Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Brand Content/ Entertainment Awards

All of the commercials that won awards differed by country, however they all related by integrating the use of social media into their campaigns which is why we think they were so successful.

In the brand/ product category, Chipotle, Samsung, and Volkswagen received gold awards.

Chipotle integrated the use of mobile apps and online games for children, while also informing the public of Chipotle’s healthy cooking ways.

Samsung reminded us about the Oscars selfie and how it crashed Twitter and other social media platforms through the use of the Samsung Galaxy phone.

Volkswagen and Brazil launched a campaign to bring back an old product, the Volkswagen “magic bus” in a nostalgic campaign. The campaign also used social media to interact with its consumers and get them involved in the telling of their memories of this historic vehicle.

In the integrated campaign category, Honda won a gold award and used similar techniques as Volkswagen in trying to revive the use of drive in movie theatres across the US. They used social media platforms to gain publicity for this fading American tradition. Unfortunately, no award was given for Grand Prix because the jury felt that no campaign was good enough.

Commercial Critique 3

“Bucket List” by WaterIsLife was the third advertisement I critiqued from the festival. This excellent commercial is a prime example of storytelling in advertising. The commercial follows the story of four-year-old Nkaitole in Kenya. To illustrate the fact that 1 in 5 children die before the age of five in Kenya from unclean drinking water, WaterIsLife fulfills Nkaitole’s bucket list. We watch him experience these life wishes throughout the commercial.  The creators of this production beautifully capture the young boy as he lives his dreams of leaving his village for the first time. We watch as he experiences moments including riding his first boat, outrunning the world’s fastest man, riding an airplane, seeing the ocean for the first time, getting a massage, taking a hot air balloon ride, and even having his first kiss. The commercial then closes with the statistics for young children in Kenya, asking the audience to donate and help provide clean water to Nkaitole and children like him.
“Bucket List” uses many factors to produce a successful and very effective commercial. The creative angle that the advertisers took in showing the bucket list of a four-year-old child distinguishes this commercial from the many other “save the children” ads of its kind. The creators took this dark and devastating concept and made it lighter through upbeat music and a lovable story of Nkaitole. Instead of leaving the audience in a sad and depressed state, the commercial creates an attachment of the viewers to precious Nkaitole. I believe that touching the hearts of the audience in an endearing way, such as making them fall in love with Nkaitole, invokes a proactive and motivated spirit in the viewers, versus the depressing emotions usually portrayed in this kind of ad. The videography and sound techniques also distinguish the WaterIsLife commercial from its other competitors. Stunning imagery is used in following Nkaitole in his journey, and the audience is able to see the world through the young boy’s eyes. The sound and audio is also brilliantly used in this advertisement. The viewers can feel as if they are right next to Nkaitole, hearing the sounds of the ocean for the first time with him. The creativity, emotion, and video skill that went into the production of “Bucket List” all contribute to the beautiful advertisement that won many awards this week at the festival.

 Link for the commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYf82F3CHYo

Commercial Critique 2

“Happily Married Parents” for HBO Go was another one of my favorite winners from the festival this year. The setting of the commercial is in a typical American family room. A mother, father, and their two teenage children are watching a show on television that uses explicit language and refers to divorce. The parents then pause the TV and begin awkwardly reassuring the teenagers that they would never get a divorce, eventually leading into an uncomfortable sex talk (a teen’s worst nightmare). The whole scenario is hilarious, and the commercial ends frozen on the teenagers’ horrified expressions accompanied by the tagline “May be a good time for HBO Go.”
This advertisement for HBO Go is absolutely hilarious and very effective in my opinion. The advertisers used a relatable everyday experience, humor, and a shock factor (the use of language and sexual innuendos) to create a very effective and memorable ad. Both teenagers and parents can identify with the awkwardness of watching certain television shows or movies together, and the commercial portrays this situation in a comic and entertaining way. The advertisement is also very effective because it explicitly shows a problem and how purchasing the advertised product can solve it. The straightforward communication provides a clear and easily understood message to the viewers.
The only criticism I would deliver for this commercial is that, in comparison to some of the other winners, it lacks meaning and depth. A commercial like “Happily Married Parents,” while entertaining in the moment, could be easily forgotten as soon as the ad ends. However, I feel that the humor and language used, combined with the relatable situation depicted, all contribute to this advertisement being a top contender this year.

