Tia-Nicole Knight took part in the FastForward programme last year and is now an intern at OMD. One of her highlights was finding out about cookies and how they support websites. Before she started the course she had only heard of the cookies you eat. We sat down with Tina-Nicole to find out more about her FastForward experience.
How did you get involved in the FastForward programme and why did it appeal to you?
Last year, OMD and Citizens UK came to present at my college. At first, the programme didn’t appeal to me as I was studying creative media rather than digital. I thought it might be too technical for my skillset, but I soon realised it was a great opportunity. After completing my application form and successfully passing a group interview, I was invited to JP Morgan’s offices. This is where we were told what we would be covering over the next six months and nine sessions.
Did you find it challenging with your existing studies?
During the 6 months, I managed to keep up with all my studies, except for one session. Fortunately, the other students shared notes, so I was able to catch up quickly.
Which part of the course did you like most?
My favourite session was on ‘Data Handling’ where I learnt how to target audiences using a tool called TGI. I really enjoyed this as we had to create a story around the data. My group came up with an INSANE idea with widows, betrayal, death, murder, partying, laughter, sadness and cleaning products! Everyone laughed when we presented, but we still managed to show that we understood the concept.
From the sessions, what did you learn that surprised you?
When I first heard about coding, I started thinking ‘woah this must be like, what hackers do’. I thought there was going to be an overload of knowledge throughout the session. However, it was explained so clearly that in the end I had a semi-clear idea of what it was. I still struggle to understand it fully, but it’s really complex!
What advice would you give to others thinking of participating in the FastForward programme?
Be yourself! Anyone can get experience, be punctual and show up for sessions. But, it’s your personality and unique qualities that are hard to find. Show that you stand out from the crowd with your creativity and other skills!
Interested in knowing more? Explore recent FastForward updates here. You can also find out more about life at OMD with #OMDLife
The annual advertising industry equivalent of the Oscars, the Cannes Lions (now in its 63rd year) takes centre stage this week. So as the Gutter Bar commences chilling copious amounts of Rosé I’ve taken a quick look at the agenda to see what’s on offer…
Recent years have seen the star quotient rocket with the likes of Kim Kardashian, Jared Leto and Iggy Pop making live appearances on the Palais stage. This year, the swarm of superstars has gone stratospheric with Hollywood A-listers such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Will Smith and Chris Pine on the agenda this year talking about (amongst other things) content, creativity and branding. Not enough sparkle for you? OK then add to the list Channing Tatum, Spike Jonze and David Copperfield (be interesting to see whether he walks off the stage or simply disappears in a cloud of smoke).
Beyond the main auditoria of the Palais, there is plenty of additional activity taking place. Naturally I am somewhat biased but the OMD Oasis (now in it’s third year at Cannes) is the pick of the ‘off Broadway’ style events. Located right on the Croisette, the beachside cabana hosts a myriad of exciting speakers including the aforementioned Ms Paltrow, Ryan Seacrest, and Anderson Cooper. Added to that, there are a plethora of industry heavyweights such as Brad Jakeman from PepsiCo, Roel de Vries from Nissan, Tim Armstrong from AOL, Rich Raddon from ZEFR and Carolyn Everson from Facebook to name but a few.
Elsewhere along the main boulevards and beaches of Cannes, there are a variety of dedicated areas largely dominated by the various agency groups plus the social and tech guys. Unsurprisingly there is a highly noticeable presence from the likes of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Spotify, Twitter and LinkedIn who have all descended on the town determined to make an impression on the estimated 12,000 delegates (and I suspect, attempt to outdo each other). Their legendary parties will be equally spectacular with various rumors circling about which singers and bands are performing. In previous years we’ve witnessed the likes of Elton John, John Legend and Mariah Carey so who they can bring in to top that. Elvis maybe?
But the parties are not the main reason why we are here. It’s to celebrate creativity in its multitude of forms (no honestly, it really is). And if 2015 is anything to go by, then 2016 will have to really roar. Some of the notable campaigns at the Lions last year included the Volvo ‘Live Test’ campaign featuring that epic split between two trucks by Jean-Claude Van Damme, the John Lewis Christmas campaign featuring a very cute penguin called Monty and the rather excellent Apple ‘Shot on an iPhone6’ work.
