Category: OMD Oasis Cannes 2016

John Lewis – Man on the Moon

In 2015 John Lewis and Age UK tackled the subject no one wanted to talk about, especially at Christmas – loneliness.  In a ground-breaking partnership, Manning Gottlieb OMD activated the nation and inspired people to do good, helping the millions of older people who can go a month without talking to anyone, to have a Christmas they deserve.


“Did you see the John Lewis Christmas advert?”

John Lewis is an institution that over 150 years, has become one of the UK’s most loved and trusted retailer brands.  A large part of this is down to the emotionally driven Christmas advertising.  Their campaigns have had such an impact that the media have coined their ad launch, “The Start of Christmas”.  The pressure’s on to raise the bar every year and make each John Lewis campaign more famous than the last.

The campaigns embody the spirit of Christmas, making people feel the warmth of family and the endearing spirit of thoughtful gifting. Unfortunately this isn’t the case for everyone, as 500,000 older people will spend Christmas day alone, a challenge Age UK know all too well. This year Manning Gottlieb wanted to use the emotional power of advertising, not just to make people feel good, but to also do good, whilst growing commercial success.

The Brand Idea

The idea was simple; to create not one, but two interlinked Christmas ads, each showing polar opposite views of the Christmas experience.

girl with telescopeman on moon on set

The first would launch our ‘feel-good’ story: a little girl looking through her telescope spies on an old man, living on his own on the moon.  Her thoughtful Christmas gift is a telescope, sent by balloon, so he can see he’s not really alone. The tagline “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas” paved the way for a national charity partner: Age UK.

For Age UK, John Lewis made a second TV ad, showing the old man on the ‘Man On The Moon’ film set.  As filming wraps up, he’s left alone and forgotten, to remind us of the problem of loneliness amongst the aged.  This would become Manning Gottlieb’s call-to-action to activate the nation in support of older people at Christmas.

The Partnership Strategy

The desire was not simply to brand John Lewis’ campaign with a charity logo but to create a deeper, more emotionally resonant partnership.  This idea required a true partnership strategy: integrating the creative, media and two brands into one cohesive campaign. This meant John Lewis could extend their traditional ‘feeling good at Christmas’ campaign into a true ‘doing good at Christmas’ campaign.

In return, Age UK would get the support and validation of one of the UK’s most loved brands, giving the public a new lens to see the importance of the work they do.

The John Lewis Christmas advert would be a catalyst for a wider campaign aimed at directing sentiment and action towards Age UK and ensuring that their message stayed centre stage.  The second advert was designed to get people aware of and talking about the issue.           

Making it happen

To ensure anticipation of the first ad, Manning Gottlieb created unbranded “#OnTheMoon” social accounts delivering a 10” teaser which started trending on Twitter before launch and trended no. 1 on Twitter, globally, only 40 minutes after launch. A joint-PR effort promoted the partnership, raising awareness of loneliness. The second ad was launched online across social and video channels to coincide with the second burst of activity.

In the week leading up to Christmas, the Age UK spot was broadcasted on TV, culminating in the marquee spot in the finale of Downton Abbey on ITV – the most-watched programme on Christmas Day.  An impactful out-of-home campaign highlighted the scale of the issue and how people could help. Last but not least, John Lewis promoted the partnership across their social channels and in-store – every store ran a comprehensive fund-raising programme and Man On The Moon merchandise was sold with all profits going to Age UK.

