May 23, 2016

Sharpen your pencils

pencils

Imagine if the Oscars and the Golden Globes had almost the same trophy, a bald nude muscled man standing on a plinth holding a sword. Like Jason Stratham in a homo-erotic King Arthur movie. Wouldn’t it be confusing? Well in the past week both the One Show and D&AD handed out pencil trophies to the advertising and design industry. Which pencil is more coveted than the other? Is one sharper than the other in terms of reputation? Let’s have a duel to the death as I take a look at what these two award  festivals recognised as some of the best work.

 

Round 1 – It’s a virtual world

Virtual reality is the buzzword of the moment. Until recently everyone talked about “transmedia storytelling” until the word trans came to mean something quite different. So what did the these rival pencil select from all the innovative VR submissions this year?

Y&R New Zealand picked up a Wood Pencil from D&AD in the Branding/Brand Experience & Environments category. But it’s not VR as we know it. With a real twist, customers thought they were in a driving simulator, only to find out they were experiencing the real deal.

In the One Show corner we have a different approach with this Gold Pencil winner in the mobile category. VR doesn’t have always mean wearing an anti-social headset. McCann Paris developed a mobile app for L’Oreal which let’s anyone apply makeup virtually. D&AD just gave this one a Graphite pencil 🙁

Round 1 winner – Hard to compare such different uses of virtual reality from two very different categories but I would go for One Show’s choice with the Make Up genius. A more useful and smart way to use VR that drives buzz and sales.

 

Round 2 – Advertising isn’t dead

Yes, there is so much talk about how traditional advertising is dying because everyone is too busy watching cat videos on their mobile phones. But even if the TVC doesn’t have the same power it once had when the whole family would sit around the goggle box for hours each evening, there is still nothing quite as brilliant as a highly-creative, well-crafted piece of film. Both One Show and D&AD celebrate this art and each has given pencils to what they think is the very best of the bunch.

adam&eveDDB continue to produce outstanding work for Harvey Nichols and this film using CCTV footage of real shoplifters continues that tradition. D&AD gave out a coveted Yellow pencil for this. One Show gave it gold but it seems just that bit harder to get the Yellow pencil.

As for One Show, my pick of the gold winners has to be this spot for Old Spice. They continue putting a splash of humour on everything and “Rocket Car” from Wieden+Kennedy is a worthy successor of the previous (legendary) Old Spice films.

Round 2 winner – I have to hand it to D&AD for choosing a worthy winner.

 

Round 3 – Let’s make a change

It’s still the hottest trend in award shows, brands trying to do good by showing the world how they should live, think, feel, act etc. Maybe I’m being a little cynical but we do live in a hyper politically correct world these days. Brands have to walk the talk or be slammed for not doing the right thing. So what stood out in these two rival award shows?

One Show gave a Best in Show Award to a brand that said no to consumerism. You might have seen videos of shoppers on America’s Black Friday fighting in the aisles for discounted biscuits. Outdoor retailer REI decided to live by its beliefs and close their stores on that day and encourage people to go outside instead. D&AD only gave a Wood pencil for this project – that’s harsh.

But there was one project that ruled both pencils…

It’s Y&R New Zealand that strike again with a winner that was recognised by both sides of the pencil war. It’s only fair to make peace and declare round two a draw as both the One Show and D&AD gave out lots of pencils for the McWhopper Peace Day project. Even if McDonald’s didn’t accept to pool their resources (and ingredients), the public took it upon themselves to unilaterally unite the Big Mac and the Whopper.

Round 3 (and overall) winner – In the spirit of peace we’ll bring the pencil war to a close, bringing these rival award shows together and declaring the final winner One&AD.

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.