Over 300 judges from around the globe, including some of our very own OMDers, have descended upon Cannes to deliberate on a record 43,101 entries and the early indications are that there is some spectacular work on view across the three main buckets of Health, Innovation and Entertainment. Adweek have already previewed some of the work and listed their top 25 campaigns which they believe will win big at the festival. Work from the likes of McDonalds, Southern Comfort and Xbox is already being lauded so don’t be surprised to see these campaigns picking up a slew of gongs.
For more information about the OMD Oasis please visit cannes.omd.com
By Nil Thyrion, International Design Manager and Daniel Goy, International Designer, OMD EMEA
As a world renowned showcase of the latest in innovative design, D&AD Festival is the culmination of a year in design, advertising and communications. We were therefore very excited and fortunate to attend the three-day festival discovering amazing work and creative talks that are crucial in making sure we’re at the forefront of creativity and design for our clients.
The D&AD festival is made up of judging sessions during which over 220 creative professionals analyse thousands of designs and ultimately award the best creative work of the year. The designs were judged in various categories such as; outdoor advertising, digital design, branding and book design.
Walking around the venue, the Old Truman Brewery, we were surrounded by the most creative, thought provoking, innovative and beautiful work. However what became most clear was that the creative process remains an obsession in the industry, from new to internationally recognised designers. How do we make ideas come to life, how do we get out of routine, and how do we act with a brief? This therefore was a fascinating event, giving us not just an outlook on the work but at the process behind creative excellence.
So why for designers does nothing matter more than the creative process?
If you weren’t able to make the festival we’ve rounded up our five key highlights.
- The Mood Tree – Digital Experience
Created by Kerve (a company known for their impressive activations) The Mood Tree was one of the most innovative digital experiences at the festival this year. It certainly created a buzz, people of all ages were engaging in the experience, discussing and tweeting to change the tree’s colours.
The Mood Tree enabled live data to be displayed visually, to an audience that were excited to get involved. The process behind creating such a visual experience relied upon how individuals already engage and communicate through social. These platforms are still being explored in their capabilities, and can push the creative process to develop as the way in which they are used does simultaneously.
The Mood tree that captivated everyones attention
- Sir Paul Smith – My creative process
Evolving from a 3×3 metre shop to the design icon he is today, Paul Smith spoke with great humour about his career whilst unveiling his creative process and inspirations.
For him, “You can find inspiration in everything. If you can’t, then you are not looking properly.” What he means is that ideas don’t only come when you are in your office, but during your daily journey to work, throughout the weekend or during your holidays. In a world where many are fishing for the same business, in fashion or marketing, the key to business results is creativity and the ability to surprise and delight people.
- Annie Atkins – Designing For films
Annie decided to work within the movie industry after watching Mary Poppins. Taking us through her amazing design work for film she also spoke about the importance of a strict schedule matching with the shooting, the highly detailed pieces of work, and her relation with Wes Anderson when working on The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Annie’s role is crucial in the success of a film as she needs to beautifully articulate the director’s story whilst using observations and solid research (paperwork, signage, historic posters,…) to make the story accurate and relevant. One of the most touching points in her creative process is that she purposefully includes mistakes (like a random letter spacing) because she realises that mistakes are a part of reality.
Two pieces of work created by Annie Atkins created for The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Boxtrolls
- Ali Ali – 10 Stupid things I learnt in Advertising
Within every work situation we are presented with a risky or a safe path. Director Ali Ali doesn’t seem to take either, instead he goes with what creatively captures him, which takes him beyond the norm and ensures his idea is not tampered with.
During this talk Ali shared his belief in all he creates, drawing from past experiences and applies this to his films. This belief led him to even say no to a client, one in particular who hated an advert he had created, yet Ali was adamant about keeping it the same and this passion caused the client to reconsider. You can find below examples of where Ali has pushed the limits and created something truly spectacular.
Too Silly Too Insulting Too Informative Too Complicated
- YouTube and the Entertainment Revolution
YouTube’s global Head of Culture and Trends Kevin Alloca took centre stage to present a showreel of YouTubers creating content specifically for the platform.
The platform’s early adopters are now rewarded for creating and sharing their videos, however Kevin was keen to stress on the importance and influence that raw and real life has. Last month’s most successful YouTube channel was the Hydraulic Press, gaining 44,000 subscribers in just one month. Largely due to the increasingly weekly engagement from subscribers providing ideas for future content – commenting on the objects they want to see squashed.
