Think big and long-term

Cadbury's 'Gorilla' spot took a Grand Prix in the original category, Film. At some point(pre-ARGs), its 'innovative' lack of product flaunting might have seemed daring. But love it or not, its power to entertain was eclipsed by the potential and ideas found in the newer interactive categories. (Even Film gave a separate Grand Pix to non-broadcast, and the quality of the winning Halo 3 films was superior to most of the broadcast work.)

Cadbury’s ‘Gorilla’ spot took a Grand Prix in the original category, Film. At some point(pre-ARGs), its ‘innovative’ lack of product flaunting might have seemed daring. But love it or not, its power to entertain was eclipsed by the potential and ideas found in the newer interactive categories. (Even Film gave a separate Grand Pix to non-broadcast, and the quality of the winning Halo 3 films was superior to most of the broadcast work.)

No wonder Cannes buzz concentrated on the ideas with legs. Tom Doctoroff, JWT area director for North East Asia and CEO, Greater China, says it’s all about ‘creating community – some platform for participation where they want to come back.’ And as the magic moves online, the big difference is the opportunity to sustain it beyond the quarter.

And it’s affecting business models as well as messaging.

In a Nike/RGA seminar, Bob Greenberg and Nike global director of digital media Stefan Olander showed work coming out this summer, like the Ballers Network. With the insight that some poor sod gets stuck organizing all those pick-up games out there, Nike is stepping up with an online solution to help connect B-ball players and house their stats. Another big program is The Human Race. The goal is to have one million people run 10K in 25 cities around the world on Aug. 31. The online component lets you create teams and hosts the inevitable rivalries. The goal is to be able to see a horde of runners in red T-shirts from the moon that day.

Olander says Nike has ‘become more focused around services. As a company, we have a different role in the world of sport.’

Over 25 years ago, the Japanese agency Hakuhodo embraced the term sei-katsu-sha, which translates as ‘people with their own lives,’ in order to maintain perspective on the whole 360 of people’s existence (and brand roles within). Hakuhodo is behind the massively successful ‘World’s Worst War’ viral for Habanero, which had Japan’s youth embroiled in a complex online battle over chip flavours. It entailed a pyramid scheme recruitment network,

on-pack QR codes, mobile elements and goofy prizes, and got over one million page views per day. Sales increased, and the whole thing fit the snack’s ‘most sadistic’ brand positioning.

The agency analyzed the industry’s best work (the 3,000+ staff includes 60 in R&D), and R&D exec manager Futaba Tanaka has condensed it down to a theory called Engagement Ring. One thing they’ve found, in addition to the impressive non-linear relationships possible, is the value of not dropping them at the end of a campaign. Hakuhodo is putting that into practice for Team Minus 6%, a multi-year project enlisting businesses to rally around greenhouse gas reduction. Its Cool Biz program, which encourages execs to lose their ties in the summer and set the AC at 28, effected a cultural shift in Japan.

Of course, the long-term approach is easier at an agency where longstanding client relationships are the norm than it is in the typical North American musical-chairs environment.

The other poster child for change at Cannes was the ‘Lead India’ project out of JWT India Mumbai. The Direct Grand Prix-winning campaign for The Times of India exhorted young professionals to ‘Take a Stand’ and help lead their country. Over 37,000 signed up, and were winnowed down in a process that involved the nation. The winner’s candidacy will be supported in the next general election.

Lo Sheung Yan, executive creative director of JWT North East Asia, identified India’s first Grand Prix as the most inspiring thing he saw at Cannes. And perhaps there are more payoffs ahead, as per Noel Magnus, CEO JWT Australia & New Zealand: ‘It reminds people of the power of what we do. Advertising can actually change the world.’

Exposure to ideas like that is why Cannes pays off. So start something Big. Drop the 30-second mentality, and keep it going. cheers,mm

Mary Maddever, exec editor, strategy, Media in Canada and stimulant