category and what people might expect from that kind of product in the digital space. Is it a high or low involvement product? Is the target audience of that product web savvy enough for complex campaigns? As part of my series updating Ogilvy’s book for the 21st century let’s take a look at the 3 categories he covered…


David Ogilvy’s tips were specific for print and TV, with suggestions for art direction and copywriting to bring out the best aspects of the product. In digital it is much more about building a preference for the product by enhancing the brand with useful or entertaining content, real facts that answer people’s burning questions or simply bring the product personality to life.

The recent Domino Pizza turnaround campaign was a great example of answering the questions people were asking. Questions about product quality & taste and responding the negativity around the infamous YouTube video of Domino staff messing with the food. Of course it is risky being so open as you will see on their campaign page. Not every customer comment coming in via Twitter is positive. They get quickly deleted of course.

At the other end of the spectrum you’ve got the pure branded entertainment of Doritos and the Asylum626 campaign. After the succes of the Hotel 626 campaign, Doritos continued the experience with the Asylum 626. Created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and produced by B-Reel, the new website was just as scary and was divided into stages where you had goals to meet and puzzles to unravel. You could interact via microphones and webcams to live the experience more realistically and the integration with Facebook and Twitter was a good addition. With scenes that had horror movie-style quick cuts the game managed to scare even the toughest players.


In “Confessions of an Advertising Man”, Ogilvy says that ads for tourism should “convert dreams into action – transforming potential energy into kinetic energy”. This is still true in digital with the best online tourism campaigns truly engaging with the viewer so they already become virtually involved with the destination… a first step towards actually going there. The Queensland Tourism “Best job in the world” campaign is the obvious example of how successful you can be in this category online. But let’s look at some less well-known examples:

The Webby Award winner Snapshots of Provence is an experimental website for the local tourist board which you can navigate two ways. Pick pictures on the left to visit by regions which includes small video clips or use the wheel on the right for an alternate navigation. This comprehensive sound and visual experience is an excerpt from the travel book of photographer Thomas Duval and sound designer Tacteel and produced by UZIK. An immersive experience like this really can talk to the dreamer in everyone and make them want to start planning a trip.

This next example may not be a tourist destination but it’s more about how you get there. Virgin Atlantic Upper Class was promoted online with this amusing Cannes award winning campaign that played on people’s fear of flying. Travelers on other airlines may suffer from a fear of flying, but someone who has flown Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class and experienced their unprecedented level of pampering may suffer from something much worse: The fear of not flying Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class.

Check out one of the banners here.


When it comes to advertising pharmaceutical products Ogilvy was spot on when he wrote that it must be serious, authoritative and educational. This first example ticks all those boxes. A People’s Choice Webby Award winner by RAPP, this website promoted the first FDA-approved, over-the-counter weight-loss pill. The agency designed a site for people interested in understanding how to use the new drug, called ‘alli.’ Information and tools were provided to offer patients an alternative to current over-the-counter weight-loss options. Content/tools on the consumer sites included a BMI calculator and a readiness quiz. A ‘Commitment Letter’ feature enabled people to share past diet experiences. More than 1.5 million unique visitors logged on during the first four months.

Of course there are always times when you want to turn conventions upside down. You can be serious about incontinence or make fun of it by getting Whoopi Goldberg to be the front woman. As part of a large print and television advertising campaign for Poise, the adult diapers produced by Kimberly-Clark, Goldberg played the parts of several historical and mythical women, suggesting that light bladder leakage may have been a problem for Mona Lisa, the Statue of Liberty, Eve, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, Helen of Troy etc. The films, a montage of which featured during the 2010 Oscars, also formed the heart of a dedicated website which provided a platform for women to learn about the problem and not to feel so alone.

So maybe there are no fixed rules today for advertising online. As long as you understand whom you are talking to and find an idea that connects with them then you’ve got a great chance of your campaign making a difference.

August 18, 2010

How stuff goes viral

Jonah Peretti, the guy behind New York start-up BuzzFeed, put together this presentation on how web content goes viral. According to Jonah the key to success is taking advantage and successful tapping the BWN – that’s the Bored at Work Network. They are the millions and millions of us who sit behind our screens, tweeting, blogging and generally sharing all kinds of stuff we stumble across. While we should be working! via the Wall Blog UK.