The creative obsession
To conclude, it is clear that no matter how different, the creative process plays a role within the production of great design, what is imperative is that it remains an obsession by those who use it to create.
The D&AD festival enabled us access to the creative processes behind the most ground-breaking ideas and practices produced by some of the most talented designers in the world. Providing perspectives from various different genres, experiences and backgrounds.
By watching and sharing in their processes, what has become obvious is we must innovate and adapt at the rate of emerging tech and trends, while equally understanding how to push the boundaries and break norms so that our audiences are continually surprised and inspired.
Moving forwards, we are inspired to take these processes into our own day to day work, remembering that it is the key to take someone on an engaging and relative journey with the design we produce. Either way it is likely our processes will continue to be an obsession for much of our creative careers to come.
Contagious’ annual Now Next Why event provides a thought-provoking forum for a cross-section of industry speakers and Contagious members to discuss some of the biggest challenges facing creative businesses over the year ahead.
With this in mind, the first session kicked off with Contagious’ Patrick Jeffrey posing the question, ‘What’s the biggest creative challenge facing businesses over the next 12 months?’ to some of the most influential names in the advertising industry, from brand CMOs like GE’s Linda Boff and Mondelez’s Dana Anderson to revered agency leaders such as David Droga.
The answers you might expect – that of an ever-changing landscape of platforms, new technology and shifting audiences – weren’t there. Instead, more practical concerns emerged: avoiding strategic short-termism, how to ensure employees were motivated, and therefore better-placed for disruption within the marketplace, as well as the ever-increasing complexity of the agency landscape and its multiplying subdivisions and specialisms. These themes very much set the agenda for the rest of the day.
On came Copa90’s James Kirkham (disclaimer: he’s my old boss from my days at digital agency Holler) to explain exactly how they’re doing a grand job of disrupting the football marketing landscape. Seeing the giant gulf between Alan Hansen sitting in a suit in a stuffy glass commentary box at the Rio World Cup vs. the fans on the beach below taking photos, singing songs and being the centre of attention was the spark that launched Copa90. They now embrace fan-led new technologies, such as Snapchat and Periscope, to empower fans and launch lightning-quick pieces of content with the audience in the engine room, and turn around content to serve the need of the new hyper-connected fan. Not all of it sticks, but you shouldn’t fear failure, mused Kirkham. And of course, always listen to your data. ‘Embrace data, don’t scrape it’ were his parting words – inferring that data literacy needs to be baked into everyone in the business to really drive content success – not siloed in a corner, pored over by a few Excel monkeys.
Next up came Contagious’ Chloe Markowitz and Truffle Pig’s Paul Markum, to talk through some of the innovative ways that brands are using Snapchat and how it’s simultaneously managing to both excite and petrify brand clients across the globe in equal measure. Some fears in the room, of mostly 30+ marketing professionals, were assuaged when Chloe revealed that the 35+ segment is one of the platform’s most rapid growth segments, and therefore Snapchat is no longer the place where teens go to hide from mum and dad on Facebook.
One of the most interesting sections of the day came from Contagious’ Katrina Dodd and Grabble’s Daniel Murray to talk through ‘responsive retail’. Katrina explained how marketers are pushing the limits of tech and infrastructure to service the needs of the customer better than ever before.
- Belgian loans provider Record Bank managed to extend the consideration phase of their car loan product by developing an innovative app that allowed users to scan any car ad they saw with a phone app to reveal exactly how much they’d pay back on a loan for that vehicle.
- Try.com taps into the sharing economy model, allowing customers to try clothes for free and only pay for the clothes they keep. The service has seen participating brand mentions and conversions skyrocket as a result of the service.
- Daniel Murray’s Grabble – a ‘Tinder for fashion’, a reductive tagline Daniel possibly regretted giving it, is currently the fastest growing mobile commerce app in the UK. The app allows discovery and has elements of curation, meaning users can quickly hone in on the clothes they like, and discover the clothes they didn’t know they needed at the swipe of a finger. He puts the company’s success and resilience through a turbulent time down to constant iteration of the product, and a refusal to stop moving.