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Amazing results

  • The campaign delivered a huge 38m online views for both ads, with the main ad topping the Google chart for most viewed ad on YouTube UK of 2015. This equates to over 835k hours of brand engagement!
  • Manning Gottlieb helped drive 688k shares and 1,400 press articles, the most ever for a John Lewis campaign.
  • People started to engage with Age UK too. On launch day, they received a donation every minute.  They received an overwhelming 15,000 volunteer phone calls, 6x the number they get in a whole year. 
  • The impact has been so great that the UK Prime Minister’s office at Downing Street called to congratulate Age UK on the campaign and hosted a tea party for older people at Number 10!
  • Finally, the campaign delivered £951m in sales, a 7% YoY increase, helping John Lewis have their biggest ever Christmas.

elderly age uk hugging

Renault Business Booster

85% of Italian businesses are family-run; however, families working and living in close proximity can cause disagreements and ultimately put the business at risk. Thanks to their range of commercial vehicles, Renault has a wealth of experience with family enterprises and wanted to come to the rescue with an innovative solution that would help improve internal management. In partnership with Google For Work, Renault developed a dedicated app allowing fathers and sons to work together at a distance. The app provides a set of digital tools, such as folders, memo documents, delivery schedules, etc., to help them share their work, without sharing a physical workspace. The Renault Business Booster allows dads and their sons to have space from each other during the working day and to come back together in their spare time, saving their businesses and relationships.

To demonstrate the power of the Renault Business Booster in real-life situations and stay true to the client’s positioning of ‘success boosters’, OMD targeted craftsmen, small entrepreneurs and the owners of family enterprises. We selected channels and content with high affinity to this group, adopting a seamless approach where media channels and content merged. A direct affiliation campaign drove app downloads, while a partnership with Mediamond allowed us to produce a TV show to bring real family business stories to life. ‘SOS Family Business’, a four-part series, aired on Mediaset channels in prime time and was supported by online video on popular sport websites, stories about fathers and sons in a major local magazine and content on Renault and Mediamond’s social channels.

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The final chapter of this fully integrated story was the launch of a roadshow which took Renault’s new range of commercial vehicles to 100 Italian cities. Consumers were given the chance to participate in events, interact with the app and sit behind the wheel of one of the new vehicles with exclusive test drives.


  • 79,000 app downloads
  • Over 29,000 digital media impressions (+45% impression delivery)
  • 5m interactive video views
  • 2m TV reach
  • 41%+ of Twitter followers
  • 11,391 new sales leads
  • 40%+ commercial vehicles sold vs. 2014
  • 1 importer of commercial vehicles in Italy in 2015

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Neil Hurman on the changing role for companies like OMD

Neil Hurman, Chief Planning Officer at OMD EMEA, talks to LinkedIn about the future of marketing at Cannes Lions.

  • In a world where the customer is increasingly in control, what do you think about the changing role for companies like OMD?

Previously when I started in the business, we were able to take our audiences for granted. We were able to broadcast and publicise our point of views and our clients’ point of views quite easily – we had a guaranteed audience. We cannot take audiences for granted anymore. We have to earn the right. We have to avoid ad blocking. We have to avoid the distraction of choice that we never had. In fact, even the words ‘audience,’ ‘target audience,’ ‘our audience,’ ‘our customers’ speaks of a world where we’ve learnt to take too many things for granted and I think that is the big change that I have seen.

  • We’re interested to hear from you on how the role of media has evolved over recent years and what the future of effective media planning looks like, within both OMD and across the broader Industry?

Media planning was how much TV you could afford and in the last five to ten years it has changed beyond all recognition. I think it has become a story less about media planning and channel planning because what we really meant was what audience is more or less likely on the margins to consume various types of mass media. It sounds a little bit like a cliché, but I think we are moving from media planning to content distribution, from media planning to the sharing of stories. I think that requires much less emphasis on channels and much more of an emphasis on how you promote sharing, how you make your stories more attractive. I think it’s that difference between the age we left behind, which is about targeting, and the age we’re moving into, which is about attraction, it is probably the single biggest dynamic.

  • How do you think the skills required to be successful in media and marketing have changed, and what do the successful professionals of tomorrow look like versus those of yesterday?

So, I think at the moment it helps to be something of a polymath, there is almost too much we need to know. Our business is full of experts and needs to be full of specialist experts as the scope and scale of what we do broadens from content to technology, managing data, statistics modelling, all the way through to our digital services and, of course, we still have the age-old skills of being able to listen to clients.

