May 16, 2017

Clicking for gold

The awards season is kicking off again and one of my favourite award festivals has announced the winners for 2017. Let’s look at some of the gold recipients from The One Show…

I’m sure that I have featured this as it won big last year at Cannes. It was probably not eligible for last year’s One Show which is why it’s still picking up gold in 2017. It’s great to see Virtual Reality done differently. No headsets in sight. Just a bunch of excited school children having a collective experience thanks to the power of digital. Created by McCann New York + Framestore for Lockheed Martin, this also won Best of Interactive. It’s always great to hear the stories behind brilliant campaigns so check out this article from 2016 in Adweek.

Education seems to be the trend for award judges, judging by this next gold from Hello Monday for National Geographic. Incredible footage allows anyone to experience life as a bear in Yellowstone park. You can see the case video here. Below is a description of the project from the agency…

“Working with National Geographic’s team of editors, journalists, producers, and researchers, we’ve gathered this incredible footage into an engaging online narrative focused on the distinct paths that each bear roamed. Utilizing the geo-coordinate data captured with every 20-seconds of footage, we’re able to pinpoint the bears to the exact geography of Yellowstone. Combined with expert analysis from researchers Kerry Gunther and Nate Bowers, delivered as intermittent audio captions, we gain a deeper understanding of the bears’ activity as uncovered by the POV footage and their unique characteristics. And, of course, Hello Monday couldn’t resist adding the extra hand-touch with watercolor illustrations and pencil-drawn portraits depicting the beautiful, mysterious life of each bear.”

All the other gold winners went to gaming projects. The first is for TBWA\Chiat Day and their Gatorade Match Point game with Serena Williams. Released just in time for last year’s US Open, this  Snapchat game honoured the amazing legacy of Serena Williams. Titled Serena Match Point, the 8-bit game was available on ESPN’s Snapchat Discover channel, and featured 22 levels — one for each of the record-tying 22 Grand Slams that Williams has won. The game let users play as Williams against a range of different opponents, and featured simple controls. You just needed to tap one of three on-screen tennis balls to serve, and tap left or right to return the opponent’s shots. If you missed three shots in a row, you go back to the beginning of Williams’ career.

You can try playing the game by clicking this link.

Next is a project that uses gaming for a good cause. Sea Hero Quest by Saatchi & Saatchi for client Deutsche Telekom.

The game has been played by over 3 million people and has become largest dementia study in history. Sea Hero Quest, a collaboration between Alzheimer’s Research UK, Deutsche Telekom, game designers Glitchers and scientists, has generated the equivalent of 9,400 years of lab-based research since its launch in May 2016.

Experts hope to use the data to create the world’s first global benchmark for spatial navigation, one of the first abilities affected by dementia, and to develop the game into an early diagnostic test for the disease.

Finally, in these dark times we live in it’s fun to imaging the end of the world as we know it. This project for Ubisoft by BETC Digital Paris does just that.

The full story behind the campaign can be read here. But if you are too lazy to read it all, in summary “this choose-your-own-adventure style online experience, darkly dubbed an “end of society simulator,” plays on our secret desire to learn the answer to the question, “Will I survive the crisis that extinguishes 99 percent of humanity? ‘Collapse’ plunges you directly into the action. It kicks off with a creepy message: “You have been infected with an unknown breed of smallpox. You are patient zero. Because of you, a worldwide pandemic is about to start. Based on real data, discover how long it takes for our world to collapse.”

Fun for all the family.

November 10, 2015

Judge, jury and executioners – inside an advertising festival jury room

jury

It’s over, three intense days locked up in a room looking at work submitted for the One Show China Festival and trying to choose the best examples of creativity from agencies across Greater China. Of course it’s an honor to be selected but it is very tiring, especially as you still have to keep up with your day job in between the judging. It all starts on the first day as the judges from different agencies arrive in the room. Some you’ve met before over the years and you wonder if you’re looking as old or tired as they are now. Others you’ve never seen before so you try to guess where they work by their clothes. No doubt the guy dressed as a fashion pirate works at the latest cool boutique agency. It’s a melting pot of designer glasses and designer haircuts as the “rock stars” of advertising take their seats. After the greetings and the sizing up of each other there is a welcome speech from the organizer. Then the fun begins. The lights dim and you’re facing hours of looking at videos that will hopefully inspire you but might possibly make you want to change career.