The day rounded off with Contagious’ Arif Haq and Heineken’s Josefein Olij discussing the challenges of creative leadership. “‘The hardest job in the industry falls not to those who come up with creative ideas, but those who risk their careers in approving them’ observed Haq. He explained we’re naturally inclined as humans to reject creativity, despite saying it’s what we need – we innately don’t like change or the new. However, these ambiguities can be embraced and Haq gave Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches as a perfect example. The creative team had a hunch that women were more beautiful than they would describe themselves to be. Before it was tested, they actually had no idea if this would be correct. The client felt reassured that the fact that they didn’t know also meant that it had never been done before and encouraged them to proceed: self-confidence is important in creativity, but equally vital is a sense of self-doubt.
By OMD UK
The world’s first Twitter-activated vending machine puts the crunch back into a Walkers Crisps promotion.
Walkers Crisps has been making Brits smile since 1948, and with 10 million bags eaten every day, it’s fair to say their snacks really are the nation’s favourite.
Its marketing efforts over the years haven’t been too shabby either. Take the Do Us A Flavour promotion; launched in 2008, Walkers turned a traditional FMCG promotion into something revolutionary by inviting the public to invent the next flavour of crisps.
But fast-forward to 2014, and following a rash of FMCG imitators, Do Us a Flavour was in danger of going stale, particularly amongst younger millennials. Walkers asked OMD UK to put the crunch back into the original and best, making it famous all over again.
The big idea
For 2014, OMD UK’s challenge was to behave in exactly the same way as we had in 2008, turning tradition into revolution.
Say Hello to ‘Tweet to Eat’. In a world first, the team at OMD UK took a very ordinary bus shelter 6-sheet, and turned it into a Twitter- activated vending machine on London’s Oxford Street; a revolutionary concept that stayed true to their ambition, and capitalised on millennials’ love for social and mobile.
Making it happen
Making this a reality took a unique combination of Twitter, digital screens, purpose-built software and traditional vending machine hardware. With only 20cm of depth, they had a lot to fit inside!
Then OMD UK had some fun; digital creative was designed to give those waiting at the bus stop the illusion of brand ambassador Gary Lineker trapped inside the poster site. Gary interacts with people in the street in real-time, waving and taking pictures with them and even notificating people if their bus had arrived. Communicating via a hand-written sign Gary also lets people know that f they tweet the advertisement, they’ll get a free packet of Walkers crisps. After they do, Gary appears to get a Twitter notification, which he responds to by dropping a packet of crisps through the chute, into the hands of the tweeting customer.
Of course, OMD UK wanted to give the vending machine fame on a national scale too, and so created a 90-second film that was pushed out on social channels, giving the whole nation a reason to talk about the new flavours.
The need for change
For years McDonald’s had been communicating to their audience via broad mass media and it had worked perfectly. However, we were beginning to see a stagnating return on media investment and overall we identified the following challenges.
- Market conditions and technology improvements have changed consumer behaviour and media consumption drastically. Running consecutive TV-spots throughout the year were no longer sufficient in order to attract and communicate with today’s customers. We had to focus on digital media.
- McDonald’s had entered many new day-parts such as Breakfast and night open, plus they expanded into new product areas such as smoothies and frappés. But to be successful in these areas it required a different approach than the usual mass marketing.
In order to change this situation, we had to understand the consumers’ journey to purchase much better. This meant that we needed to change our entire way of thinking. We had to move away from targeting broad audiences based on age, sex and fast food consumption, and start focusing on behaviour and needs in order to become much more relevant and targeted. We needed to adapt our marketing to every single moment in our customers’ daily media usage and apply a ‘MyMcDonald’s’ approach instead of a ‘MassMcDoanld’s’ approach.
The segment study and enriching media insights
A ‘MyMcDonald’s’ approach includes enhancing and supporting all of McDonald’s customers’ preferences and experiences, so McDonald’s became highly personal and relevant. As we only had broad customer insights an in-depth segmentation study of McDonald’s’ customers’ behaviour was conducted. This study brought new knowledge and allowed us to be even more targeted, but we wanted to take it to the next level. In order to make the identified five segments actionable and move from mass communication to one-to-one communication, we matched this information with media consumption data. We then set out to combine the segmented data with an agile digital approach in a way never seen before – transforming insights directly into digital personas (profiles) to be used in our digital programmatic planning and buying tools.