  • Similarly, when you think about how the conversations you have with your clients are changing, what are the key things they are most concerned with and how do you drive best in class discussions with your client base? How do you see these discussions continuing to evolve in the future? 

Conversations for clients are always about value and value delivery. The nature of that value delivery changes and has changed significantly. The value we deliver is less about not paying too much for your media and more about the value return of building brands and the value return on growing a company’s revenue, not just in the short-term but in the longer term too. Historically, I think there has tended to be a focus on the short-term, what we used to call the short-term, versus the long-term. The short-term sales versus the longer term health and brand building. You can’t have an either or conversation anymore: it has to be ‘and’. You have to win in the today and you have to be winning for tomorrow as well. You have to do both at the same time and I think that is something that has become absolutely clear in the last few years.

I think the way we do that, and the way we are trying to do it more within OMD, is to productise what we do a little bit more by taking what we do and working out a way of how we systemise it, how we make sure we can deliver a more consistent problem-solving product with sharper insights, smarter ideas and stronger results for every client, every brief,  every time.  We are exploring platform-led ways of integrating our entire global team together to ensure standard ways of delivery and standard ways of quality controlling outputs from our teams. I think that it is quite new and different, and a much better way of problem-solving going forward.  

  • What are you most excited about for Cannes 2016? 

I think for me the thing I enjoy most is catching up with colleagues, friends and people you haven’t seen for a while. And of course, there are a lot of important client meetings, of course, there is a lot of partner meetings and there are some really great conversations that you can have here because it is one of the few times in the year that everyone is in the same place. It sounds like a very self-serving justification for everyone being here, but you can get an enormous amount done in a relatively short period of time because everyone is here.

Channel 4- Hunted

Could you go off the grid and evade capture from some of the UK’s leading surveillance experts? Hunted was a new thriller from Channel 4 that challenged 14 people to do exactly that, with trained detectives snapping at their heels as they were on the run.

OMD UK’s challenge was to launch the show and ultimately get people to tune in.

The Idea

With one surveillance camera for every 11 people in the UK, the show would make viewers imagine life on the run. OMD UK used this fact to do something that has never done before – they turned media into surveillance equipment and recreated the paranoia of being hunted.

The team brought the ‘invisible net’ of the surveillance power of the UK to life, putting people in the shoes of ‘the hunted’ and showing the difficulty of the task they were facing.

Hunted 3

Making it Happen

OMD UK developed a staggering 325 different creative messages that ran across 114 formats on 37 media channels. Each ad was personal, reaching them in places they least expected and surprising them as they went about their day. Every single creative was contextually aligned with each individual media format:

  • ATM cash machine screens told you to ‘cut up your card’
  • Personalised Starbucks cups said ‘Don’t tell anyone your name’
  • Public transport said to ‘hide your face’
  • Travel card wallets told you ‘This is a tracking device’
  • Receipts warned you ‘you’ve told them where you are, run’
  • Petrol stations advised you to ‘abandon your car’
  • Beer mats proclaimed ‘you have no mates’
  • Mirrors said to ‘change your identity’
  • Club stamps told people to ‘give a false name’
  • Train panels instructed you to ‘leave town and never come back’
  • Public telephones warned you to ‘never call your family’
  • Public toilets told you to ‘leave no trace’
  • Roadside panels advised you to ‘be prepared to eat anything’

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There were over 19,000 tweets about Hunted on the build-up to the first episode and OMD UK smashed their campaign targets.

David Shing Fresh from Cannes

By Patricia Condrova

Shingy is back from his French Riviera adventure and he came to OMD HQ to take us through some of his highlights.

Cannes is exhausting and huge! 15,000 people descend on La Croisette from 94 countries. There are 24 category awards, 43,000 entries considered, 400 judges, 26 Grand Prix winners (la crème de la crème) and 300+ speakers.

The brand of the year for him was Samsung. They were everywhere: events, experiences and these guys were constantly talking about VR.

