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.

March 14, 2014


It’s the season for scams in the run up to Cannes. I usually hate them but this one made me laugh.

To quote Adweek, “To encourage moviegoers to stay quiet during a film, Saatchi Denmark filmed audience members milling around the lobby sipping soda through straws and pulling stupid faces, then quickly edited the footage into the background of a fake movie trailer. In the middle of the supposed preview, viewers suddenly saw themselves on the screen, ruining a perfectly cheesy sex scene with their odd expressions and obnoxious slurping sounds”.

August 26, 2010

Tom Dot Com

I while back I started a series profiling some of digital industry’s greats. My first profile was Lars Bastholm, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy New York. This time around I want to take a look at Tom Eslinger – Worldwide Interactive Creative Director at Saatchi and Saatchi.

What does a WW Interactive Creative Director do exactly? According to the Saatchi website “Tom spearheads Saatchi & Saatchi’s fast-growing worldwide interactive capability. He works from New Zealand and London with both a worldwide focus across network clients for interactive creative, strategy and operations, and a London focus with respect to UK and European clients to develop interactive and mobile initiatives and programs”.

Or in his own words: “I spend my day looking for opportunities to connect agency creation, media, planning and account management, with interactivity and keep it as close to the centre of the process as possible. I make way for great ideas to get made and I work on ideas for our clients around the world. I mentor and learn everyday. I celebrate our successes and make sure we learn from our defeats. I’m building teams around the world, so I keep track of talent and try to seduce the good ones to come over to our side. I think I’ve got the best job in the world and I remind myself everyday”.

Let’s take a look at how he got where he is today…

Originally from North Dakota, in May 1990 Tom graduated Minneapolis College of Art and Design with his thesis project: an interactive catalogue for clothing company The Gap. One of his professor’s there, Hazel Gamec, had set up a design school in Wanganui New Zealand and asked Tom to go there to teach. While there he co-developed the Wanganui Polytechnique design degree course, the Design Survival Camp student conference and worked on a CD-ROM (remember those?) project for Charles Spencer Anderson Design that won awards from Communication Arts magazine and Type Directors’ Club (USA). After moving from the academic world to the commercial one in 1995 it was not long until he found himself at Saatchi & Saatchi Interactive as an art director. A year later he was Creative Director and developed projects for Telecom New Zealand, New Zealand Rugby Union and Adidas. At the same time he was a contributing typeface designer to RayGun magazine (USA) 1994-96.

He also created the font BEAST, used for the Swatch International Halloween campaign (1999). It wouldn’t be long until he would be snatched from his beloved adopted home of New Zealand to move to London culminating in his current position as WW Interactive Creative Director.

He’s been a judge at Cannes 3 times and was the Cyber Lions jury president in 2007. Tom is a multiple Cannes Lion winner himself, most recently taking Gold in 2006 for online and mobile innovation with Rubbish Film Festival and receiving 4 Shortlists at Cannes in 2007 across Cyber and Titanium. In 2009 the standout win was for the T-Mobile Dance viral video/TV ad winning Gold in Direct, a Gold and Bronze in Film, Silver in Media, Silver in the Cyber and Bronze in the Titanium category. While Tom isn’t credited he no doubt played a role in making the project.

He remains quite an elusive guy and it’s hard to find out alot about him. We know that Tom lives in London (and as much time in New Zealand as possible), haunting local comic shops and snowfields, snowboard under arm. This interview with Tom for the 2010 Comic Con shows his passion for world of graphic art and scifi.

Some other interesting glimpses into the mind of Tom can be found in this interview on the MobiThinking website where he shares his views about mobile marketing. In AdAge, prior to the Cannes Lions, he gave his views about what he thought would do well in 2010.

But in the end it is the work he helps bring to the world that shows what kind of creative leader he is. This project for UK charity Childline was created to let young people know they can now express how they are feeling online as well as by phone. Their idea was to use music and words so they created a fully interactive campaign based around mash-ups. They got world famous musician Paul Hartnoll from Orbital to collaborate with hot digital film director Dennis Lui. Together they recorded real kids expressing themselves with just a single word or sound. From this Paul created a unique music track. Dennis then projected the track with accompanying images on an urban landscape. The footage was also turned into an ad. The ad drove kids to a website where they could create their very own mash-up and enter it into a competition where the winning entry would become a real TV ad. See the case below…

My next victim will be Michael Lebowitz of Big Spaceship. Unless I hear from his lawyer.