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?

Still can’t decide who to vote for? Then watch this.

If you still can’t decide who to vote for in tomorrow’s General Election then maybe these two digital resources may help?

First up is this Party Election Broadcast for the Conversative Party.  It’s hard to take any election broadcast seriously but this unofficial version is certainly no exception – it’s presented by my adorable little Goddaughter Hannah!

OK I may be a bit biased but I have to say I found this hilarious and very sweet. But at the same time I’m slightly disturbed that my brother is shamelessly grooming his kids to vote Tory at such a tender age!

Still not convinced? Well if you want a more balanced view before casting your vote then check out this interesting social media initiative I discovered via Google Barometer – the YouTube and Facebook Digital Debate.

YouTube and Facebook Digital Debata

Social media isn’t the answer to everything

I may be an avid proponent of social media but I think we all need a reality check every now and again, just to ensure we don’t get too carried away with ourselves!

Yes, we live in exciting times where a new social ecosystem is having massive implications in the way brands try to engage consumers.  But that’s not to mean social media is the Holy Grail.  Far from it.  Traditional media still plays a pivotal role whether that’s to build brand awareness, brand saliency or brand reappraisal, to generating brand engagement and soliciting a response.  Social media marketing is just another versatile tool at our disposal within the proverbial marketing toolbox.  (In fact, some might call it a Swiss Army penknife but that’s beside the point!)

Anyhow, this promotional clip is a hilarious reminder that social media won’t solve all our problems and can get up its own arse at times.  Fair cop. Although I have to say it’s somewhat ironic that they chose to seed an online video to get their point across;-)

And you thought Philips Carousel was impressive…

I really enjoyed Philips Carousel when it came out 12 months ago and felt it thoroughly deserved all the accolades, not just because of its inventive cinematography but also because it showed just how powerful online video can be as a brand building and buzz generation exercise when executed well.

So like the rest of us, I was looking forward to the next iteration of this campaign and pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed!  Instead of approaching one director, Philips have teamed up with five directors from Ridley Scott Associates and challenged them to create a cutting-edge short film in any genre they liked.  The one stipulation they had to follow was that they all had to use exactly the same script!  It’s quite an ingenious way to articulate the core proposition that there may be numerous ways to tell a story but only one way to actually watch them – on a Philips TV.

For your viewing pleasure I have included all five films below or you can view them in HD in the Parallel Lines microsite here.  Enjoy.

One of the things I particularly like about this campaign is the way they’ve seamlessly integrated multilple disciplines and digital platforms to maximise the social capital of the campaign.   Each platform within the mix fulfils a very specific role to the overall campaign whether that’s to build anticipation or hype around the launch event, encourage consumer participation and collaboration or facilitate the conversation in social media to extend the overall life of the campaign.   I’ll attempt to explain each role in turn from what I’ve gleaned so far.

Building anticipation through blogger outreach

So to build anticipation for the launch, Philips have undertaken a blogger outreach campaign where they’ve sent out intriguing boxes to influential film bloggers.  Inside each box was a note from RSA Films founder Ridley Scott inviting them to work out what the script is and attend the premiere screening.

Hosting the event on YouTube

To celebrate the premiere on 8th April, the homepage of YouTube featured the first ever media player in cinematic 21:9 format featuring scenes from the ‘Parallel Lines’ trailer.  From here consumers could access the dedicated Philips Cinema YouTube channel where the films can be watched on Philips unique ‘Ambiplayer’.

Encouraging participation through crowdsourcing

This year, they’ve also introduced an interesting crowdsourcing element to the campaign where consumers are invited to submit their own short film via their own branded contest channel on YouTube.  I think this is a very clever idea.   No doubt most submissions will be complete dross but I’m sure we’ll see some very intriguing and original interpretations from budding film directors, keen to get the exposure in front of their peers and Sir Ridley Scott!

Extending the life of the campaign through Facebook.

Finally, Philips have also created a dedicated Facebook page to support the campaign which is proactively moderated to produce lively debate and keep the conversation going.  It’s  already attracted a captive audience of 50,000 fans and shows promising signs that it will capture the buzz and generate further excitement around the campaign, not to mention a healthy pool of potential new prospects.

Credits: The Parallel Lines project was developed at DDB London. Digital agency was Tribal DDB Amsterdam.  PR Agency was One Vision.

Cyber Lions Grand Prix winners at Cannes

The Cyber Lions category at the Cannes International Advertising Festival covers a wide range of interactive marketing from websites, microsites, interactive campaigns, online advertising, rich media banners, mobile advertising, interactive tools, email marketing and viral videos.

This year there were three worthy winners who received a Grand Prix within this category.