For Shingy, when it comes to the Cannes Lions Awards, one of his favourite quotes comes to mind “If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” Here are the campaigns that caught his eye:

After the presentation, I asked Shingy how should a young professional be creative in media and this is what he said:

“They should play with all the platforms as consumers; experiment them all, understand how a brand could integrate with the platform before dragging the brand in to it.

“Understand where the brand should be: not all brands should be on all platforms. Not all brands should have a real time market, it’s about having a relevant market – right time, right place, right messaging.”

Check out a recent article Shingy wrote for Adweek here.

For more fun stuff follow @shingy on Twitter

Au revoir chaps! (Champagne cork popping sound!)

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Coming up with a good idea is the beginning, not the end

By Claire Dean

Airbnb has revolutionised the travel industry, so I was excited to have the chance to hear the CEO and Co-founder Brian Chesky speak recently at the Cannes Lions Festival.

Like many of these disruptive start-ups that appear to explode out of nowhere, there is an inspirational story behind it. And what a great story it was.

So the famous story goes: Brian and co-founder (and good mate) Joe had a dream of starting a business together. They also had a more pressing issue that they couldn’t pay the rent. Knowing a design conference was coming to San Francisco and the city’s hotels were fully booked, they had the bright idea of inviting conference attendees to sleep at their place. They didn’t have any spare beds, just a few air mattresses. They decided to serve breakfast too. And so the name Airbnb was born.

When you hear this story, you tend to hear about the idea and then the bit about the company being worth USD $25 billion. But there was nine years of hard work in the middle between great idea and success.

What I learned at his talk is the same lesson I find myself learning again and again doing what we do: coming up with a good idea is the beginning, not the end. 

As I listened to the things that took those ambitious young Americans from idea to success, I realised that these wise words were applicable to our industry too:

  1. Victory comes to the tenacious:  Is it a coincidence that the media agency known for ideas also has tenacity as one of its values? I think not. I believe tenacity is the most important skill in getting a good idea over the line. If you believe in an idea then fight for it!

Thomas Edison is famous for saying that a good idea is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. Brian and Jo demonstrated relentless tenacity.

“We tried CNN and they didn’t answer, so we tried the local papers and they didn’t respond, so we called the local bloggers….”

My favourite quote from Brian was “If you launch and no one notices, then just launch again”. Airbnb launched FOUR times before they got traction.

  1. Disruption is possible through exploiting a weakness. If you want to change the game, find something broken to fix. Airbnb was so successful because it gave people something they wanted and weren’t getting from the travel industry. It worked because it came at a time when the other options in the travel category were lacking cultural relevancy. In the same way, some of the best ideas, like Dove Real Beauty and Always: Like A Girl, are the ones that disrupt conventions in a category that is no longer culturally relevant.
  1. Sell the intangible– Sell the tangible and you make one sale, sell the intangible and you get a customers for life. Airbnb isn’t just selling a bed and a roof over your head, they are selling belonging. Brands are getting better at telling consumers who they are, why they are here and what they believe in. This really resonates with consumers. It is a trend that is not going away. Get on board or get left behind.
  1. Identifying emerging cultural trends will give you an edge. In November, Airbnb will be announcing some new developments. Chesky didn’t give too much away but he did indicate that they will be looking more at the end-to-end experience, rather than just offering a bed. They are looking at cultural trends to guide the future of their business: Two key emerging cultural trends they are using to shape their future business model: In the future we will be more mobile and people are more interested in experiences rather than owning things. 

OMD UK’s mission is to earn our clients’ brands a greater Share of Life by being Culturally Connected. Chesky put fresh perspective on why being Culturally Connected is important for ideas and business models alike: if you want to create something that will succeed in the future, you need to know what the future looks like.

How Airbnb started

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MG OMD- Tiny Dancer, John Lewis Insurance

In 2013, John Lewis fully supported John Lewis Insurance for the first time. As a part of the John Lewis brand it carried a weight of expectation – to deliver leading trust, quality and service in a category famously lacking all three. It has gone on to become a huge success and create an entirely new category of insurance, putting quality above price but still being accessible to the many. And it has even brought new dimensions to its parent brand, not just benefited from the association.


