Cannes Lions International Awards – Integrated/direct

Orcon is a New Zealand telecommunications company offering fast broadband and is relatively unknown in a marketplace which is dominated by major players. Their latest campaign, however, has just been awarded the Grand Prix for Direct Lions and it’s easy to see why.

The campaign invited Kiwi musicians to audition online for a chance to perform ‘The Passenger’ alongside Iggy Pop in a virtual performance.  In fact, it’s not too dissimilar to the wonderfully ambitious YouTube’s Symphony Orchestra.

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To me, this is another example of the growing trend of using digital live events and participation marketing to convey brand messages in a more involving and compelling way.  Whilst there was ATL support, online and social media were central to this campaign from managing and showcasing the audition process via Facebook to performing the track live online from multiple locations with Iggy Pop in his Miami studio.

To be honest, the campaign results are not that impressive in my view which is a shame as I like the idea.  200 auditions and 3200 fans on facebook is not exactly going to set the world on fire and I’m sceptible of their claim that sales were up by 30% since last year, as I doubt this can be totally attributed to this campaign. (Don’t you just love award entries?!)

I can only speculate but had they invested more heavily in ATL support this campaign would have been more successful.  It’s essential  for online events like this that the audition process gets given enough airtime to gain traction as it’s often this which creates the buzz more than the event itself.  You’ve only got to look at Ford’s Fiestamovements to see that the recruitment phase was a critical component to the campaign’s overall success .  I don’t know the brand well enough but I would also question whether aspiring musicians are perhaps a little too niche to appeal to the wider broadband audience.

But hey,  it’s easy to sit here with the benefit of hindsight and fire off cricitism – it’s much harder to actually get something like this off the ground and make it happen.  So overall, I think it’s an ambitious and innovative campaign for what is a relatively uninspiring, low engagement sector and for that they deserve this recognition at Cannes.

What do you think?  Creative over-indulgence or an inspiring way to generate brand engagement?

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