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.

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.

May 12, 2015

One and only

The award season is in full swing and it’s interesting to see what is winning festivals like ONE SHOW to get a glimpse of who will be grabbing the lions in just over a month. I’ve chosen a few of my favorite GOLD PENCIL winners which I think will definitely be picking up prizes at Cannes.

Interactive Gold Pencil

Under Armour – I will what I want
Droga 5

Let’s face it, Gisele Bundchen doesn’t need the money. So when you see her doing a campaign like this you know that it’s because she believes in it. I love the way she kicks ass while all the internet trolls try to bring her down. Really empowering stuff.

Interactive Gold Pencil

Honda – The Other Side
Wieden and Kennedy

Some projects are famous even before they hit the judges screens at award festivals. I remember this one doing the rounds and being amazed how seamless and brilliant it was. One button interaction! You can’t get more user-friendly than that. www.hondatheotherside.com

Direct Gold + Best of Discipline

Sol de Janiero – Tattoo Skin Cancer Check
Ogilvy Brasil

This is a really smart idea. Young sun lovers are never going to get a skin check so how can we bring it to them? OK, so how about all the people who don’t get tattoos? I guess they are not cool so don’t deserve to be saved 🙂

Mobile Gold Pencil

TeatreNeu – Pay per laugh
The Cyranos//McCann

I love the case video as much as I like the campaign itself. Maybe even more. But it’s interesting to see how broad the mobile category is now. This is a really smart idea especially for a country where the economy is bad and people want value for money.

UX/UI Gold Pencil

SNCF – The most serious game ever
TBWA Paris

Nice to see the UX/UI discipline being recognized because it can mean success or failure for any project. The challenge for the agency would have been to really get inside of the mind of this super-smart target audience. Not an easy task to do for most people working in advertising. Sorry.

Check out all the winners here and see which ones you think everyone will be talking about this year.

September 13, 2013

AMCHAM Advertising After Party

Last night Nils Anderson, Y&R China’s Chief Creative Officer, and I jointly presented at a special event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. We wanted to share the winning campaigns from global advertising festivals like Cannes Lions to business leaders in China. I thought it would be interesting to share my own part of the presentation here.

While Nils focused on the Film category and spoke in depth about the craft that goes into winning work, I covered many of the other categories. I began by talking about the dramatic changes the advertising business has gone through since the Mad Men era. Just look at the picture below to see how quickly mobile devices have become the main way to create and consume media. Both show the announcement of a new Pope just 8 years apart.

Yet even with such amazing developments in technology, it is ideas that win not techniques or (dare I say it) gimmicks. In my presentation I began with a look at the category of DIRECT which is all about targeted communication with a clearly identifiable call-to-action or response mechanism. It’s all about having a measurable response.

This multi award-winning campaign from McCann Melbourne was based on real human insight. Take a serious message then make it fun and engaging. Make something that people want to share. Allow people to participate and own the campaign so the message gets magnified. The results speak for themselves. It didn’t just connect with people but changed behavior and demonstrates where our industry is going – harnessing the power of digital & social to seed the message.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals teamed up with MINI Cooper to teach dogs how to operate a car, in the hopes that it will draw attention to the talented and adorable dogs that were up for adoption. It shows the power of talk value in a campaign in order to capture attention.

When the laughs died down I then went on to talk about winners in the Cannes Cyber Lions. Very few people use the term “cyber” these days. It’s a throwback to the late 90s when the internet was still science fiction to many people. Now people talk about “digital” which is already sounding narrow and old fashioned. Maybe, after 5 years, I need to retire this blog if that’s the case.

The internet and social media as radically changed the advertising industry as much as other industries like music. But rather than being its death it breathed new life into what we do. Look at any great campaign now and see how it harnesses the power of digital to connect with consumers in ways not possible only 15 years ago.

Oreo’s 100th birthday mission was to help everyone around the world celebrate the child inside.  Draft FCB’s “Daily Twist” aimed to filter the world through the “playful imagination of Oreo.” It went way beyond a simple print campaign as it was designed to spark conversation and sharing on social platforms. On Facebook alone the population of fans grew to 27.7 million!

When an Adidas store is closed can you still allow people passing by to buy your clothes? That was the questions answered by agency TBWA Helsinki. It really shows how broad the category is.

It has been a long time coming but mobile marketing is now a force to be reckoned with. Today almost everyone carries smartphones and in many countries they are the primary access point to the internet. Mobile opens up lots of amazing opportunities to connect with consumers to deliver timely and relevant messages or to provide utility.

People love free wifi so Ogilvy Paris came up with an award-winning idea for their client Mattel by offering win free Wi-Fi minutes in places where there isn’t any. All you had to do was play Scrabble and your words became passwords to access the free Wi-Fi connection. You could stay connected as long as you are good at spelling words on Scrabble!

When everyone thinks of mobile they immediately think of high-end smartphones and sophisticated apps. But Philippines agency DM9 used a simple and low-tech solution to make a profound sustainable impact using the simplest phones. It shows how creative you can be with technology when it comes to solving problems

In the PROMO category it’s all about targeted online communication with a clearly identifiable call-to-action or response mechanism.