When serving a banner for a client who opted in, or via our data partnerships, our Data Management Platform (DMP) grabs two types of information: cookie ID of the device we served an ad on and the URL where the ad was served. Our DMP then crawls the URL, scanning it for unique keywords and phrases, identifying what makes this page unique. All findings are tied together into our world model – a semantic model displaying what the Danish population is consuming in terms of specific words and phrases from articles, blogs, commercial and non-commercial sites within the last 30 days. The findings are also tied to the specific users’ profile so each ad impression tells us something about that specific user and the Danish population as a whole.
We then take the insights from the McDonald’s segment study and use them to identify users belonging to a given segment. The Immortals, for instance, are tech oriented, so we identify users where tech terms and phrases are overrepresented compared to the world model. We also know that they are predominantly male singles. From our socio-demographic segments in the DMP we know how to identify these users as well as what makes them different from the rest of the population. The system looks at all the cookies that fulfill the constraints set forth – i.e. consuming tech, interested in gaming and other things that characterise the segment and identify what makes them unique as a segment, creating a positive sample of an Immortal.
We then compare the rest of the population to that positive sample and identify the users/cookies that correspond enough to the positive sample to be included in the segment, and through our DMP/DSP integrations we are now able to buy those segments programmatically.
Enhancing the creative output
Being able to target the desired target group in such a precise manner gives the creative agency the chance to create messages and product offerings with a better fit to that specific target group. The level of precision targeting means that the creative agency can create day parted messaging for each segment e.g. targeting Joe, the Immortal, creating a McMuffin message for morning hours, Cheeseburger for lunch time, McFlurry as the tempting afternoon snack and a Big Mac meal for dinner time. So in essence, our targeting technology enables us to fulfill the marketing dream of the right audience with the right message at the right time.
Our new approach has generated significant value to McDonald’s. Not only on a media ROI level but at a core business level as well, positively affecting sales and the ‘cost per guest count’:
- The overall digital ROI has increased from 2.6 to 5.8 – performing better than TV!
- Programmatic Buying has the lowest cost amongst all media groups for bringing a guest into the physical restaurants – and at an index 17 compared to traditional digital display buying – so more than five times better than traditional display advertising.
- Through the use of data, the sales lift from Digital activities has tripled from 2013 to 2014 and digital is now generating close to 20% of the total media-driven sales.
Moreover, this approach and use of technology have become best practice globally within McDonald’s and is currently being implemented across markets.
This is Christmas. And this is the John Lewis Christmas campaign. This is arguably the most high-profile marketing campaign in the UK and the most significant commercial period for all retailers. Each new John Lewis Christmas campaign is hotly anticipated, analysed, debated, critiqued, rated and talked about. Failing to engage the nation will therefore have a significant commercial, social and cultural impact on the John Lewis brand.
The pressure to succeed is only extended by the fact that every retailer is desperately trying to topple John Lewis’ position as theUK’s favourite Christmas advertiser. Resting on past glories was never an option.
The idea- first anticipation, then imagination
John Lewis sits in a truly privileged position. People are genuinely excited about seeing the latest ‘John Lewis Christmas ad’. With this natural anticipation, we set out to start conversations about Monty even before he had been launched.
Monty is a penguin and the best friend of a little boy, Sam. To the viewer, Monty is a real-life penguin. But by the end of the ad we discover that Monty is actually Sam’s well-loved soft toy. A child’s imagination is a wonderful thing; many like Sam bring their favourite toy to life. With this insight, we created a campaign that encouraged imagination and people to see things with childlike wonder!
Bringing it to live with powerful media and tech partnerships
With so much riding on Christmas, we placed huge emphasis on collaboration. As such, we started briefing media owners at the start of the summer and in the true spirit of partnership we gave them unprecedented client, creative and agency access.
To get the nation talking about Monty even before the very first spot we turned to Channel 4. They proposed an innovative approach to seeding the penguin by allowing him to be integrated in their station trailers, where the four logo is constructed out of moving objects. These would then be used as 10” teasers promoting the launch spot in Gogglebox within an entire ad break takeover!
To stimulate imagination we installed a ‘Monty’s Den’ (i.e. grotto) into every store, where children and their parents could deepen their relationship with our penguin star.
In partnership with Google, we created ‘Monty’s Goggles’ for every ‘Den’, where we used Google Cardboard to deliver an immersive virtual reality experience – putting Monty and innovative technology in the hands of our shoppers to stimulate their own minds!