Every judge in the room has the power to make the work submitted a winner or face instant death. As you put your vote into the system via an iPad mini you desperately hope that the next project is going to be better than what you’ve just seen. You try to be generous then remember that the ultimate winners will reflect you as judges just as much as the agency that submitted it. What’s interesting is how repetitive the work is. You can immediately spot the projects inspired by previous winners at international awards. China is known for copying bags, cars and fashion. It goes the same for advertising campaigns. A clone of Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches – check! A Dumb Ways to Die rip off along with cute song – check! To be fair China isn’t alone when it comes to copying successful campaigns. One thing that seems unique however is the need for Chinese advertising campaigns to make the viewer cry. If I had to give awards for the number of tears shed in an online video there would be a global trophy shortage. Tragedy sells here, as does melancholy, yearning, self-sacrifice and utter sadness. If you are too happy then shame on you. Let’s turn that smile into a guilty frown. No matter if the product is soft drinks, USD sticks, infant milk formula, cars or insurance – leave them crying and it seems that brands will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Enough of the ranting. Emotion sells in China and if I don’t like it then I should go work somewhere else. It just gets a bit monotonous after watching TV ads and viral videos for 8 hours that tug the heartstrings so hard. I even felt myself tearing up at one point during a video from a fizzy drink brand about a daughter living far from her parents. Too close to the bone! But I shook it off like Taylor Swift and switched on my cold cynical mode. As a judge you’ve got to look at how original the idea is. How much it taps into a real insight and understands the target audience. You look at the craft that has gone into the work. Art direction, music or sound design, video editing, typography etc. China has a long history of beautiful craftsmanship and you see that coming through from time to time. Above all you have to ask yourself if you wished that your team had made this work. Does it make you jealous, full of admiration or left in total awe?

Hour after hour looking at case videos can be exhausting. You don’t want your attention to drift otherwise it isn’t fair to the people whose work you’re judging. Weeks or months of work have gone into every project. It’s what you do for a living so you know from experience the pain of giving birth to a great campaign then turning it into a brilliant case video. But in that darkened jury room you begin to get cabin fever. Soon you start to notice how the person next to you always smacks their lips annoyingly or breathes too loudly. Luckily the snack table is there as a welcome break. It too starts to be a distraction, calling out to you as the hours tick by, tempting you to walk over for one more cookie. Then before you realize it is all over.

After all the individual judging the most interesting part begins. This is where the work with the highest marks gets debated by the jury. We need to choose the best of the best. Award the gold, silver and bronze along with the best in show.

It starts with some friendly debating as each judge brings up a project that he or she believes either should or shouldn’t be in the shortlist. Quite often there is a real consensus but sometimes opinions clash. We go around the room to hear what everyone feels strongly about. Also, what the awards stand for and represents to the industry in China or further afield. Isn’t innovation more than just new technology but rather new thinking? Do we reward work that is beautifully crafted and ticks all the boxes or something that is anarchic and brave? One jury member points out that being safe is risky for clients today. In a digital era we have to recognize work that is game changing and captures the public’s attention in unconventional ways. The One Show Festival is meant to be the keeper of the creative flame as other award festivals become more and more corporate. China has changed so much in the past few years so the work that we award needs to reflect this. It’s a chance to show the world how creative China can be and inspire China’s next generation of advertising professionals.

The final judging takes place with everyone pressing their iPads to select the best in show. Even we don’t know which project won but we all have a good idea. We will all find out, just like the audience, at the award ceremony two days from now. We burst out into daylight, eyes blinking, feeling tired but inspired. Being a judge is a great reminder what we must aim for as an industry. We may not be saving the world but advertising can be as much a cultural force as any of the arts. It’s up to us to make what we do amazing, entertaining and innovative.

(First published on LinkedIn)

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.

February 24, 2012

Your best shot

Every agency is furiously working to finalize their award entry videos for Cannes. Recently Faris Yakob, chief innovation officer at MDC Partners, gave a presentation for the Clio Awards giving some tips on how to make awesome case study videos, from the POV of the judges. Inspiring stuff.

View more presentations from Faris Yakob
December 4, 2011

Euro rising

While things in the European economy are looking extremely dodgy the advertising awards season in Europe keeps rocking like there’s nothing wrong. This past week saw both the Epica and Eurobest awards. Let’s look at some of the highlights…

EPICA d’Or for Interactive went to Jung von Matt in Stockholm for the Mini Getaway. I recently met the guys from Monterosa, the mobile agency that the agency tasked to make this happen. So instead of showing the old video here is a new one about the next Mini Getaway in Tokyo (it’s in Japanese just to annoy you all).



