Just over a month ago, the world's advertising industry descended upon Cannes, France, for its annual Festival of Creativity. At this event, agencies the world over are awarded for their creativity and, in a few small cases, for work that actually increased sales.
Cannes of course, is but one of many advertising awards festivals that occur over the course of the year. But it's the biggest, the brightest and the most coveted of all. Certainly much of the entered and winning work is worthy of praise. And certainly the individuals behind the work deserve to have the spotlight shown on them in the presence of their colleagues, coworkers and friends. But...do awards matter?
By matter, I mean a few things. Do awards generate business for the agency? Do they further the career of the individual creative? Do they positively affect the brand for which the agency won the award? Are they a metric a brand can use to determine the capability of an agency? For an article I wrote for Central Desktop, I turned to a few in the industry to help answer these questions.
For a man who has the ability to predict presidential elections, Nate Silver's recent comment about the sales staff at The New York Times was shortsighted and displayed a surprising lack of understanding of the tectonic shifts that are occurring in publishing and advertising. It's as if he hasn't realized that the disintermediation of the ad sales process through trading desks, RTB and other forms of ad tech has had a decimating effect on CPMs and, hence, the ability of a publisher and its sales force to generate healthy revenue.
By now, you've seen that Crocs ad from London production company Compulsory which celebrates teen sex. By now, you've also noted the ad is fake and was not endorsed by the brand. Much like JCPenney which distanced itself from a fake ad (which won a Bronze Lion!) that also centered on teen sex, Crocs called the ad offensive and said, "We're very concerned by it, because it does not reflect our company values as a global lifestyle brand."
My how times haven't changed. Remember that classic Goodyear Polyglass commercial which many have dubbed the most sexist ad of all time? You know the one. The one in which...OMG...you wife has to drive alone!
On one hand, advertising culture has moved beyond portraying women like moronic, bikini-clad bimbos whose sole purpose is to drape themselves across the hood of a car or stand in front of a refrigerator. On the other, we have TrueCar.com which, in a serious headscratcher, thought it smart to imply women are still hapless nitwits who have no idea how to buy a car on their own.
A not-so-recent ad from the used car site features women telling us how the site gave them the necessary confidence to buy a car on their own with one particular woman saying...wait for it..."I don't even need to bring a dude with me."
We agree with AdWeek's David Gianatasio 100% percent on this one. Which, of course, isn't like us agreeing with Bob Garfield back in the day because, of course, we rarely did. We used to pick stupid little fights with the man over his ad reviews because, well, that's what Adrants was all about; poking holes in the media and advertising establishments.
My how times have changed. Back in the day, Adrants was a single voice of over-sized balls and horse-hung swinging man meat. Today, well, everyone's in on the game of snark. So much so that it really doesn't mean anything anymore. Just take a look at Business Insider headlines or BuzzFeed or headlines from just about any other publication which now scream extremisms to announce the fact an ant has crossed the street. Anything for a pageview.
Recently, a colleague asked me, "What was the most rewarding mistake you ever made in business?"
It's a great question, and I quickly had an answer for him because it was an incredibly painful mistake. However, it proved to be an invaluable lesson that has served me well in the years since. I'm sharing so perhaps you can learn it the easy way.
The lesson: Don't ever stop marketing because you think you've reached the point where you don't need to. And, secondarily, believe the old adage that warns, "Don't put all your eggs into one basket."
There's a story, of course...
When Oreo placed its Dunk in the Dark ad in social media channels immediately following the power outage during the Super Bowl, real-time marketing was brought to the forefront of the marketing community. David Berkowitz, then-director of emerging media at Oreo agency 360i (and now CMO at MRY), stressed that care must be taken to properly collaborate with key decision makers in order for real-time marketing efforts such as Dunk in the Dark to be successful.
To move at the speeds required by real-time marketing, you need fast-moving teams powered by key decision makers and you need collaboration processes firmly in place. There is no time for lengthy approval processes.
Apple's "Designed by Apple in California" dubbed a flop by many, is getting plenty of publicity. But not in the way Apple likely intended. The ad received a viewer score of 489 out of 900 based on the Ace Metric scale. This low-scoring commercial, compared to Apple's 26 other ads this year, has created quite the buzz on Bloomberg, LA Times, Ad Age and various other sites.
Sharing, sharing, sharing. It's all the rage right now among brands that have discovered the power of social media and what it can do for them. But is there such a thing as oversharing? Can a brand become too active in social media channels for its own good? Can this harm any bond that has been made between consumer and brand?
Author, speaker and social media consultant C.C. Chapman weighs in on that dilemma: "Everyone assumes there is a magic formula to answer this question and the truth is that there isn't. I have years of experience developing award-winning content for clients and for myself and the one thing I know is that if it is one piece of content or a million, it doesn't matter if it does not create an emotional response from your hoped-for audience. If what is created doesn't educate, entertain or inspire them, then nothing else matters."
And so it would seem, oversharing is relative and to be determined based on a individual situations in which the brand participates - as well as how that content connects with a brand's audience. A slippery slope of sorts.
Written in March following SXSW in Austin
While we knew this was the case for several years now, SXSW Interactive has become a huge event generating conversation the world over. This year's event generated 1.1 million tweets in 5 five days across 200 countries and 19 languages.
Social media monitoring company Synthesio created an infographic summarizing global social media conversation about the Austin, Texas event. Without surprise, the U.S generated the most (71%) conversation followed by the UK (4.6%) and Canada (4.4%).
Some say SXSW is the new Cannes. In some respects, it is. As the advertising industry moves more towards technology and content solutions versus Super Bowl-style creative solutions, this shift in mentality may make sense. But it will be a very long while before the advertising industry gives up its Rose-filled afternoons on the Carlton Terrace or the massive beach parties that occur every night which, by the way, put even the best parties at SXSW to shame.