In the flagship Oxford Street store the digital technology was taken a step further with ‘Monty’s Magical Toy Machine’. In partnership with Microsoft we developed a technological first; whereby children’s soft toys were digitally scanned and then brought to life before their eyes, so they could dance together with their favourite cuddly friend on the latest 4K TV screens. A truly magical event!
2014 was the Christmas of Monty
Specifically, the anticipation and imagination activity made Monty a marketing star:
- 5m tuned in for the C4 premiere with break retention at 91% up from LY (89%)
- There were 5m conversations around #MontyThePenguin before the ad had even launched
- John Lewis was the first UK retailer to use Google Cardboard and ‘Monty’s Goggles’ was made available in all 44 stores across 92 handsets / cardboard devices
- Over 2,600 children brought their own favourite toy to life with Microsoft’s ‘Monty’s Magical Toy Machine’, which equates to 5 scans an hour across the 7 weeks
- Commercially, Monty the Penguin helped John Lewis deliver a bumper Christmas with sales up 5.5% YoY vs. a market increase of only 1.5% (source: British Retail Consortium).
CHAPPiE is a movie released by Sony Pictures, centred on Chappie, a police droid who is stolen and given new programming. Effectively born again with artificial intelligence, Chappie was raised from a ‘baby’ to think and feel for himself in the impressionable underbelly of Johannesburg. What impact would nature and nurture have on his upbringing, and could his creator rescue him from becoming the very problem he was initially created to police?
We were given two marketing goals – demonstrate a point of differentiation between CHAPPiE and the cornucopia of other robot movie releases, and to ground the story of CHAPPiE in a way that our young male audience can connect with.
The motifs of CHAPPiE concentrated on the idea of self-expression. What do we learn from our surroundings (both personal and physical) and what impact does that have on who we are and who we become. When developing as human beings, how do we outwardly express ourselves as the existential sum of our learned parts? We took the idea of self-expression and looked at how our young male target audience express themselves in the real world. Our chosen method had to align with the themes of CHAPPiE but needed to remain grounded in a way that delivered against one of the key goals. By talking to our target audience and looking closely at the themes of the movie, it became clear that graffiti and street-art were the most interlinked expressive forms of creative output we could use in our marketing and media.
Europe’s largest piece of shareable graffiti art
Our solution was to build Europe’s largest shareable piece of graffiti art – a 60 feet by 10 feet piece of art created by professional artists using the themes within the movie itself. The artwork was made up of 600 individual canvasses that, when completed, could be dismantled and shared with others – mirroring the theme that we are all just a sum of our learned parts; a canvas on which the world paints itself. However, the artwork itself would only become relevant with the involvement of some key social influencers to let everyone know about it.
An experiential event such as ours existed within a small space for a relatively short time, therefore for it to be relevant we needed a lot of people to know about it quickly. We ran a live-stream of the creation, and eventual destruction, of our artwork via Twitch, played out to core gaming fans who were able to prove had a higher propensity to watch sci-fi movies than the average cinema-goer. We invited 14 of YouTube’s most creative influencers from around Europe to help produce the artwork, whilst recording and posting about their time with us to fans throughout their social channels. At the end of the evening, the giant piece of graffiti art was taken apart and shared amongst the YouTube influencers who gave the pieces away to their fans.
“I can’t believe how this has progressed, from an idea to the event and the huge reach it has had. I couldn’t be prouder of the program and the team. We risked a lot to get this off the ground and it paid off in a big way. I want to thank everyone involved for all of your hard work, dedication, creativity and most of all spirit of true partnership to make this happen. The Chappie event has set the standard for what all of the markets worldwide want to be a part of going forward.” – Aaron Wahle – SVP International Digital Marketing
The first-of-its-kind campaign delivered more live-streams of the artwork being produced than the live-stream of the Amazing Spider-Man 2 premiere. We were able to capture our target audience’s imagination in a way that helped double the film’s unaided awareness levels versus the genre average for that time period and as importantly demonstrated, to Sony Pictures, OMD’s credentials in being a true marketing-performance partner.
By OMD Spain
In Spain the Quick Service Restaurant category faces a huge lack of differentiation due to aggressive communication centered on price, creating the battle of the €1 promotions. Yet despite low prices consumers still want more for their money. Consumers are hungry for added value and far from impressed with ordinary promotions. Therefore, we challenged McDonald’s to strengthen the communication of their premium products through innovation and quality, leaving the €1 battle behind.
