Old Spice 'Responses,' 'Wilderness Downtown' and 'Pay With a Tweet' Earn Top Cyber Honors at Cannes
No Debate in Jury Room for Three U.S. WinnersBy: Ann-Christine Diaz, Published: Jun 22, 2011
The Cyber jury, led by jury president Nick Law, chief creative officer of R/GA, named three Grand Prix winners, which together reflected the increasing diversity and maturity of the category as a whole: Arcade Fire's "Wilderness Downtown" promoting the Chrome browser; the Old Spice "Responses" campaign, out of Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.; and Innovative Thunder's "Pay With a Tweet." All of the categories were created out of the U.S., giving the country its first big wins at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
What they are:
"Wilderness Downtown": The interactive music video created by @radical.media's Chris Milk and Google's Aaron Koblin, out of Google Creative Lab, promoted Arcade Fire's track "We Used to Wait" off "The Suburbs" album as well as the Google Chrome browser. The HTML 5-enabled experience utilized a viewer's hometown address, multiple Chrome windows and Google Maps to create a highly personalized, nostalgic journey that corresponded to the track's lyrics.
Old Spice "Responses" campaign: The social-media follow-up to "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," last year's film Grand Prix winner, has taken top honors at other awards shows like the Andy Awards and One Show Interactive. The team at Wieden & Kennedy created 186 real-time, on-the-fly online videos in which Isaiah Mustafa directly addressed Old Spice fans, press and celebrities. The campaign helped to make Old Spice's YouTube channel the No. 1 branded channel on the site and also helped to double sales for the brand's body wash.
Innovative Thunder's "Pay With a Tweet": R/GA associate creative directors Christian Behrendt and Leif Abrams, aka Innovative Thunder, came up with a social-media currency system to promote their book "Oh My God What Happened and What Should I Do?" Anyone who tweeted the book received a downloadable copy for free. The system has since been adopted by celebrities and companies to help promote their brands.
Why they won:
"Wilderness Downtown": Juror Christina Brown, VP-creative director, CloudRaker, Canada, said: "It was, on some level, a really beautiful product demonstration because you had to use Chrome in order to have the experience, and added to that was some beautiful creative thinking where they embedded Google Maps." Also, it made Swedes cry: Forsman & Bodenfors Creative Director Robert Lund added, "I was watching it in Firefox, but the experience sucked. I've seen people first watching and almost breaking down into tears because it's so beautiful. It's both a music video and advertising -- to me it's one of the best product launches I've ever seen in the digital world."
Old Spice "Responses": Outside of the mechanics of making the social-media campaign happen, said Lean Mean Fighting Machine's Dave Bedwood, it also came down to the "skill of someone being able to write a joke. You've got the technology side, but at the end of the day, some people just want to laugh. And that's no mean feat, to make someone laugh is tough. To write joke after joke quickly on the fly, that's a skill that should be celebrated as well."
"Pay With a Tweet": A PR effort that turned into its own product. "If they just promoted the book, it wouldn't even be on the shortlist," Mr. Lund said. "Forget the book, they actually turned "Pay With a Tweet" into a product. From the case study you can see that there were 12,000 other vendors that already started to use it. What they did was create an internet currency. They solved something people have been trying to figure out for 20 years. It opens up new doors for how we can act in the digital world." Also, it helped to add real definition, in the marketing world, to a social tool. Juror Tiffany Rolfe, chief creative officer at CP&B, Los Angeles, noted that it "gave great definition to something [Twitter] we've been using in a free way, kind of mindlessly. Now, I can apply it to a payment and say it is valuable. It was a nice way of redefining how we use our voice on the internet."
Mr. Law presided over a jury of 24 people from 22 countries, including two jurors each from the U.K. -- Mr. Bedwood, creative partner of Lean Mean Fighting Machine, and Stephan Beringer, international president of Digitas and Razorfish -- and the U.S. -- Ms. Rolfe and AKQA Creative Director Ginny Golden.
Entries as a whole showed that the category "is mature enough and diverse enough that clients are getting their money's worth," said Mr. Law. "The work was not just interesting and innovative -- there wasn't the digital pile of tricks that got us all excited in the past. There was just good, solid innovation that was helping clients' business."
The mix of winners themselves reflected the complexity and evolution of the Cyber category, Mr. Law added. "We had some pretty diverse Grand Prix winners, very different," he said. "It ranges from something that you'd sit back and let it wash over you as a piece of entertainment, delivered through a very innovative series of screens, and then we've got something that on the surface looks like classic advertising, but behind the scenes, the mechanics of it -- there is some pretty intelligent social-media thinking -- and the last thing, which is a new way to use social media. It almost changes commerce through the lens of social media. Three very different things. As a jury, we were faced with having to judge that sort of diversity, that's why I think this is the hardest category to judge. On one hand you're judging classic narratives, on the other hand you're judging systematic, tech solutions."
Another obvious trend was that websites and banner ads, "what used to be staple of the category, have sort of become marginalized," Mr. Law said. "The things that used to be on the periphery are now at the center, especially mobile and social media."
What the jury didn't like:
Said Mr. Bedwood: "The hardest thing for me, judging, was trying to get past the awards videos. What's really interesting about the cyber category is that it's so diverse. Confusion is what's brilliant about it because from that you get surprises, but also what you get is a lot of bullshit because it opens the gateway for salesmanship with the awards videos. What did real people outside the awards jury really see and how good was that piece? That for me was the biggest challenge judging, getting around the salesmanship of agencies."
Controversy or clear winner?
There was no debate on the Grand Prix winners. "I think it's important to say that it was unanimous," Mr. Lund said. Added Mr. Law: "There was a group of work we really liked, but it was, I think, one of the swiftest decisions in the history of juries. We had some excruciating, long days before we got to the medal rounds, where we got it out of our system and we figured out as a group. When it came to it, we thought we were going to be in there for a while, but then we sat down and finished in five minutes. It was pretty unanimous."
Outside of the three Grand Prix, the jury awarded 21 Gold, 15 Silver and 42 Bronze Lions.