Commercial Critique 1

“Pick Them Back Up” by Proctor and Gamble was definitely one of my favorite award-winning commercials this year. The commercial was produced around the time of the Sochi Winter Olympics and pays tribute to the mothers of the Olympians with a subtle advertisement for Proctor and Gamble’s household products. The ad begins by showing young Olympians-to-be repeatedly falling in the snow, on the ice, etc., and being “picked up” and taken care of afterwards by their many mothers. These falling scenes then fast forward to glory moments of the “grown-up” Olympians as their mothers cheer ecstatically in the stands. The commercial closes with the slogan “For teaching us that falling only makes us stronger. Thank you, Mom.”
This advertisement by P&G won many awards, so over the course of the festival, I viewed it many times. Each time I watched the commercial, I was continually impressed and captivated. I believe that this ad is very effective, as it appeals to a large audience-- mothers, children, and sports enthusiasts and fans. The music and videography, along with the exciting and emotional scenes, all contribute to an attention-grabbing and enjoyable commercial experience. The timing of this commercial was also brilliant and strategic, and the buzz of the Olympics definitely added to the enthusiasm of the ad’s audience.
The only criticism I have for this piece is that it is not a direct advertisement for a specific product. While the commercial is definitely an incredible piece of work, I feel that the link between the ad and the advertiser may not be 100% clear to all viewers. The logos of the products being promoted flash very quickly at the end, but there is no obvious display of these products. However, today, many advertisements and commercials use less direct marketing for products and instead communicate ideas or causes. Although an immediate connection with the product and the ad may not be explicit, these forms of advertisements have proved to be very successful in today’s industry. 
Overall, I completely agree with the awards that “Pick Them Back Up” received, and I feel that the accolades given to the commercial were very deserving. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Day 7

The awards ceremony today was incredible! Just simply being in the same room with the world's best and most celebrated advertisers was an experience I will never forget. I really enjoyed watching all of the work on the screen and comparing the many different ads to each other. The festival was such a grand production, and the Cannes Lions staff did a terrific job of hosting it. I particularly enjoyed hearing Bono speak as he accepted his award. 

My favorite winning advertisement was definitely the "Marmite Neglect" commercial. It was hilarious and so clever and creative. I also was very impressed by the Volvo "Most Epic Split Campaign." (The music from that one will be stuck in my head for the rest of the week....) 

I can't help but be sad that this week of the festival is over! From the valuable information I learned during seminars to the conversations I had with professionals, I have definitely learned more in this week than I ever could inside a classroom. I will take these experiences and lessons with me into any future career. 

Day 6

One highlight of my day was the McDonald's seminar on "How to Avoid Client Promiscuity." We heard from a panel of marketers from different agencies, all who have worked on different ads for McDonald's. The conversation centered around how to best work with a client in order to develop a loyal and lasting relationship. They discussed how clients expect the agency to be as involved and committed to the business as the client is. They also talked about the creative product as everyone's responsibility, and how a collaborative focus on quality is key. 
I enjoyed hearing them also heavily emphasize advertising as the "people business." As advertisers, we must know every aspect of the consumer market. We should use the product, fully participating with the brand in order to grasp the experience we are selling. Each of the speakers said that for inspiration, they will go to a McDonald's establishment, observing the consumer use the product. When they watch the consumer market in action with McDonald's, they are able to capture the special moments, translating them into the successful ads they produce. The key is grasping the relationship of the consumer with the brand. The best advertising is able to portray the essence of the brand in a real and personal way for the consumer. 
Another highlight of today was a great conversation I had with a Creative Director from Brazil. I told him my plans of pursuing Account Management, but how I always have secretly wished I was "good enough" to go into creative. I've always felt that I am a creative person, just not as creative and brilliant as the some of the creatives I've seen work. He urged me to not dismiss creative until I've had more experience. It was awesome to hear such real advice from someone in the industry. I'm definitely considering creative more after this conversation... We'll see where I end up. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Day 5

Today I started by attending the "How to Prevent Death by Yes" workshop. I personally gained a lot by participating in this session because saying "no" is often very difficult for me. I avoid confrontation in any situation, and sometimes this trait of mine translates into my saying "yes" just to avoid conflict. In this workshop I learned that this quality can lead to sub-par work in advertising. In order to produce the best advertising possible, learning to say "no" to a project is necessary if there are better possible solutions than what is put in front of me. In this class we were split into groups of 5, and the activities we were given really helped me to frame conflict as a positive and growing experience, sometimes unavoidable in getting the best advertising results in the end. 