The idea was to create a brand new burger right in front of the consumer’s eyes, promoting McDonald’s commitment to innovation and quality. Our objective was to tell the whole story from the very beginning with authentic and credible people up till the selection process when a new McDonald’s product would be born.
We created a story told in a natural, non-intrusive way that linked to the Spanish food culture. We found the perfect laboratory to create this innovation: the most watched TV contest for professional Chefs, called “Top Chef”. Top Chef is the most watched cooking show for professional chefs in Spain and, since its first season, has maintained the highest audience numbers during prime time. For McDonald’s it was the perfect place to gain credibility around quality and innovation while being closely connected to a user with the same interest and passion around food.
Making the vision a reality in under 24 hours
The eight competitive chefs faced a challenge to create the most delicious burger ever, whilst using any ingredients they wanted. At the same time McDonald’s accepted the challenge of turning the winning creation into a commercial product right after the show, and without knowing which recipe would make it to their restaurants, this was a great risk for the brand.
The 20-minute branded TV content was a springboard to launch the new product nation-wide, 24 hours later. What’s more, all viewers who voted for the winning creation, through our specially designed app, were invited to try out the burger the very next day.
The results were outstanding for both McDonald’s and the category as a whole. From an estimated 4% increase in sales, the burger exceeded all expectations with sales reaching 2.5 times higher in just six days, accounting for 10.1% of all McDonald’s products sold.
Five weeks later sales kept rising at 6.5%, a rate 2.5% higher than predicted.
Brand awareness increased 15% compared to the 4 previous weeks and, after the show, McDonald’s reached 74% brand recall with an 88% buying intention.
By Claire Dean, Strategy Director OMD UK, and Chris Evans, Business Director OMD UK
Humans was the brand new drama from Channel 4 that imagined a world where synthetic humans (“synths”) are the new must-have household gadget. It asked what it means to be human – if synths can drive a car and raise a child, what is our role in the world?
Our challenge was to demonstrate the show’s appeal beyond the sci-fi geek and get people to tune in. We needed to do this and stay true to Channel 4’s ‘challenger’ remit of disrupting the status quo.
We realised that the issues that surfaced in the show were already attracting heated public discussion, with commentary from the likes of Professor Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk on the risks of artificial intelligence fuelling the debate further.
The idea of synths playing a role in real human life evoked a very emotional response.
Our challenge was to take this cerebral theoretical debate into the mainstream, make it real, and absolutely relevant so that ordinary people weighed in with their viewpoints and tuned in every week to watch.
Making Persona Synthetics a reality
The solution was to launch Persona Synthetics, the fictional company from the show, as a real business, promoting synths as genuine products available for purchase.
To ‘launch’ the Persona Synthetics brand in under eight weeks was a near impossible task. This wasn’t just about planning and booking media: we assembled a SWAT team with key people from across OMD UK and Fuse, partnering with Channel 4 Marketing, 4creative, and our media partners Microsoft and eBay – as well as PR teams from all parties.
Bringing it to life
It started with a Persona Synthetics TV advert, free from any Channel 4 branding. Social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook supported the belief that Persona Synthetics were real, and then came the physical heart of our campaign: a flagship store on London’s Regent Street.
The storefront dominated the high street, sitting next door to the world famous Hamley’s toy shop and across the road from London’s iconic Apple Store. The frontage housed two 90” digital screens which incorporated the latest Microsoft Kinect technology, allowing people to personalise synths through gesture control. We had actors posing as Persona Synthetics employees delivering synths to the store, reinforcing the illusion that these products were available to buy – right there, right then. Print, digital and social ads directed people to the shop, allowing us to behave in every way like a real retail launch.
We secured eBay as our online retail partner where we pretended to auction off two synth models. This was the first time a fictional brand has been sold on the site.
“Convincing the nation that synthetic humans were real products available for purchase and helping to get over six million people to tune into the premiere of Humans was an incredible achievement. We were proud to work with our partners to make this campaign happen and it truly set the benchmark for advertising last year.”
Laura Ward, Channel 4 Group Marketing Manager
The rich mix of campaign elements came together beautifully to produce game-changing results: Persona Synthetics trended as the #1 search on Google and Twitter on opening weekend and within three weeks, Persona Synthetics’ website had over 1 million hits.
Most importantly, a staggering 6.1 million people tuned into episode 1, over three times our target number. Humans became Channel 4’s highest rating originated drama of all time.