A campaign that captured the attention of people around the world through the familiar medium of classified ads took a Grand Prix in the Cyber category at the Cannes Lion festival today.
It was the third big win this week for Queensland Tourism's "The Best Job in the World," which also won in the PR and Direct categories. The campaign, created in Australia by CumminsNitro, sought to drive travel interest in the Great Barrier Reef by offering one person a dream job there.
People wishing to get paid $150,000 to live on an island and blog about it were asked to upload videos suggesting why they were an ideal candidate. Tens of thousands did so, generating buzz and PR attention as local news stations jumped on the story.
Other Grand Prix winners for the night were: AKQA, for Fiat's "Eco:Drive" utility in the U.K., and 42 Entertainment, for the "Why So Serious?" viral campaign on behalf of Warner Bros' flick, "The Dark Knight."
For "Why So Serious," 42 Entertainment created an alternate reality game that featured a string of clues -- including phones hidden in cakes, a sky-written phone number, and flash mobs -- to recruit an army of joker impersonators and create buzz in advance of the film's release. It's the second Grand Prix in this vein for 42 Entertainment, which took one last year for an alternate reality game on behalf of Nine Inch Nails.
"Eco:Drive" used Fiat's in-car USB drive capability to let U.K. car owners track their CO2 emissions via an application. The car records driving data, which is transferred to a USB cable and then ported to a PC. The experience is reminiscent of R/GA's work on Nike-Plus, for which R/GA won the Grand Prix in 2007. The experience let runners port their workout data to the Web by capturing distance, speed, and other information through a combination of Nike's shoe and Apple's iPod technologies.
Like much other celebrated work here, all the top-winning work in the Cyber Lion awards used digital media in concert with other channels -- including newspapers, out-of-home ads, and experience marketing. Likewise, in several other categories Grand Prix winners have embraced interactive media.
The honors are also notable because all three winning agencies are independents. (CumminsNitro was acquired by Sapient after the campaign launch, but is still not part of a holding company.) That suggests the cutting edge of advertising in the digital space, from the point of view of the Cannes Cyber jury in any case, is the doing of free operators.
Second place Gold Lions went to several celebrated digital campaigns and online sensations from the past year. Those include Burger King's "Whopper Sacrifice" (Crispin Porter + Bogusky), which had been favored to win a Grand Prix; The Jewish Council for Education and Research's "The Great Schlep" with Sarah Silverman (Droga 5); Nintendo Wii's "Wario Land Shake it!" (Goodby Silverstein & Partners); and Diesel's "XXX SFW" (the Viral Factory, London).
The videos below display the top three winning campaigns in the Cyber Lion category.
Queensland Tourism "The Best Job in the World" (CumminsNitro):
Fiat "Eco:Drive" (AKQA):
The Dark Knight "Why So Serious" (42 Entertainment):
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.