In 2013, the strength of the John Lewis brand was at an all time high. On the back of this strength, there was increased appetite to explore where the brand could usefully serve its customers in new ways. For a department store with a stronghold in homewares and furniture, amplifying its home insurance offering seemed like a natural next step. The John Lewis Partnership had set-up Greenbee insurance in 2006, but it had only enjoyed limited success. Sitting outside of the John Lewis brand, it was mostly unknown to consumers and the John Lewis Partners had been left similarly confused about how to present it to customers. After a name change to John Lewis Insurance and accompanying soft launch in 2010, in 2013 a decision was made to finally fully launch this brand extension. This could not just be a cosmetic branding exercise. To carry the name it had to meet the high expectations that name creates: expectations of quality product design, outstanding service and fair prices. A new underwriter would be brought in; a completely new product range designed; new branding developed and an entirely new marketing campaign created.

The opportunity

During the previous decade, aggregator websites had commoditised insurance, making price the key variable. Brands had to cut their quality and service offerings to compete. The result was that the consumer had been left without an insurance brand they could trust. In fact, insurance companies lagged behind even banks in the trust stakes. John Lewis, on the other hand, was the most trusted retailer in the UK, famous for its quality products and service. There was a clear opportunity to stand for something unique. And we knew this was something that John Lewis customers, in particular, would respond well to. A piece of bespoke research showed a clear difference in their mindset. In the regular insurance path to purchase, price concerns directly followed brand familiarity and then, finally, the level of cover was checked. The John Lewis customer’s journey again started with brand name familiarity, but then moved on to an analysis of the level of cover before, finally, ending with a price check. In other words, John Lewis customers were seeking quality before anything else.

The strategy

We would give the John Lewis homeland audience what they wanted from an insurance brand. To achieve this, we knew we would have to make John Lewis Insurance a uniquely trusted brand in its category by:

  • Being a mass-market quality insurance brand. We would design our offering around the core John Lewis values that loyalists already loved – quality, outstanding service and fair prices – and tier these products to make them accessible to the entire John Lewis audience.
  • Behaving like a true John Lewis brand. Instead of short-term price-fighting, this meant long-term brand building, leveraging a brand idea and executional approach befitting of the John Lewis brand.

The brand idea

We needed a differentiated brand idea that would allow us to go beyond cynical short-term sales spiking, to instead build long-term brand trust. To identify this, we used a combination of qualitative and key opinion former research. We found 2 powerful insights:

  1. The difference between “house” and “home”. John Lewis customers saw their homes, not as 4 walls and a roof, but as a collection of the things that meant the most to their family lives. This was what they wanted to protect.
  2. The threat of catastrophe wasn’t the primary driver. Most John Lewis customers were buying insurance simply to mitigate against the little mishaps that peppered everyday family life. This was what they wanted to protect their things from. Approaching this thinking from the point of view of a true John Lewis brand lead us to conclude that: John Lewis Insurance should be the brand that cares as much as you do about protecting your family’s most cherished items from the joyous but ultimately unpredictable nature of family life.

Finally, this was summed up with the line: “If it matters to you, it matters to us”

Behaving like a true John Lewis brand

Over the next 3 years, we implemented a completely integrated communications campaign that consistently helped us walk-the-walk of a mass-market quality insurance brand. The key to this was bringing to life our new John-Lewis-appropriate idea, within the classic John Lewis executional world. In this way, every single piece of our communications imbued John Lewis Insurance with an inherited sense of quality and trust.

Phase 1:

Introducing our credentials (2013-2015). These TTL communications lead on the Home insurance product and clearly set-out the new end-line and the 1st half of our brand idea, depicting how John Lewis Insurance cares as much as you do about protecting the special items that sit at the heart of your family life.

Phase 2:

Exploding our brand (2015). This set of work refreshed the campaign with a more explicit focus on the 2nd half of our brand idea:the joyous little slip-ups and blunders of family life that you want to protect your special items from.