There was a GOLD in the web category for Lowe Brindfors and thei Magnum Ice Cream “Pleasure Hunt”. The internet is a place where all kind of pleasures exists. They wanted to build a light-hearted story in which Magnums new ice cream came out as superior to everything else out there: Internet’s ultimate pleasure. The mechanic was inspired by something that has engaged and united people for decades: classic platform games. But this time with a totally different platform: the Internet. The user controlled a young woman literally running trough the Internet collecting the ingredients for her ultimate pleasure, the Magnum Temptation. Below is a making of video.


Another GOLD, this time for branded content in social networks went to Forsman & Bodenfors for the REEBOK Promise Keeper. It was the first online running application (website,
iPhone/iPad-app and Android app) that would actually get you out and run. Every run you
promised to make in your online calendar was automatically posted on the social network of your
choice and spread to all of your friends. They would also be notified about whether you ran or
not. Every update was personal and became a direct message that spawned conversation.
Everything was built on the insight that a promise to everyone you know is more important than a
promise only to yourself.


Let’s head over to the Eurobest Awards and see who triumphed there.
The Grand Prix went to Hypernaked for Nokia. In this joint promotion with Burton, Push Snowboarding introduced a new way of marketing. Rather than simply telling people about Nokia’s most powerful smartphone, they developed a piece of new technology to show people it’s power. Using the smartphone at the core, they developed technology that could take snowboarding to its next stage by developing wearable sensors that bluetoothed simultaneously to the N8, giving snowboarders live tracking of their ride: speed, airtime and even fear.


Gold went to Tribal DDB Amsterdam for their latest Philips Obsessed with Sound campaign. To demonstrate that Philips is ‘Obsessed with sound’ and claim that you can hear every detail with the brand’s audio products, they created a unique interactive music video. They collaborated with the Grammy Award-winning Metropole Orchestra and recorded a specially composed music piece entitled “I’m No Prototype”- in 55 separate music tracks. On the site, viewers could experience the music video as a whole, played by the entire orchestra, and were invited to single out each musician to hear every detail.

Another Gold went to SapientNitro London for Foot Locker
Sneakerpedia was not only the world’s largest sneaker archiving project and the first ever visual-wiki, it wasdigital solution specifically designed to connect sneaker fans, enabling them to share, discuss, follow and help shape future sneaker trends.


Not every great project wins Gold. A Silver went to FORSMAN & BODENFORS for AMF. They knew that pension savings was boring but the future was exciting to people. Also, if you got a sudden message from a company, you were not very interested but if you got a message from a friend, you usually were. By offering people to send messages to their friends or colleagues that couldn’t be opened by the recipient until the year 2030, both the sender and the recipients would start to think about how life will be 20 years from now. And with a rising interest for the future, they would eventually have a rising interest on their pension.

——

Maybe we should have an advertising Olympics. See which countries would come out on top in digital. From looking at these winners the Europeans would give the rest of the world a run for their money.

November 14, 2011

British Rule?

Who develops the best digital campaigns? America? Sweden? Japan? Who about Britain? Let’s take a look at the winners of the BIMA Awards (British Interactive Media Association) to see some amazing work coming out of Britain right now.
The Grand Prix went to AMV BBDO for the Who Killed Deon campaign for the Metropolitan Police. Their previous campaign was the highly awarded “Choose a different ending” interactive video. This one is just as powerful.

Winning the top prize in the Advertising category were Media Monks for their Desperados Experience YouTube takeover.

Profero took the top prize in the Automotive, Integrated & Outdoor/Installation categories (as well as being named agency of the year) for the MINI World Record Attempt. It’s a great example of a digital installation being used as the basis of a viral video/social campaign.

In the Consumer Goods and Services category AMV BBDO won the top prize for their Wrigley’s 5 Nightjar project. It’s a mobile game which places the player alone in space and challenges them to escape using only sound. People had to see with their ears.

See the full case video here

So, do the British hold their own against the best of the world? I think so.

For the full list of BIMA winners (but unfortunately no links) go here.

June 29, 2009

Awardzzzzzzzzzzz

osocio-hospital-health_thumbIf there is one thing more tiring than judging awards it’s going through the long list of winners. Maybe I’ve been following too many award ceremonies and I’m all awarded out. Just been going through all the Cannes winners. There is a little debate about the Cyber Lions Grand Prix win for Best Job in the World. Did it really push the boundaries of digital? Certainly the other Grand Prix winners did. As for the Golds, Silvers and Bronzes it has been a case of usual suspects. Hotel 626, Wario Land Shake It, Whopper Sacrifice, Sprint Now… The Cannes site does a good job of showcasing the winners and once I get over my overdose I’ll be coming back for inspiration.