I also listened in on Rob Lowe's seminar today. I was looking forward to hearing from Rob because I love some of his work in the movie industry. Although the interviewer tended to ask him more personal questions instead of ones actually pertaining to advertising, I still was able to take away some good points from Rob. He talked about how as an actor, he must master communication to the consumer, much like advertising. He also described how stars brand themselves-- it's not enough today to concentrate on art alone, they must brand themselves as actors. 
I learned that making choices that are different, but staying loyal to your own brand is key-- as advertisers we must follow trends but stay true to ourselves. Rob also advised the audience to write and communicate what people know to be real; what they actually think, say, and feel in order to produce effective advertising. 

I can definitely tell that the pace of the festival is starting to slow down as the week begins to come to a close. I'm really excited for the awards on Saturday and sad that our time in Cannes is wrapping up in a couple of days! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day 4

Cannes hosted another round of exciting speakers on this Wednesday of the festival. The first seminar I attended was the YouTube session with Dreamworks and Vice called "The Art of Storytelling." The whole idea of storytelling through advertising has really captivated my attention since I heard about it at the beginning of the festival. So many speakers and themes have touched on this idea so far, so I really enjoyed hearing some of the best storytellers in the world discuss it. They talked about how in the video and film industry, viewers are most connected to content that is authentic, relatable, and real. All of these same qualities are also so relevant in the advertising industry as well. As advertisers, we should be communicating relevant and identifiable messages to the consumer population in order for them to fully connect with the brand. 

The other highlight of my day was our personal meeting with Armando Iannucci. I had to keep pinching myself because we were literally five feet away from, and in normal conversation with, an incredible producer and global name. Armando is such a genuine and natural speaker, and he engaged all of us the entire time. I really enjoyed hearing his views of American politics and hearing the stories of his experiences as a British citizen in Washington DC. He had such great insight for us as creative students, and I feel so fortunate to have been in such a casual and personal setting with him. 

Day 3

Today I began the day at the Getty Images master class, followed by Kanye West's seminar, and then finishing the day with Coca Cola's Wendy Clark speaking about "Winning in Real Time." 

I really enjoyed the master class with Getty Images. Because I have some experience in photojournalism and photography, I was very interested in seeing the work of many talented photographers. The speaker described photography as the universal language of our time and how photography can truly change the world. He urged us to use real photography in advertising-- images that depict life how it really is. Consumers are no longer interested in the cliche pictures that have marked global photography in the past; today's consumer wants to see authentic, genuine, and real images. 

All I have to say about Kanye's seminar is that it was certainly entertaining (but not much else to be honest....)

I also was thoroughly impressed by Wendy Clark of Coca-Cola. Coke continues to amaze me as both a company and an advertiser. Every ad I see leaves me speechless and inspired by the good work the company is doing across the globe. Coke is such a classic company-- the fact that it remains relevant and current in its mature product stage is a testament to the incredible talent of its marketers. Best seminar I've attended yet!!

Loving the festival-- it keeps getting better and better as the week goes on!

Day 2

Another great day at the festival! I started the day by attending Adobe's "The New Creatives" seminar. In this session I learned that in today's industry, advertisers must be at the forefront of the trends and movements of online culture. Personally, this information was very beneficial for me because I tend to be stuck in the happenings of my own world, unaware of trending online topics and inactive on many social media platforms. The speakers really motivated me to stay connected with the rest of the world, and I realized that if I don't get on board with the media boom, I will fall behind in this industry and not be able to keep up with what the consumer wants. 

Another session that fascinated me was the National Geographic forum. We had the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts from some of the world's most successful photojournalists. I was in awe as I heard the life-risking journeys that these journalists have taken in order to show the "unseen" to the rest of the world. They were able to show us how truly important storytelling is, and how we, as advertisers, have an obligation to use real and authentic storytelling in our line of work as well. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cannes Lions Day 1

The first event I attended today was "Relevance and the Hoff" sponsored by Golan. This seminar was fantastic-- between the high energy of the speakers (particularly David Hasselhoff, unsurprisingly) and the creativity of the social media experiment, I was very impressed and entertained the entire time. Through the social media experiment that Golan is conducting with Hasselhoff, we will be able to observe firsthand the profound effect that social media can have on the relevance of a person, topic or brand. I am really looking forward to measuring the results of this experiment by the end of the week. #hoffornot

Another seminar that really impressed me was "The Role Mistakes Play in Determining a Creative Career" by Latinworks. This particular seminar was very interesting because while we are at a festival celebrating great successes, the speakers told of their personal failures in the industry. They gave us unique advice on common mistakes and mindsets to avoid in advertising. I feel that the information I learned from this seminar will prove to be very relevant as I enter the advertising industry in the near future.

The first day was definitely a success, and I can't wait to see what the rest of the week has in store!