August 11, 2010

Are you post-digital?

I posted a previous version of this presentation in April but this new updated version presented by Gareth Kay this week is even better. To sum up, our agency briefs need to change now we live in a post-digital world…

View more presentations from Gareth Kay.

Smells like great response

If you have not seen this already, this case study video from Wieden + Kennedy shows how they took a successful TV campaign and made it even bigger through social media…

The results have been pretty amazing:

  • On day 1 the campaign received almost 6 million views
    (more than Obama’s victory speech)
  • On day 2 old spice had 8 of the 11 most popular videos online
  • On day 3 the campaign had reached over 20 million views
  • After the first week old spice had over 40 million views
  • Old Spice Twitter following increased 2700%
  • Facebook fan interaction was up 800%
  • website traffic was up 300%
  • The old spice YouTube channel became the all time most viewed channel
  • The campaign has generated 1.4 billion impressions since launching the ads 6 months ago
  • The campaign increased sales by 27% over 6 months since launching (year on year)
  • In the last 3 months sales were up 55%
  • During the social media Responses campaign sales were up 107%
  • Old spice is now the #1 body wash brand for men
August 8, 2010

Week of Tweets #16 (the lazy edition)

I noticed that my last summary of my best tweets was exactly a month ago. Well I was on holiday then off work sick so I have some excuses. Now I have a month of tweets to choose from but they were thin on the ground. Enough dithering… let’s get on with it already!

Avant garde or deja vu? RT @chiatdaynight RT @jbhester: Madison Avenue’s World of Tomorrow

  • The Media Kitchen agency and Popular Science opened the Test Kitchen, a living room of sorts where employees can test the latest technology. Is this big enough news to appear on the NY Times? Probably not… they just have great PR people. Ogilvy have had Digital Labs for years and other agencies no doubt have done the same. I do like the idea of making it look like a living room though. Slippers anyone?

RT @LarryTolpin: ‘What Makes A Good Creative Director?’ – via @BHHLabs –

  • Great article by Felix Unger on the Design Taxi blog. Those of us who’ve held that title for a while could do with a reality check from time to time to see if we are really living up to the expectations of the CD role (and not just cruising). Topics include: The creative director should produce work (not just post-it scribbles), should know every creative brief intimately, should be a shepherd and more…

Amazing. RT @simonmainwaring: crazy and inspiring new devices coming out of MIT give a hint of what might be possible.

  • I’ve always been a bit of a geek when it comes to future technologies.  This article shows what kind of tech we could be using everyday in the near future.

Reading NYTimes: Will Zynga Become the Google of Games?

  • Casual gaming has been buzz word for some time. But with Farmville and social networks it truly exploded. This article shows where it could go next.

Great post on the evolution of digital. RT @edwardboches: Digital ideas, platforms and eco-systems:

  • “For years, digital agencies have strived to distinguish themselves from traditional advertising agencies that practice digital with the claim that they build platforms – applications and utility that delivery functionality and integrate into people’s lives – while ad agencies come up with digital gimmicks”. Read on

Great read! RT @digicynic: A new (controversial?) blog post: How to sell better work. What’s your inspiration strategy?

  • A must read article by Jerome Courtial that covers such topics as: refiningwhat the account team stands for, integrating innovation specialists into the day to day of client servicing, being creative to get more client face time and more…

Movie trailer for horror movie with your Facebook friends. “Lost in Val Sinestra” Brilliantly done: via @daanvanrossum

How they shine so bright..RT @AdHack: Pixar’s tips for creative success – mastery, depth, communication, collaboration:

Amazing work… Future vision: Augmented City – Keiichi Matsuda’s 3D vision.

  • Unfortunately you need some old-fashioned green and red glasses to enjoy this properly…

and finally…

Love it! RT @ChristianHughes: Great fake vintage ads for Facebook, YouTube and Skype – (via @Betapond Blog)

  • I’ve seen a few of these things floating around the web. Are people yearning for simpler times?