Extraordinary results 

  • The products generated immediate sales increases
  • The campaigns became a headline-making cultural phenomenon
  • This resulted in fantastic R.O.I – in the first phase alone, every £1 spent generated an extra £1.89.
  • This seems to have continued into the 2nd phase (2015), with sales up 61% and commission up 41%.
  • And not only did we build a distinctive category position, but we did so in a way that also created an effect for the parent brand – generating a further £2.9m of extra sales for John Lewis overall.

This has been the story of how the John Lewis brand extended beyond retail, to deliver its famous brand of trust, quality and service in a market that badly needed it. It has also been the story of how John Lewis Insurance stole the nation’s hearts and built an insurance brand consumers could actually feel good about. But most of all, this has been the story of how John Lewis Insurance invented it’s very own category, became a huge commercial success and, finally, a powerful new income stream for the John Lewis Partnership.

Tiny dancer 3

Highlights from Cannes: Innovation Lions

By Claire Dean

One of the best things about The Cannes Lions Festival is stumbling upon gold. There are the big blockbuster talks that you have scheduled in your calendar ahead of time. Then there are those you just wander into, not quite knowing what to expect. The Innovation Lions Shortlist presentations were one of those. And one of the most memorable sessions of my week.

The Innovation Lions are like no other category. They are the only category where those who are shortlisted are asked to present their work to a jury in person. Luckily for me, delegates at Cannes can go along and watch these presentations.

Here is the official word on what the category is about:

The Innovation Lions celebrate pioneering technological creativity. Entries need to demonstrate the relationship between a big idea and radical tech; that is, bespoke solutions that fulfil an unaddressed consumer need or deliver a product, service or brand message in a newly-invented way.

Ok so these all involve creating a physical innovative product which might be outside of the standard ‘media’ agency brief. But given that ‘creating something physical’ was an emerging trend this year across all categories, it is very relevant to what we do. At the very worst, they will blow your mind and inspire you.

Here are my top picks:

  1. The Next Rembrandt. J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam brought the artist back to life by creating a deep learning algorithm capable of producing 3D printed paintings in the style of Rembrandt. The AI creative genius analysed his 346 paintings to ‘learn’ his style before creating ‘The Next Rembrandt’, brought to life through an advanced printer which printed 13 layers of paint based UV ink. Who said AI can’t be creative?!


2. The Field Trip To Mars: Kids in New York were treated to the first school field trip to Mars. Piling onto a school bus, the kids thought they were taking a regular school trip. In reality, the clever people at McCann New York, turned the windows of the bus into screens, creating the world’s first group VR experience. Oh what magic. You can’t watch the video without getting goosebumps.

The Field Trip to Mars

3. Edible Six Pack Rings.  Plastic six-pack rings found on six packs of beer end up in the ocean and are harmful to wildlife who try to eat them or worse, get caught in them. Saltwater brewery and their agency We Believers created an alternative:

“We ideated, designed, prototyped and manufactured Edible Six Pack Rings. A six-pack packaging design made with materials that instead of killing animals are edible. By using by-products of the beer brewing process such as barley and wheat, this packaging goes beyond recycling and strives to achieve zero waste. The Edible Six Pack Rings are the first ever 100% biodegradable, compostable and edible packaging implemented in the beer industry.”

This was part of a growing trend for brands to do something good for the environment or society and set the benchmark for the rest of the industry.

Edible Six Pack Ring

4. Sun Hats: DDB Colombia created Solar Powered Sun Hats to give to Colombian workers in order to teach them about solar power. An innovative and effective way to reach audiences who are in places where no media reaches them and are often illiterate. What a clever way to add value to people’s lives whilst overcoming insurmountable barriers to communicate with this audience.

Sun Hats

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Wake up with the Economist: A review from Cannes

By Claire Dean

What a week in Cannes! Yes, there was Rosé. Yes, there was inspiring work. We even brought home a few Lions of our own. But most of all I enjoyed hearing wise words from the industry’s smartest people.

