May 3, 2012

Best of Webby Awards

Congratulations to all the 2012 Webby Award winners. Let’s take a look at some of my personal favorites.

Akestam Holst won in the Augmented Reality category for their Sound of Football project for Pepsi Refresh – an initiative with the potential to revolutionize blind football but also change everyday life for the visually impaired community. You can check out the full project here. It’s great to see technology being used for the greater good rather than just to amuse the masses.

In recent years Intel has commissioned a series of amazing projects to showcase their spirit of innovation. This project from Nexus Productions won for best us of online media. Using a dynamic mix of live action and animation the action takes place in a series of software windows which open at full pelt. The result is a fantastically clever dash as we follow the heroine’s journey through a myriad of windows in her bid to outwit the baddies.

In the same category the People’s Choice Winner was Wieden + Kennedy’s Back 4 the Future project with Nike that brought to life the famous shoes from the 2nd installment of my favorite movie. All for a great cause too.

We tend to forget email marketing can be a great creative tool but luckily the Webbys have a category for that. The winner from Grupo Gallegos used the act of forgetting your password as an opportunity to tell people to support the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Webbys has always had a more altruistic edge than many other award festivals. Here is another example with the winner of the best Integrated Campaign by kempertrautmann gmbh. In Germany each year, over 100,000 children and young adults are reported missing. The “Germany will find you” campaign covered social, press, TV, events and more. Very inspiring.

Check out all the other winners and runners up here.

August 23, 2010

How to make good (digital) campaigns…

In David Ogilvy’s book “Confessions of an Advertising Man” he points out that there are real specific factors to consider when it comes to advertising in certain categories. Online, things are no different. You can’t apply a cookie cutter approach to any product but need to understand the category and what people might expect from that kind of product in the digital space. Is it a high or low involvement product? Is the target audience of that product web savvy enough for complex campaigns? As part of my series updating Ogilvy’s book for the 21st century let’s take a look at the 3 categories he covered…


David Ogilvy’s tips were specific for print and TV, with suggestions for art direction and copywriting to bring out the best aspects of the product. In digital it is much more about building a preference for the product by enhancing the brand with useful or entertaining content, real facts that answer people’s burning questions or simply bring the product personality to life.

The recent Domino Pizza turnaround campaign was a great example of answering the questions people were asking. Questions about product quality & taste and responding the negativity around the infamous YouTube video of Domino staff messing with the food. Of course it is risky being so open as you will see on their campaign page. Not every customer comment coming in via Twitter is positive. They get quickly deleted of course.

At the other end of the spectrum you’ve got the pure branded entertainment of Doritos and the Asylum626 campaign. After the succes of the Hotel 626 campaign, Doritos continued the experience with the Asylum 626. Created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and produced by B-Reel, the new website was just as scary and was divided into stages where you had goals to meet and puzzles to unravel. You could interact via microphones and webcams to live the experience more realistically and the integration with Facebook and Twitter was a good addition. With scenes that had horror movie-style quick cuts the game managed to scare even the toughest players.


In “Confessions of an Advertising Man”, Ogilvy says that ads for tourism should “convert dreams into action – transforming potential energy into kinetic energy”. This is still true in digital with the best online tourism campaigns truly engaging with the viewer so they already become virtually involved with the destination… a first step towards actually going there. The Queensland Tourism “Best job in the world” campaign is the obvious example of how successful you can be in this category online. But let’s look at some less well-known examples:

The Webby Award winner Snapshots of Provence is an experimental website for the local tourist board which you can navigate two ways. Pick pictures on the left to visit by regions which includes small video clips or use the wheel on the right for an alternate navigation. This comprehensive sound and visual experience is an excerpt from the travel book of photographer Thomas Duval and sound designer Tacteel and produced by UZIK. An immersive experience like this really can talk to the dreamer in everyone and make them want to start planning a trip.

This next example may not be a tourist destination but it’s more about how you get there. Virgin Atlantic Upper Class was promoted online with this amusing Cannes award winning campaign that played on people’s fear of flying. Travelers on other airlines may suffer from a fear of flying, but someone who has flown Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class and experienced their unprecedented level of pampering may suffer from something much worse: The fear of not flying Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class.

Check out one of the banners here.


When it comes to advertising pharmaceutical products Ogilvy was spot on when he wrote that it must be serious, authoritative and educational. This first example ticks all those boxes. A People’s Choice Webby Award winner by RAPP, this website promoted the first FDA-approved, over-the-counter weight-loss pill. The agency designed a site for people interested in understanding how to use the new drug, called ‘alli.’ Information and tools were provided to offer patients an alternative to current over-the-counter weight-loss options. Content/tools on the consumer sites included a BMI calculator and a readiness quiz. A ‘Commitment Letter’ feature enabled people to share past diet experiences. More than 1.5 million unique visitors logged on during the first four months.

Of course there are always times when you want to turn conventions upside down. You can be serious about incontinence or make fun of it by getting Whoopi Goldberg to be the front woman. As part of a large print and television advertising campaign for Poise, the adult diapers produced by Kimberly-Clark, Goldberg played the parts of several historical and mythical women, suggesting that light bladder leakage may have been a problem for Mona Lisa, the Statue of Liberty, Eve, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, Helen of Troy etc. The films, a montage of which featured during the 2010 Oscars, also formed the heart of a dedicated website which provided a platform for women to learn about the problem and not to feel so alone.

So maybe there are no fixed rules today for advertising online. As long as you understand whom you are talking to and find an idea that connects with them then you’ve got a great chance of your campaign making a difference.

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.


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.