Sometimes the product becomes the campaign especially when you do something innovative. Coca Cola in with Ogilvy Paris and Singapore developed a can with a difference. One you could share without sharing germs.

How do you get more people to become organ donors? Ogilvy and Mather Brazil took real patients on organ-transplant waiting lists and created films directed at fans of the Sport Club Recife soccer team—telling them their hearts will keep beating for the team, even after they are gone, if they sign up to be an organ donor.

Like award ceremonies themselves I kept the best until last with the Titanium category from Cannes. Sometimes ideas are too big and multi-dimensional to fit into a single category. That’s why festivals like Cannes Lions created Titanium awards. The idea is everything, whether it’s for a car or toothpaste, telecommunications or charity, big budget or low budget.

“The Beauty Inside” by Pereira & O’Dell, which won major awards in digital, film and branded content categories, was born out of a powerful brand truth—just like an Intel processor, it’s what inside that counts. The campaign involved episodic films that followed the story of Alex, a man who wakes up looking like a different person every day. Apart from being “really social at its core” and “really beautiful” the smartest part was the integral role the brands played in the film. At Cannes it won grand prix in Cyber, Branded Content as well as Titanium.

Another Titanium winner came from Nike. When you are not sponsoring the Olympics how can your brand be heard? Nike tested the limits of the Olympic rules on ambush marketing with a global campaign by Wieden & Kennedy featuring everyday athletes and ordinary people enjoying sport in places around the world named London. Anybody could be their own champion no matter how great their achievement.

In fact, if there is one big trend recently in awards festivals it is the number of campaigns where brands are on a mission to do good. It’s not just about changing the world but helping people have a better outlook on life, to treat others and themselves with respect. Brands that are seen to do good are more attractive to consumers. Many of the cases I shared at the event reflect this. One of the Titanium Gold winners epitomized this trend.

Real Beauty Sketches is beautifully simple idea from Ogilvy Brazil centered on the insight that women often see themselves as being unattractive when in fact they are prettier than they think. The result is emotionally powerful and helped spark meaningful online conversations.

A saw a few tearful people in the audience so decided that I couldn’t leave them feeling down. I ended by demonstration that when a campaign is so successful you have to be prepared for one thing – to be parodied…

September 25, 2011

Spikes digital winners

The dust has settled and the advertising folk have left Singapore to be replaced by the Formula 1 fans for a weekend of noise and mayhem. Not much different then.

Let’s take a look at some of the digital campaigns that were awarded at the festival. The Grand Prix went to Colenso BBDO New Zealand for their Doggelgänger project. Their idea was based around human to canine pairing software, designed to connect homeless dogs to their human doubles. This state-of-the-art software analyses your features, and compares them with a nationwide database of real dogs looking for adoption. By partnering with shelters across the country, Doggelgänger has given homeless dogs everywhere the very best chance to set up that vital first meeting in the journey to finding a new home.

Gold went to several projects already featured heavily in previous awards including Uniqlo Lucky Line and Sour/Mirror – both from Japan. See the Cold, also from Japan, was developed by McCann and used people’s tweets about cough, fever, runny or stuffed nose, chills, throat, and headache to build a picture on the website of where the cold is, how it’s moving, and what its symptoms are. Sicknesses can be tracked day and night, symptom by symptom allowing pharmacies to stock the right amount of the right drugs at the right time: before the cold hits. And consumers can buy remedies they’re about to require.

Japan dominated silver too with some brilliant campaigns. Hakuhodo gave us the Samsung Space Balloon Project for the Galaxy SII. It was the world’s first LIVE communication challenge set in space. It’s also the world’s highest media development linked with many SNS sites and USTREAM. They live-streamed the 90 minutes flight of the GALAXY S II headed to space on a meteorological balloon. During the flight, they showed more than 3000 messages and icons of hope and dreams to encourage Japan on the beautiful display of GALAXY S II, live. SBP gathered an USTREAM ASIA record 380,000 unique viewers, 98000 tweets, and in the same month GALAXY S II’s share in Japan reached number one.

One of the few non-Japanese winners came from Soap in Australia. Their brief was to create an online promotion/platform for PAC-MAN which could help build awareness for upcoming products and showcase the power of HTML5 on Microsoft’s newly released IE9. Their “simple and catchy idea” was to let the global PAC-MAN community create & play their own maze to become part of the “World’s Biggest PAC-MAN” game. The ever expanding maze provided endless fun for PAC-MAN fans worldwide. There were 1.5 million visitors in the first 3 weeks, countless amounts of positive press for both clients and one huge hosting bill. All without any media spend.

Back to Japan for another silver winning project. Dentsu were asked by Ezaki Glico to change the image people had of their biscuit products as being cheap and childish. They developed the “smile chocolate factory”, a special production line in the real factory using high technology in biscuit and chocolate processing. People could make original chocolate biscuits by sending their smile via a website. The system analysed the face, generated the portrait sketch and drew it with chocolate on the biscuit. People could see the production line of “smile chocolate factory” in realtime with a webcam.