‘Best Job in the World’ Campaign for Tourism Queensland

best-job-in-the-worldLet’s face it, we’ve all seen the typical tourist ads with beautiful, white sandy beaches, stunning aqua marine life and cliche couples walking off into the  sunset.  Whether it’s inviting us to visit Malta, Turkey, the Greek Islands or the Maldives, the final destination is almost interchangeable as it’s all based on the same consumer insight or creative treatment.

So it’s refreshing to see Tourism Queensland adopt a radically diifferent approach to make their modest marketing budget go that much further.

If you haven’t heard about this campaign yet you clearly love your job too much to even notice! Basically, instead of going down the traditional route, Tourism Queensland decided to place recruitment ads in various global media for a 6 month paid contract on Hamilton Island, describing it as ‘the best job in the world’.

Needless to say it wasn’t long before this campaign went viral.  What a great way to raise awareness of this beautiful destination whilst indirectly communicating the island’s key features. As an aside, I met a proctologist last week which must surely be the worst job in the world!  Given the choice, I think I’d much rather be a beach bum than a bum specialists!

Credit: Campaign created by Nitro

Fiat Eco:Drive campaign

The Fiat Eco:Drive system is an innovative application to help drivers reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions. Fiat drivers essentially have to download and install the Eco Drive Adobe Air application on their computers, sync a USB stick with the app and then plug the stick into the Fiat’s Blue and Me port. After driving somewhere, you can plug the USB stick back into your computer to upload all your driving data, whereupon it’s analysed to give you recommendations on how to improve your driving habits and ultimately your fuel efficiency.

Credit: AKQA London, UK

Warner Brothers ‘Why So Serious’ campaign for Dark Knight

I’ve always been fascinated with Alternative Reality Games ever since McKinney’s ground breaking Audi Heist a few years ago.  The amount of preparation, organisation and planning which goes into these sorts of campaigns  is absolutely mind-boggling and I particularly love the way it blurs the lines between the virtual world and reality.

For the launch of the film Dark Knight, Warner Brothers launched a meticulous ARG campaign to build buzz around the film, engaging 10 million participants in the process. Rather than try to explain it here, your best bet is to watch this video. Pure genius.

VW GTi takes poll position with virtual Scalextrics

To coincide with the UK launch of the new Golf GTI on May 22, Volkswagen have just developed a fully interactive campaign microsite called the GTI project. The GTI Project celebrates the car and its history and consists of a virtual racing game which is modelled on an actual Scalextric track in order to demonstrate the vehicle’s handling capabilities.

There are some nice touches too, from figuring out how to access the secret location to the lab technicians putting you back into position when you inevitably career off the tracks! There are also plenty of opportunities to find out more about the car including accessing the configurator and other shopping tools. As an added incentive, all competitors who succeed in completing the course within a certain lap time are entered into a free prize draw to test drive a GTI for 3 months.


vw race

It’s a simple yet inspired idea which is well executed, rooted on the product USP whilst tapping into the increasing popularity of online gaming which is likely to appeal to the GTI audience. And because of the competitive nature of the game it should have huge viral potential as players challenge their friends to the top spot on their own leaderboard.

In fact, if you fancy racing against me you can join my league called ‘If only I could win this’.

Bring it on!


If only we’d thought of a karaoke flashmob

Following T-mobile’s success of the ‘Dance flashmob’ in Liverpool Street Station, the telecoms brand has followed this up with the next iteration of the campaign…a karaoke flashmob.

For any sceptics out there who may think this is just a simple publicity stunt, think again. This recent campaign is an excellent example of how Participation Marketing, combined with social media, can be employed to create significant brand engagement.

To build anticipation and encourage consumers to take part in the event, T-mobile posted a video clip on YouTube inviting them to come to Trafalgar Square on Thursday 30th April at 6pm. The video was viewed 28,000 views.

A crowd of 13,500 people turned up to the event where they were provided with microphones to sing along to a number of tunes including Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, The Foundations’ “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Hey Jude”. Pink was also there as a mystery guest to add to the excitement.

The ad was then broadcast last night for the first time during Britain’s Got Talent which boasts viewing figures of 11.9 million.

Post event
Where participation marketing comes into its own however is the way in which participants vocalise their enthusiam for the event off their own back. There was heightened chat on Twitter leading up to the event and this has been growing ever since.

A quick search on flickr also reveals 330 independent search results for ‘T-mobile Trafalgar Square‘ which will be viewed by an extensive network of flickr followers. And as you’d expect, literally hundreds of participants have uploaded their own mobile clips from the event on YouTube, generating hundreds of thousands of views and discussions to boot.

To help fuel the hype T-mobile have also created a YouTube channel dedicated to their sing-along ‘Life’s for sharing’ campaign which currently enjoys 3,500 subscribers and 1 million views across a number of video assets.

Perhaps what’s most impressive is that all this buzz has been achieved within the last 3 days. Which goes to show that Participation Marketing, when combined with the power of social media and broadcast TV, can be an extremely effective way to build brand awareness, engagement and evangelism.