Meanwhile over in less glamorous circles we have the Revolution Magazine Innovation Awards at the less sunny location of Grosvenor House, London. Well, actually it was a couple of months earlier but took this long for anyone to notice. In their own words…  “For 12 years Revolution magazine has presented the digital marketing world in common sense marketing terms, encouraging exploration, discovery and motivation by marketing teams. Throughout that time the Revolution Awards have consistently celebrated excellence, effectiveness and innovation”.

Now, to be fair they had a great panel of judges and the results show a broader view of what is great digital marketing. Check the winners here. At a recent event, Simon Pestridge of Nike – Revolution’s Digital Marketer of the Year, explained what innovation meant to him. You can read the article here but he said that “The biggest challenge is the pressure we put on ourselves to push the boundaries of what’s possible whilst not going off too far into left field! What’s happening today that we can effect? What is going to happen in the future that we can watch out for? The product team is constantly looking to the future and asking themselves questions like: ‘How can we create products that will help Wayne Rooney be the best in the world?’ We know the product team will deliver us great innovation. Our job is to then do it justice and ensure we engage the consumer in an equally innovative way that cuts through the clutter that surrounds them”.

Congratulations to all the winners this year. You’ve sent the standards and helped push the industry further. Now pass me the Asprin – my brain hurts.

June 16, 2009

Digital @ D&AD

The D&AD Awards last week recognised the very best in advertising, design and digital from around the world.

radiohead

Some worthy gold pencil winners in the digital category included the Radiohead 12 Cams project from Japan agency Bascule Inc. This brilliant extension of the concert experience involved 12 camera operators covering the live performance on stage and then projecting those streams onto giant screens behind the band. On the site you have access to all 12 camera feeds and as the song “15 Step” from In Rainbows is performed by the band. You can switch between each feed and assemble your own “rainbow” or mix. You can then playback your mix, save it and view mixes by other users.

barnardosIn the online advertising category a gold went to BBH London for their Barnardo’s video banner. This charity helps protect vunerable children and the ad shows a girl’s life spiralling out of control in a vicious cycle. Only when you touched the banner does the video stop.

Check out the advert on the Barnardos website.

dog

In the mobile category I loved the entry from M&C Saatchi Australia for the Sydney Dogs & Cats home. This virtual dog was put on a large outdoor screen and people were invited to Throw a Bone via SMS. The dog would then catch the bone and perform tricks.


silverman

No gold pencils in the viral category but a black pencil for copywriting. That went to Droga5 for the Great Schlep video featuring politically incorrect Sarah Silverman.

Check out all the winners, digital and traditional, at the D&AD site.

May 25, 2009

And another awards goes to…

logo50The award season keeps on giving and as usual we see the same projects being rewarded. The CLIOs are celebrating their 50th anniversary and my favourite recent project from Crispin Porter + Burger King took the grand prize. The Whopper Sacrifice is roasting all competition this year. Let’s see how it does in Cannes.

Golds went to the Fiat ECO Drive project and Sprint NOW among others. Check out the full list here although you can only see screen shots of the winners. See previous post on the One Show for links to some of these projects.

May 18, 2009

One Show Interactive Winners

one-show-gold-pencil

So the One Show Interactive winners were announced a couple of weeks ago (sorry for the delay reporting on it) and I think the best in show is really representative of how digital advertising/marketing has evolved over the last few years. Utility seems to be the driving force without losing the creativity that the web is known for. Fiat’s Eco Drive project from AKQA London involves connecting the car to the web in a fascinating way. A USB stick plugged into the dashboard collects data on your driving technique then when you plug it into your PC an online tool analyses how you drove and gives you tips on how to drive more economically. Check it out at http://www.fiat.co.uk/ecodrive/

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners was named agency of the year with seven total awards, including five gold for Doritos Hotel 626, Nintendo Wario Land Shake It, GotMilk.com and the Sprint Now widget.

Banner advertising showed there is life in it yet with winners such as gold for Akestam Holst/Stockholm with their Playground Barometer.

I think my favourite from the whole show, winning a gold in the branded applications category, is the Whopper Sacrifice from Crispin Porter + Bogusky. With social networking being the over-hyped flavour of the moment I loved the twist of getting rid of a few friends for a burger. While the project is not online you can see a case study of it here.

Check out the full list of winner on this PDF. I think it is a shame that they didn’t provide links to all the projects. Think I’ll get an intern put it together for me. If you ask nicely I might share it.