You can check out all the other winners here along with the best work from all the other categories. With this being an Asia Pacific award you’ll get to see some interesting work that might have been overlooked in other festivals. Until next year…

September 19, 2011

Welcome to Spikes Asia

I haven’t been to Singapore in over 10 years. What a difference a decade makes. It’s become like physical manifestation of the internet. Overblown, full of ways to spend money and geared for entertainment. Spikes Asia 2011, like every other advertising festival today, has digital on the brain. Every speaker and panelist says that the industry has dramatically changed. So how come the work submitted in the digital category was not hung on the wall with the other categories? Some things never change.

The first seminar off the block was brought to us by Coca Cola and crowdsourcing platform eYeka. The title – Is tomorrow’s agency the consumer? With panelists from both Coke and eYeka along with agency folk from Draft FCB and BBH plus someone from Diageo there was a lot of debate. The featured project involved co-creation with the public for a Coke competition called “Energizing Refreshment”. Some amazing figures were mentioned such as the 1.6 million submissions within China when Coke launched a previos crowdsourced campaign. The challenge was to sift through all of that to find the “diamonds in the shit” as one panelist put it. Would agencies become curators rather than being the sole producers of the creative ideas? The panelist from eYeka suggested that crowdsourcing accelerates innovation for brands. Co-creation questions the role of agency. The public now competes with agency creative departments. There are “millions of talented people out there” so why restrict yourself to an agency? Clients like Coke are looking for creative collectives rather than agencies where you might mix up “teenagers with professionals” as one speaker suggested. It was pointed out that the most popular Superbowl ad in 2011 was a $500 film created by a member of the public. It had “authenticity and simplicity”. Co-creation is “not about changing advertising – it’s about creating an environment where public gets involved with the brand”. One panelist said that the role of agencies needs to change for co-creation – but can they? Many agencies “missed the boat with the internet revolution and are still trying to catch up”. During question time I pointed out that the best work submitted in crowdsourced projects was most likely submitted by moonlighting agency creatives rather than the public. The speaker from eYeka admitted that a number of participants are from agencies but over 60% are non-professionals from the general public. Then they showed the winning entry for the “Energized Refreshment” competition… who just happens to be a motion graphics designer based in Brighton UK. Say no more.

Another interesting seminar was hosted by Yahoo and covered emerging markets such as Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia where 6 out of 10 people that access the internet do so via mobile phones. There was a lot of discussion about the internet not being the same there than in other countries – especially the west. We should not try to impose a western way of thinking on these new markets. We need to bring “5000 years of experience and knowledge” to whatever we do with digital.

There followed an inspiring presentation from JWT about breeding creativity with cultural diversity. Shame all their links to sound and video failed as it was a thoughtful and well put together seminar. They began by showing how Picasso did not find his path until he saw an exhibition of African art while the architect Frank Lloyd Wright was highly influenced by Japanese design. Special guest Gilles Peterson is a DJ that has spent his career exploring the cultural exchanges that can make music so diverse. In his words, to be “truly creative you need to get out of your comfort zone”.
Havana Cultura: Remixed // Gilles Peterson Bonus DJ Mix by gillespeterson

Matias Palm-Jensen, formerly of FarFar but now chief innovation officer at McCann, presented his pinball approach to advertising. The old way was more like bowling where you sent your ball down the alley hoping it will knock down as many pins as possible – then you turn your back and walk away. Now things are a lot more dynamic with assets, stories, formats, vehicles, destinations, conversations that then create more assets… and the ball keeps moving. Today every creative idea “needs a digital/social platform”. Fascinating guy with a big job ahead of him at McCann.

This post is getting a bit long so I’ll follow up with a second one featuring Microsoft Advertising, TBWA and Joel Cohen – one of the writers for the Simpsons who showed everyone how to make an entertaining presentation.

March 8, 2010

Something strange in adland – episode 1

upside-down-houseYou know there’s something strange in adland when…

You don’t needs ads.

An iPhone app for VW is downloaded four million times generating an “80% increase in leads, test drive and quote requests without a print ad, banner or broadcast spot in sight”. AKQA have a track record for zigging instead of zagging. See the video case study here >

You don’t need agencies.

Clients like Doritos now ask consumers to create their ad campaigns (only they don’t know that advertising folks are the ones submitting the best ideas!)

tunickIn this New York Times article Stuart Elliot writes “BE afraid, Madison Avenue. Be very afraid”. He mentions various campaigns where “consumers” developed the ideas. But on the flipside, this blog post from ADLAB reveals a different story.

You don’t need a budget.

One agency got a year’s worth of media for only $500 by taking advantage of people with poor eyesight. See the story from McCann Erickson Israel…

You don’t need TV.

The 2009 Cannes Film Grand Prix goes to an interactive movie you can only see on the internet. Watch the DDB case study video…

Keep your eyes open – the strangeness isn’t over yet.