One of my favourite sessions was the daily morning session hosted by The Economist called “Wake up with the Economist”. The panel featured three different CMOs each day and was Chaired by Daniel Franklin, the Economist’s Executive Editor.

The CMOs featured in the Monday session were:

  • Atilla Cansun, CMO Merck Consumer Health
  • Jorn Socquet, Vice President of Marketing Anheuser Busch
  • Neil George, Vice President, Emerging Markets, Beiersdorf.

Here are five key learnings I took away from the discussion:

  1. Creative ideas can come from anywhere. Listen to the people who spend time with your business: your staff, especially the young ones who bring in fresh eyes, consumers themselves, your suppliers and your retailers.
  1. Consumers of the future want to buy from brands with values. Consumers of today are interested in brand purpose and respond to more emotive, human, right brain messaging. We need to move away from purely rational left brain ‘efficacy’ messaging and evoke an emotional response.
  1. Taking no risk is the risk itself. As an industry we need to be braver: CMOs don’t take enough risks – and their agencies need to push them to do so. We don’t want to have difficult conversations with our boss. Our job is to do what is right, not what is easy.
  1. Unlock the untapped value of social media: Budweiser uses social media to apologise when something goes wrong. Nivea uses it to test ideas early on with their core fans. Realise social media is not just another channel, it’s a rare chance to interact with your brand advocates.
  1. Microsegments will be the audience targeting challenge of the future. 2017 and beyond will show a long tail of extreme micro-segments. How do you deliver personalised messaging to extreme micro targets? This will be our challenge in the near future.

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Tales from the Mobile Lions Judging Room

By Milton Elias

Another Cannes Lions festival has now come and gone. Plenty of inspirational sessions featuring celebrated speakers, plenty of yacht parties, and inevitably, plenty of rosé have made the rounds in the South of France. As a Cannes Lions newbie, I initially hoped to dabble in a bit of all of these. However, the honour of being selected as a Mobile Lions judge this year meant that my Cannes experience ultimately consisted of long days of intense discussion in a windowless room as opposed to celebrity keynotes and rosé fuelled evenings. Nonetheless, I loved every minute of it and came away feeling truly inspired by where mobile technology continues to take our industry and the work submitted from all corners of the world.

With over 1,200 entries submitted into this year’s Mobile Lions from across the globe, it was clear from the onset that there would be A LOT of discussion in the judging room. With a diverse group of industry leaders from over a dozen markets that included creative and specialist agencies, clients, and developers, there would inevitably be plenty of viewpoints and consequent debate. Over the course of five days and nearly 60 hours of judging, we talked, laughed, and debated. We argued for pieces of work that personally spoke to each of us, against work that may have seemed questionable in regards to its creativity and originality, but above all, we celebrated the beacons of mobile creativity that collectively inspired us. Without a doubt, the overall quality of the work was impressive and indicative of how far mobile can take us as marketers, and more importantly, as people connecting with others in our daily lives and for the greater good.

From using location as a trigger to personally invite people uploading photos on Instagram to go inside the Sydney Opera House with tailored experiences, to the use of Bluetooth technology incorporated into a swimming cap for visually impaired Paralympic swimmers in Samsung’s Blind Cap, the winning work was diverse and it was powerful. However, across all 62 Mobile Lions awarded, the campaign that stood out as worthy of the Grand Prix was the New York Times VR project, which has demonstrated how a 165 year-old traditional media brand can use mobile to bring virtual reality to the masses and immerse them in factual story-telling in a way that traditional journalism previously couldn’t.

Fittingly, this year’s theme at Cannes was ‘Thank You Creativity’ and the quality of work personally inspired a sense of gratitude as it made it clear that there has never been a more exciting time to leverage mobile as a creative medium.

A list of all Cannes Mobile Lions winners can be found on the Cannes Lions site. My views on wider trends across this year’s Mobile Lions can be found here.

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