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#CannesLions — Everyone is a Creative Director

How and from whom is creativity generated?  At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, it may seem odd that something this fundamental is actually being asked.

Yet, in an industry where mathematicians, statisticians and engineers now stand shoulder-to-shoulder with art directors, answering that question is not as straightforward as one would think.

For the first time, Cannes Lions today unveiled its Lions Innovation event.  Described as a “festival within a festival,” Lions Innovation is a two-day event where data, technology and creativity intersect.   On its site, Cannes Lions describes itself as the industry’s “mirror” – acknowledging that “data and technology are driving creative solutions in ways never seen before.”   It’s a theme that has permeated much of the week’s programming.

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In fact, during a Microsoft/Fast company panel  yesterday entitled “Creativity That Matters – How Brands and Agencies Drive Impact” Wendy Clark, President, Sparkling Brands & Strategic Marketing, Coca-Cola North America, said something that really struck a chord.  Strategists – not artists – are developing the most incredible creative work.   Panel participants, Kathleen Hall of Microsoft and Sophie Kelly of The Barbarian Group, were in full agreement as well.

Driving home the point, Audi’s Luca De Meo told a packed audience during his talk “The Moon.  Land  of Quattro,” that the most creative people play not just with words, but with numbers as well.

Today’s creativity comes from some unlikely places.  From data.  From technology.  From strategy.  In the past, that may have seemed more than a little counterintuitive.  But at the 62nd Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, it’s becoming abundantly clear.  Everyone in the industry – whatever their title – is a “Creative Director.”

Think Nothing Big Happened at the Super Bowl? Think Again.

Sunday night proved to be a bit of a bore with the Seahawks dominating the entirety of the game. So what kept us watching at DGC? The marketing showdown of course! Here are a few trends that emerged from the biggest night in advertising:

  • Nostalgia trumped glitz: A lot of brands like Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet and Maserati took the sentimental route, opting for feel-good over splashy spots. For example, Microsoft inspired us with a :60 spot narrated by Steve Gleason, a former NFL player with ALS, through the use of eye tracking technology on a tablet. Steve speaks about how technology has the power to “take us places we’ve only dreamed of” as we see images of technology helping a woman hear for the first time, a child run with prosthetic legs and an elderly man losing his eyesight paint.
  • Brands ambush the Super Bowl: Brands that didn’t have TV spots during the big game got creative in how to reach large audiences. Newcastle was a winner, enlisting Anna Kendrick to star in its video “Behind the Scenes of the Mega Huge Football Game Ad Newcastle Brown Ale Almost Made.” While on the other end of the spectrum, jcpenney was sending out tweets filled with typos, calling it a stunt to promote its “Go USA” mittens. Other brands certainly had fun in the social conversation – Coors Light chimed in to suggest the department store drink responsibly and Kia offered a designated driver.
  • Light humor reigned: There was far less over the top, slapstick humor during this year’s big game. Outside of the expected Go Daddy ad, brands and advertisers went with lighter humor. Take Volkswagen’s “Wings” spot created by Project: Worldwide agency ARGONAUT where every 100,000 miles, a German engineer received a pair of wings. And in TurboTax’s “Love Hurts,” the brand compared watching the game between two teams that aren’t your own to watching your crush dance the night away at prom with a cool dude that isn’t you. And, on another nostalgic note, DGC client David&Goliath brought us back to The Matrix in its newest spot for Kia.
  • Double spots: Brands like Pistachio and Chevy doubled up on spots during the game. For instance, we got to see Stephen Colbert try to rely on his fame alone to carry the pistachio commercial but unfortunately fell short. In the second spot, the branding is amplified to the point where Colbert cracks his head open to reveal a pistachio inside.

And it didn’t stop there. Denver-based DGC client and Project: Worldwide agency Motive, along with Mekanism, created the Super Bowl Halftime Show for Pepsi. And DGC client Pandora hosted a “Pandora Presents” Event at the Bud Light Hotel in NYC on January 31. The show was headlined by Imagine Dragons, who just came off its well-received Grammy performance and Grammy award win the previous weekend.

