Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 60th Anniversary Cannes Lions Festival, a celebration of creativity and the advertising industry's largest awards show.
My favorite thing about the festival each year is how inspiring the work is from around the globe. This year's festival was no exception. The Philippines won its first Lion, and Australia cleaned up across virtually every category (more on that below). Simply put, in a matter of days, Cannes gives U.S. marketers a glimpse into the world's best and most innovative campaigns from the past 12 months. Below, a few of my favorite winners and how to harness the essence of their success for your brand:
"Dumb Ways To Die" - McCann Melbourne
This piece of branded content, which took home a ton of top awards, shows utterly cute animated creatures meeting their maker in unbelievably stupid ways. It's brisk, it's catchy, it's entertaining, and it did that rare thing we all hope to achieve with our video content - it crossed over from advertising into mainstream popular culture.
Takeaway: The piece is three minutes in length - and it deserves to be. While digital may have rendered the :30 spot obsolete, don't abuse that freedom. Let your story guide your content's length.
"Cinder" - The Barbarian Group
Cinder won the first-ever "Innovation" Lion, a new category at Cannes this year meant to reward innovation and technology that helps creatives better connect with their consumers. I'm no engineer, but it seems that Cinder, an open-source C++ coding platform TBG created in-house to solve its own challenges, is a godsend for the creative community. I can only say that the outputs are pretty darn impressive:
Takeaway: Technology is creative. Think of the tools you have at your disposal - all the tools - and use them to your advantage.
"Smart Textbooks" - Smart Communications With DDB DM9JaymeSyfu
This campaign was the Philippines' first-ever Grand Prix winner, in the mobile advertising category. While tablets and e-readers are commonplace in U.S. classrooms and homes, most schools and families can't afford these devices in the Philippines. In this campaign, Smart (the leading mobile telco in the Philippines) worked with textbook writers to develop lessons that can be accessed via a SIM card on a cellphone.
Takeaway: Like Cinder above, this campaign is about making the most of tools you have. It's also about tapping into consumer behavior and incorporating mobile in smart ways that make sense for your audience.
"The Bridge of Life" - Cheil Worldwide With Samsung Life Insurance
Through the simple technology of motion sensors, Samsung successfully turned a bridge better known for suicide attempts into an uplifting, interactive public space. The technology senses when pedestrians enter the bridge or move too close to its edges, and signals interactive lights on the guardrails to light up with greetings, photos, and positive messages.
Takeaway: The best ideas are usually simple. Samsung's goal was to get people to the other side of the bridge. What's your goal? Is there a simple, elegant way to achieve it?
"Thunderclap" - De-De, a Droga5 Spinoff
This new social platform gives huge amplification to individual messages, letting a single post be mass-shared, flash-mob-style throughout social media. Essentially, a user or organization posts a message it would like to share. Other users can "volunteer" their social networks to help spread the message, and when the message hits a pre-designated threshold (think Kickstarter), the message hits the social sphere all at once - boom! - with a thunderclap.
Takeaway: Use this especially for your cause marketing campaigns.
Upcoming Webinar: PPC Pause and Reflections for 2013
Thursday, December 12 - 2013 was a major turning point in search advertising. With Google's Enhanced Campaigns and Bing's innovative Smart Search capabilities in Windows 8.1, now is a great time to pause, reflect, and plan for the new year.
Webinar attendance is free. Sign up today!
Kristin Kovner is a digital marketing, technology, and media industry veteran. Her firm, K-SQUARED STRATEGIES, helps high-growth media and tech companies develop and execute best-in-class marketing strategies. Prior to opening her own consultancy, Kristin served as the Vice President of Marketing Strategy at AOL, where she managed the AOL and AOL Advertising brands and set and executed the go-to-market strategy for AOL's owned and operated websites, including AOL.com, Moviefone, MapQuest, Engadget, and The Huffington Post.
Prior to joining AOL, Kristin served as the Head of Industry Marketing for YouTube and held various roles on Google's marketing team. Kristin has also worked as a journalist for Newsweek and SmartMoney, The Wall Street Journal's magazine, and as an economic consultant at Bates White LLC.
Kristin graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Yale College and currently lives in New York City.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT