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.

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 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.

May 17, 2011

One Show Interactive 2011

So the winners are in and they are worthy. Here are some of this year’s gold award winners. No doubt we’ll be seeing much more if these projects as the awards season continues…

Google Chrome Fastball

To promote a fast browser to an audience that’s immune to banners and doesn’t even know what a browser is, BBH created Chrome FastBall, a race across the Internet. This first YouTube game of its kind demonstrated how your web experience is faster and easier when using Google Chrome.

Uniqlo Lucky Line

To get people excited about a new store opening Dentsu invented the “Lucky Line” where people could join the queue via Facebook and Twitter to get discounts when the store opened.


VW True Life Costs

To address the misconception that the car brand is expensive DDB UK created a website that provided an engaging, easy to understand analogy of Volkswagen’s impressive ‘whole life costs’ affordability.

IKEA Unbox the banner

As part of the spring campaign for discounted products from IKEA, Grabarz & Partners developed an online promotion that was true to the IKEA philosophy: save money by assembling it yourself. Check it out here.

Nike + GPS App

Five years ago, Nike put a chip in a shoe and changed the sport of running. Today, they’re doing it again. Introducing the Nike+ GPS app: Now, runners can join the world’s largest running club by simply downloading the app, whether laced in Nike shoes or not. Nike+ is in your pocket, ready for a run anytime. Running outdoors, GPS tracks your run—indoors, the accelerometer detects movement. Any friend who “likes” or comments on your Facebook status gives you an audible “cheer” via your headphones. Developed by R/GA of course.


There are lots more gold winners (if you can get the One Show website to scroll – I couldn’t) plus don’t forget to check out the silvers and bronzes too. Lots of inspiring stuff there.

May 15, 2010

One Show Interactive Winners

So here we go again… awards season is upon us. Last night the One Show winners were announced and you’ll be seeing these project again and again in the coming weeks as they take home all the prizes at various festivals. I’ll stick to gold winners here but many other great projects picked up silver and bronze. Here are some of my favourites:

Monopoly City Streets by Tribal DDB London

Below is an unofficial demo video I came across. It’s amazing how Hasbro has been able to bring their classic games to life online and generate a lot of hype. Creative Director Matt Ross and Head of Technology Matt Oxley where the brains behind this great idea. It is also one of the more innovative Google Maps mashups.


HBO Imagine by BBDO

Just 2 years after blowing us all away with the incredible Voyeur project they come back with Imagine which allows you to see a story from various perspectives in a way that changes how you perceive it. Online video has really come into its own.


BMW Z4 by Dare

In a sign that augmented reality is being taken seriously it now has its own category. This project was truly integrated with an amazing TV campaign and mobile app.


Nike Chalkbot by Wieden + Kennedy

I’ve featured this project before on this blog so I’m really happy to see it pick up gold at the One Show. When you answer a brief by inventing a piece of technology it is really thinking out of the box. And all for a great cause too.


Swedish Armed Forces by DDB

Over the past few years some amazing work has been created for this client by DDB. Not sure if the example below is the project that has just been awarded (the winners list PDF is not specific enough) but it show what kind of thinking is going into the work.


Ikea Facebook Showroom by Forsman & Bodenfors

Another project previously shared on this blog. So many campaigns are now using Facebook as their platform but few use it in such an unexpected way.


No doubt the One Show site will be updated with case videos for all the projects. Take a look at all of them (not just gold winners) and try and be more creative, innovative and unexpected – yes, I’m talking to myself here!!:)

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.

May 6, 2009

And the winner is…

So the advertising awards season is upon us. In these difficult economic times the awards organisations arebe suffering like everyone else (less entries, less tickets to events sold) but the awards help us forgot all the recent troubles for a moment. There are different opinions about awards. Some say they are just ego boosters for temperamental creative people but some awards recognise excellence in craftsmanship and even results. They can be a great way for an agency to attract talent and new clients. After judging at Cannes and elsewhere I sometimes question the choices made due to the time pressure of the judging process. If a project can be understood quickly and the creativity mostly on the surface it has more chance of getting the nod. Something deeper and more complex may get passed over.

clickhere1

The Webby Awards winners were announced this week. It’s a funny one – the Webbys. Around since 1996 it was long seen as a less creative cousin to the likes of the One Show and Cannes. But in many ways it reflected the development of the internet better than the creative focused awards. Usability and best practice was honoured as much as design and multimedia excellence. The categories have exploded over time and it can be really hard work to go through them all. There are about 70 categories plus special achievements awards. In a next blog post (after digesting them all) I will highlight some of my favourite winners and losers.