We hope you enjoyed game day as much as we did. What was your favorite part?

Successful Women Share “Perspectives” on Work-Life Balance with Katie Kempner

Katie Kempner was on set at this year’s Advertising Week event, filming episodes for her show, “Perspectives with Katie Kempner.” The interviews were also streamed live through a partnership with Huffington Post LIVE to help deliver insights from many highly successful women to those that couldn’t attend this year’s Advertising Week in person.

The interviews are designed to inspire and empower women in their quest to live happy, healthy and meaningful lives, both personally and professionally through their career. Katie’s interviewees share their personal (and sometimes hilarious) stories of work-life balance and how to embrace all of the twists and turns that a career in advertising and marketing can present, from how to create your own version of modern-day balance, the challenges that come with trying to be “always on” and why a fabulous pair of shoes can help you more than you think.

Check out these “Perspectives” interviews from Advertising Week to hear more insights from these successful business women:

Amanda_Morgan_McAllister

Amanda Morgan McAllister, Head of U.S. Marketing for Microsoft Advertising

Heidi_Browning

Heidi Browning, SVP, Strategic Solutions at Pandora

Sharon Napier

Sharon Napier, CEO Partners + Napier, a Project:WorldWide Agency

Nancy Reyes

Nancy Reyes, Managing Director of Goodby Silverstein & Partners NY

At Microsoft, Everyone Contributes to Creative Process

Microsoft’s Global Creative Director Jeremy Grubaugh explained his approach to embracing chaos as part of the creative process this way: Be aware of all your options.

“Every year there are new ways to communicate with an audience,” Grubaugh said. “And their expectations for how you communicate with them are heightened.”

Grubaugh was part of the Creative Innovation Roundtable on Sept. 26 at the Times Center Hall during Advertising Week, and he praised the inclusive culture of Microsoft which enhances his own approach to managing. For example, Grubaugh believes that a person need not be a designer by training or even have used a piece of design software in order to contribute ideas about how Microsoft products should work.

Consumers have an inherent sense of how hardware and software should function depending on what they’re trying to achieve, he said. Therefore, Microsoft’s internal creative environment is an inclusive one in which people are often pulled into any of the numerous “idea rooms” from other departments to contribute ideas. “If the white boards aren’t full, we’re not doing our jobs,” Grubaugh declared.

When panel moderator Dan Chandler, Associate Creative Director at Sid Lee, asked the panelists when a new product is ready for the public to see and use, Grubaugh answered: “I’m of the as-soon-as possible mentality. The sooner we can test [products], on a small scale and a large scale, is the best way we can evolve more rapidly.”

His fellow panelists concurred, saying consumer expectations have risen so high that organizations must be much more nimble in addressing their dissatisfaction quickly.

Earlier, Grubaugh told The Hit Board, that he considers himself a “miner” of sorts.

“I scour MSN, Bing, Xbox Live, Skype, Windows 8 and all our other platforms to discover all the features and how to leverage them on behalf of a brand or advertising experience.” His team is working closely with Skype right now to understand how brands might have a synchronous dialogue within the intimate connection between two people having a face-to-face phone call.

Click the video below to hear what Grubaugh thinks has not changed about the consumer-brand even in the chaos of this digital age.

Dan Chandler, Associate Creative Director, Sid Lee, moderated the panel which included Christoph Becker, CEO & CCO of Gyro;  Tim Cronin SVP Global Sales, Mocean Mobile; Arianna Orland Creative Director, Zynga Global Brand; and Shawn Poe Creative Director, InMobi Creative Services North America.

DGC Live at Advertising Week: Building The Sound of Your Brand

Music has become infused into plenty of marketers’ strategies – from using songs in ad campaigns, partnering with artists for tours, and creating live events with an artist in mind. Finding a pitch perfect song or artist for your brand is part art, part science – and all about authenticity.

