June 26, 2011

Apres Cannes – trends for the coming year

As the dust settles and the sun sets on the Cannes Festival of Creativity (significantly this year the word “advertising” has gone) it is worth looking at the Cyber Lion winners to get an idea of some of the trends we might see for the year ahead.

Three grand prix winners this year and they couldn’t be more different. First up is The Wilderness Downtown from Google Creative Lab showing that being creative with code can result in powerful emotions. This is digital marketing as art, helped enormously by the music of Arcade Fire. Could this be the start of a new wave of emotionally driven digital campaigns that are highly personalized?


Secondly the accolades keep coming for Old Spice and the responses campaign by Wieden + Kennedy. Not really a complex digital campaign but one that really capitalized on the popularity of its star. In their own words they “created an interactive experience in which our Old Spice Guy personally responded to fans on the Internet in real time. Instead of using traditional paid media, we leveraged social platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter—ultimately creating an effort that would become one of fastest-growing and most popular interactive campaigns in history”.


After two Grand Prix winners that succeeded through engaging with the audience personal level we have a third winner that shows creativity in how we can turn word of mouth into a powerful currency. As winning agency R/GA explain – “Pay with a Tweet is the first social payment system, where people pay with the value of their social network. We launched Pay With A Tweet with the release of our book “Oh My God What Happened And What Should I Do?”. It’s simple, people who have something to sell simply add the Pay With A Tweet button to their site, and people simply click on the button and tweet about the product. They are then able to download it: a book, album, or whatever. What began as a promotion became a whole new way to trade content online”.


One thing to remark, all three grand prix winners were from the USA while in other Cannes categories we see countries such as China, Korea and Romania taking the top spot. Does this show that in digital only clients (and agencies) in the US are being brave enough to try new things? Budget could also be a factor. Hopefully the examples of these successful US campaigns will inspire other countries to put more money into digital and allow daring creative ideas to see the light of day.

In a follow up post I’ll look at the other winners in Gold, Silver and Bronze to see what other trends are emerging.

August 16, 2009

Kings of Data

mlewis_maex03Advertising is a business where all too often it is the creative people who get most of the credit. As they stand there holding up their trophies at another award ceremony they are very unlikely to thank the data analyst who help shape the campaign that just won.

Meet Dimitri Maex, he runs Ogilvy’s analytical team. His recent profile in a Fortune magazine article highlights how much the number crunchers are beginning to be a force in the advertising world. When a client like Cisco paid more attention to him than the creative team during a presentation he knew his time had come. As the article says, “After years of calling the shots, the traditional Mad Men of advertising — the creative types who cooked up memorable sell-lines like “the ultimate driving machine” — are increasingly sharing the spotlight with, you guessed it, the nerds”.

Of course the recession has helped people like Dimitri take center stage as it “made advertisers hungrier for proof that their multimillion-dollar campaigns are working”. Clients have also been looking for new ways to compensate agencies. As the article tells us “Coke is starting to grade its agencies based on four criteria, including sales and market share gains. The new compensation model will be introduced in 35 markets this year and is expected be rolled out to all of Coke’s agencies worldwide by 2011. Agencies that perform have the chance to pocket 30% above their costs — far more than they make under the old fee system”.

To learn how data influences campaigns read the article.

radiohead1I want to look at another Data King. This time it is someone that takes raw data and transforms it into something truely beautiful. Aaron Koblin works at Google Creative Labs and has been playing with data for years producing projects such as the visualisation of SMS messages in Amsterdam, the flight patterns of more than 205,000 different aircraft being monitored by the FAA on August 12, 2008 and even a music video for Radiohead.

Watch a fascinating presentation by Aaron here to discover how he works his magic with data.

The creative kings are not dead. They just need to learn to work together with the other masters of their domains – the kings of data. Together they make a powerful alliance.