I missed my chance to be at Cannes this year. Family matters kept me away and that was the right decision. Advertising awards used to be a bit of a closed loop with the same people congratulating themselves. At least that’s how I remember them. Not so anymore.
The judging rigor is there (see Thomas Crampton’s video with Barney Loehnis). The digital pros now find themselves as judges. The discipline categories keep expanding. The quality of the entrants are strong.
Check out the winners here. It will be eye-opening. As I reviewed the winners three ideas and three cases stuck out.
Should Curators of Sweden have won the Cyber Lions?
The Twitter handle-relay where different Swedes earn the responsibility of publishing out via @Sweden twitter handle is owned by the Visit Sweden and Swedish Institute. (see case video here) It’s a neat concept for meeting the people of Sweden. Here’s how they put it:
“Every week, someone in Sweden is @Sweden: sole ruler of the world’s most democratic Twitter account. For seven days, he or she recommends things to do and places to see, sharing diverse opinions, and ideas along the way. After that, someone else does the same—but differently. Follow all nine million of us. Welcome to Sweden.”
They have grown to 66K followers (from 5K) and have a 500%+ rate of “conversation” (replies and retweets). What’s not to like?
They’re tweeting an awful lot and most is the banter between the host and others which has little to do with Sweden. The concept is cool. Righteous even. But I am not certain that the value of the Twitter stream is delivering beyond the “get to know some Swedish citizens.”
Then, of course, came @sweden/Sonja who kept people guessing with her inflammatory and maybe a bit naïve comments about Jews, gays and so forth. But the real issue isn’t whether this expression of democracy leads to a few extremist/borderline-offensive hosts but whether it raises interest in visiting Sweden.
Back-seat judging is no fun. Should it have won? It did. I think it is a compelling concept that likely is raising awareness for Sweden and in its own quirky way driving people to now consider a trip. It’s a great case, and I love that a purely earned/owned effort shared the Cyber Lion. It’s a creative idea brought to life in a very different way than the Cannes Lions are used to. Big ideas that don’t end up as luscious images or videos can win at Cannes. That’s great.
There is another model for using Twitter for tourism and country branding that I find compelling. Wizard of Istanbul aims to answer tweets from visitors with questions immediately and to build a cadre of Istanbul enthusiasts to offer their suggestions for the best place for lunch up the coast or the most authentic whirling dervish ceremony. It’s a bit more spot-on for the traveler and since it is run by regular folks supported by other Istanbul enthusiasts, it retains a personal nature.
Is Honda’s Connecting Lifelines the Wave of Future Winners?
Getting creative with data and technology is the next great wave. The Connecting Lifelines ‘experience’ does just that by mining traffic data from all of the Honda’s on the road in Japan during the earthquake and visualizing the status of roads. Were they passable? How bad was traffic? Were new roads getting opened up post-crisis?
Beyond the social good role of the effort, it demonstrates how to be smart and creative with the web of connectivity and sensors around us. Digital is no longer a media choice but an infrastructure that is leading to very interesting innovations that can also serve a communications or marketing purpose.
We had a program for Dove that used technology in a great creative way. The Dove Ad Makeover continued the signature self-esteem territory by figuring out how to manipulate the Facebook ad-serving marketplace and let consumers replace shaming diet ads targeted to women with positive messages.
How are we, as agencies, going to stimulate this type of creativity? Have we done enough to change the perception of just what is creative in our own ranks?
How do you repeat/rinse/scale the greatest B2B campaign?
American Express’ program Small Business Saturday is more than a simple awareness program driving people to buy from local and small business on November 26th. (see the case video here) It’s a program that has tapped into the unique qualities of social networks to spread a cause while enabling the beneficiaries (small businesses) and the proponents (consumers) to do what they really want to do.
The case is great. Just the quotes from small business owners raving about 20% and greater increases in sales are worth their weight in gold. Will it win next year? Where can the Shop Small program go from here?
Well, American Express has been developing its role as partner to small business for years. They won’t stop here but rather expand what small businesses can do for themselves via resources supplied by Amex (check out their Facebook tab that collects a bunch of social assets for small business people including grants for Twitter advertising.)
They have created an annual ‘tent pole’ with the public and government support earned and now just need to expand with a diligent eye towards what actually delivers more and more value to their small business customers/merchants.
Programs that build enduring bonds with customers are the true gems of the work we all do. I hope we see more programs like this honored in prestigious award events once reserved for he who hath the biggest….TV commercial.
(thanks to Creative Social Blog for pic)