May 23, 2016

Sharpen your 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.

August 11, 2010

Smells like great response

If you have not seen this already, this case study video from Wieden + Kennedy shows how they took a successful TV campaign and made it even bigger through social media…

The results have been pretty amazing:

  • On day 1 the campaign received almost 6 million views
    (more than Obama’s victory speech)
  • On day 2 old spice had 8 of the 11 most popular videos online
  • On day 3 the campaign had reached over 20 million views
  • After the first week old spice had over 40 million views
  • Old Spice Twitter following increased 2700%
  • Facebook fan interaction was up 800%
  • website traffic was up 300%
  • The old spice YouTube channel became the all time most viewed channel
  • The campaign has generated 1.4 billion impressions since launching the ads 6 months ago
  • The campaign increased sales by 27% over 6 months since launching (year on year)
  • In the last 3 months sales were up 55%
  • During the social media Responses campaign sales were up 107%
  • Old spice is now the #1 body wash brand for men
July 28, 2010

Making great online videos

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am gradually going through David Ogilvy’s book “Confessions of an Advertising Man” and giving a 21st century spin to all the various chapters. This time it is all about making good TV commercials.

What would David make of today’s world where people probably spend more time online watching video than they do in front of a TV? In his book he said that “the purpose of a commercial is not to entertain the viewer but to sell to him”. I think he’d love the fact that the recent Old Spice YouTube campaign (apparently) helped double sales. If you look at this report on ZDNet “Video is now the fastest-growing segment of the Internet advertising market. Digital video amounted to $477 million in revenue in the first half of 2009, up 38 per cent from the same time period in 2008, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau”.

David also said that on television “what you show is more important than what you say”.  If that were the case would he have hated the Johnnie Walker Keep Walking online video campaign? We live by new rules it seems.

He had many useful tips for people of his day such as making the product the hero of the commercial. Online there seem to be no rules other than be noticed and talked about. That’s a challenge compared to Ogilvy’s day where he said that the average consumer, “poor dear” was subjected to 900 commercials a month (interestingly the consumer in those days was uniquely female). How many video advertising messages do we see each day? He was spot on when he said they needed a “touch of singularity”.

Ogilvy compared the TV screen to the cinema screen and gave tips for working on the smaller format. Now we have video banners in the middle of cluttered websites. But that might not be the only thing holding online video back from truly taking over. According the Tech Crunch there are still many issues to solve such as lack of standards and problems with distribution. Read the full article here.

Those who have already understood the potential of online video know that it is not just a passive experience. The Barnardos Turnaround video banner campaign included interactivity so the viewer could experience how their help can make a difference. To quote their Cannes award winning entry description “a young girl tells the story of her journey into despair. By clicking and dragging the slider, you can physically turn the entire banner around, and the film then plays in the other direction with a different voice-over, showing the tangible impact Barnardo’s can have in turning a young person’s life around”. Click here to try it.

Another amazing project from the Netherlands used video within social networks and made the viewer part of the action by bringing in their photos, name and more. Commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, the campaign was “aimed specifically at young citizens to raise awareness about cybercrime in a way that is relevant to them. 85% of Dutch youngsters have a profile on social network Hyves, which they use on a daily basis”. The agency Kong “created a frighteningly realistic ‘ambush’ on Hyves: a tailor-made, personalized action video in which you could trick your friends by sending the Cybermaffia after them. In just 7 days, the campaign was viewed over 5 million times and sent-to-friends over 7 million times, making it the most popular social media viral campaign in the Netherlands ever”.

And finally, online video differs in that you can show some things that would never be allowed on TV (although knowing the French this would have been on primetime:)

It would be great to hear David’s view of online video commercials. Would he be intrigued by the possibilities or just say “if they don’t sell they aren’t creative”.

Aides graffiti from notsobadforfrenchy on Vimeo.

May 12, 2009

New media – old values


In these times of downloadable, disposable instant gratification we are seeing a shift towards a desire for authenticity. Sales of vinyl records are increasing as people seek a return to times when life tasted real. Meanwhile, old brands are being reinvented for the 21st century while maintaining their true values. In a sign of the times Old Spice have just launched a new online store that taps into the brand heritage with a touch of humour. The best example of this trend is the relaunch of Umbro that builds on the traditional English tailoring that goes into their sports clothing. A temporary concept store in London helped kick off the campaign along with print and other media. But it is online where it really comes to life with a great website that tells the history and gets people interacting. The brand harnesses all the latest online marketing tools such as Twitter, YouTube and blogs. The “Tailored by England” concept helps the whole campaign hang together in a powerful way and allows Umbro to create a strong point of difference in a crowded sportswear market.