June 28, 2015

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.

January 29, 2010

iPad hearts Gifs

oclzjWithin minutes of the iPad announcement from Apple, the blogs and Twittersphere lit up with complaints about what it lacked rather than what it offered. No camera, multi-tasking etc. One of the biggest gripes (even from Adobe itself) is the continued lack of support for Flash. The iPad isn’t the ultimate web surfing experience if you don’t have access to all those amazing Flash websites, videos and (dare I say it?) banners.

Of course, with all Flash banners you are expected to provide a gif backup just in case the user has no Flash plugin. Now those poor, neglected gifs will be taking centre stage on the iPad.

felixwalkLet’s take a little walk back in time to the early days of the web when 12k gif banners were all you had to play with. To steal from a blog post by Valerie Potter of Computerworld.com “the venerable GIF89a image format, released by CompuServe in 1989, allowed you to store multiple images in the same file; the images being displayed one after another, like a flipbook. It’s was great format for simple animations. Animated GIFs were immensely popular in the Web’s early years. They were quick to load (which was of paramount importance when most people were using dial-up), often silly and usually lots of fun”. The Dole gif banner at the top was not an example of how gifs usually looked – 928k not being the norm.

coffeeSo here’s the challenge to digital creatives everywhere. Don’t forget the humble gif after spending hours making the coolest Flash banner. Your gif may not be a direct translation of your Flash banner either because it probably won’t work. Think about the limitations of the gif animation and adapt your concept accordingly. Hey, you may even surprise yourself and come up with something like this from Almap BBDO in brazil. Their Coffee Piloa banner was deceptively simple and won a Gold Lions at Cannes. It shows milk continually pouring into a cup of black coffee, but the coffee never changes colour. The message? This is strong coffee.

So maybe the gif is going to have a comeback! Your younger interactive designer may not even have heard of them and will laugh like kids seeing a vinyl record. But sometimes you can do an awful lot with just very little. The only downside? Perhaps only those using the iPad will get to see the result.