This year’s Cannes Lions mark a shift from the age of celebrated creatives to one of collective creators
With the exception of the wonderfully written and realized Old Spice campaign which picked up the Film Grand Prix, one could easily view this year’s (and last year’s for that matter) Cannes victors as marking a definitive shift in the DNA of great communications.
If the last 50 years of our industry has been beholden to the talents of great individuals (epitomized by Don Draper who magics award-winning ideas out of the bottom of glasses of scotch), campaigns such as AMV’s ‘Choose a different ending’, DDB Stockholm’s ‘Fun Theory’ or Crispin Porter’s ‘Twelpforce’ are characterized by the collective labors of broader teams of creators.
W+K have shown with the Old Spice and Nike ‘Write The Future’ campaigns that the ability to agonize over a 60 second film, to hone and craft every frame and make every split second a delight remains an important skill. But at the same time, such opportunities are increasingly thin on the ground. Spending this much time and effort is only worthwhile if we can ensure that the content will be consumed in a set form; but as we know this is increasingly not the case with consumers assuming control. Just as brands are becoming used to consumers interacting with them on their own terms, so too must agencies.
And this is creating a different approach to idea generation. Where advertising was judged on the basis of its visual and verbal execution, this year’s Cannes winners stand out thanks to the quality of their core ideas, applied to our changing media landscape. A chalk-toting robot which allows consumers to participate in the Tour De France, a platform which enables us to get tech support more efficiently, an experience that gives us an understanding of the causes and consequences of knife violence rather than simply telling us that it’s a bad idea. All of these ideas were the work of creative minds though not the excusive preserve of a conventional creative department. Indeed, without the up-front input of broader teams of creators: media specialists, technologists and industrial designers, none of these inspiring campaigns would ever have seen the light of day.
One of the oldest tricks in the big book of agency tricks is to shame clients by comparing their work to what Nike does (with good reason, what Nike does is usually amazing). Over the last 5 years, my ‘product-is-the-marketing’ Nike+ and ‘mass-customization’ Nikeid case study charts have never been far from my side.
So imagine my excitement when they build on both of these concepts to bring 2 amazing new ideas to market meaning that I can update my trusty charts.
Nike Grid from W+K London applies the gaming principles which have helped location-based services like Foursquare to become so successful to create a game which encourages participants to run and explore their cities in order to earn badges and ‘own their postcode’. One particularly nice touch is that participants check-in using (now almost redundant) London phone boxes, adding a physical presence to the virtual game in addition of providing a useful and meaningful media space to promote the initiative.