Pandora SVP Strategic Solutions Heidi Browning moderates “Building the Sounds of Your Brand”

Pandora SVP Strategic Solutions Heidi Browning moderates “Building the Sounds of Your Brand”

That was the focus of the panel hosted by Pandora Radio titled “Building The Sound of Your Brand,” moderated by Pandora’s Heidi Browning.  Panelists included Aaron Fetters from Kellogg, Ryan Gavin from Microsoft, Colin Jeffery from David&Goliath, and Jeannette Perez from Sony Music Entertainment.

“Music is a huge part of what we do on the creative side,” said Colin Jeffery, Executive Creative Director at David&Goliath. “When we launched the Kia Soul campaign six years ago, we had an odd brief on a semi-odd car. So we created the ad, and played it with different music, to help see what felt right. Our spot with the Hamsters has been one of the top 5 commercials viewed on YouTube.”

Ryan Gavin had a different approach to incorporating music into ads. “What we did with our Internet Explorer commercial was to find the right song, then carve the ad from there. We just played it on repeat and created a great spot. When you have people searching ‘Internet Explorer Commercial Song,’ you’ve done your job right for both the artist and the brand.”

As data continues to be one of the top trends to predict success and influence, Heidi Browning, SVP Strategic Solutions at Pandora noted the success of a song in an advertisement. “After the Internet Explorer ad with Alex Clare, Alex saw a 6000% increase in new radio stations. LMFAO saw a similar increase and only continued to climb in following their ad with the Kia Hamsters.”

For Kellogg’s, they’ve partnered with several companies, including Pandora and Live Nation, to create custom radio stations and events on behalf of their Pop Tarts Brand. “Pop Tarts is meant to be a fun, ‘crazy good’ brand,” said Aaron Fetters, Director of Insights and Analytics Solutions Center at Kellogg Company. “We created a right music that fit the brand, and we were able to meet all of our key metrics of success and reach our target audience in a fun, unique way.”

One of the keys to success is remembering the human element to working with bands. “We are dealing with human beings,” said Jeannette Perez, VP, Music for Brands, Advertising & Licensing, Sony Music Entertainment. “We have to fulfill the client’s needs, but we also need to respect our artists. It needs to be an authentic partnership.” The entire panel was in agreement.

At the close of the panel, the panelists all agreed that music is a universally appealing medium to connect with consumers, but stressed the importance that the brand, artist, and song must all be in alignment for the partnership to truly work and be considered a success for everyone – especially consumers.

Microsoft Unveils Insights to Complement TV Campaigns with Digital

Today at OMMA Video, Microsoft presented research conducted in conjunction with several key advertising partners and commissioned by Nielsen on how TV and online video advertising can work together to reach consumers. David Porter, Global Strategy Lead of Video at Microsoft, revealed five of the research insights in MediaPost to help brands better understand how digital video campaigns can complement a standard TV campaign.

Take a look at the article below from David Porter, global strategy lead, video at Microsoft, to learn more:

TV and online video have often been depicted as being in “platform wars” against each other.

David Porter, global strategy lead, video at Microsoft

David Porter, global strategy lead, video at Microsoft

Despite the emergence of several new screens over the last few years, television remains the most effective way for advertisers to reach an audience at scale. Yet as viewing habits evolve and more quality content becomes available online, advertisers should consider how to connect with their consumers outside the confines of the traditional living room. 

Historically, marketers have faced a number of hurdles on how to successfully evaluate TV and online video. It can be difficult to identify and target an incremental audience online. Secondly, digital screens have yet to see the meaningful scale that television has reliably provided advertisers — and until recently, consumer access to broadcast-quality premium content online was very limited. Finally, from a measurement standpoint, the industry has lacked a consistent methodology standard to measure audiences across platforms, devices and screens.

Yet TV and digital video can truly work in concert together to surround the consumer with the best of sight, sound and motion across all screens.

Microsoft, in conjunction with several key advertising partners, commissioned Nielsen to conduct research examining how TV and online video advertising can work together to achieve optimal reach, frequency and GRP metrics. After more than a year spent on research and analysis, we have revealed five practical insights that intend to help brands better understand how digital video campaigns can complement a standard TV campaign… [CONTINUE READING]

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