Tag: Story

OMD Oasis at CES 2017: The art of storytelling in an attention deficit world

At a convention powered by the latest in technological innovation, it was the art of storytelling that captivated the marketing community at OMD Oasis. Claudia Cahill, OMD Content Collective’s President, led a panel comprised of the industry’s leaders in storytelling: Steve Peace (SVP International Media, Sony Pictures), Brad Jakeman (President, PepsiCo’s Global Beverage Group), Dawn Ostroff (President, Condé Nast Entertainment), Mike McCue (CEO Flipboard) and Bryn Mooser (Co-Founder & CEO RYOT).

Each panelist offered a distinct and fascinating perspective on the challenges and contradictions inherent in storytelling in a world that demands both short, snackable content as well as complex, immersive stories that fuel our deepest passions.

Whilst all agreed that brand storytelling has become a much more complex challenge because of both consumer expectation and the proliferation of platforms and channels, the solutions varied. Steve explained that at Sony Pictures, “a narrative structure has been created in which the first 3 seconds are comprised of 5 to 10 shots; a visual mnemonic of the very best shots in our film that pulls you into watching the entire trailer’’. And it’s a narrative structure that is powered by reams of data.

At PepsiCo, Brad built a Content Center because “it was the only way to create the type of content needed to keep pace with the need for innovation’’. He explained that technology provides enormous opportunity for the expression of ideas but the content is critical. “The holy grail is how deeply someone has engaged with the content and it’s not about reach’’.
Dawn shared how she started the Next Gen Studio at Condé Nast to create a storytelling capability on every single platform and admitted that making content for a younger, Millennial audience is challenging because “GenZ have grown up on a diet of content snacks’’ and that there remains a gap in longer form content that is made specifically for them. Mike reminded the audience of the importance of having clear and meaningful objectives and that “really high-quality stories should be the goal’’, not short snackable content; “any story, short or long, has the power to move the world forward’’.

Disrupting the content creation process

The opportunity to break the rules and to disrupt the content creation process was debated and Bryn explained that the mobile phone has been the vehicle for the democratization of filmmaking. It made it possible for anyone out there to shoot a film and tell a great story. Moreover, with Facebook and YouTube 360, the way you look at video has fundamentally changed; you’re now able to step inside the story, to experience what the person holding the camera sees and feels, bringing people right up close to events around the world. And that closeness is what fuels peoples’ voices and passions.


The discussion shifted into learnings for the audience and there were five key takeaways:

  • Global vs. Local: Ensure stories are relevant across different geographies
    At PepsiCo, a content slate is developed for brands and countries in advance so that the right content is crafted. Interestingly, 90% of their content is now developed globally and shared across territories.
  • Immersive Storytelling isn’t achieved solely by technologies and tactics like VR and AR
    Narrative structure can be incredibly immersive. Consider content strategy over longer timeframes to build out worlds and/or characters, and give people a peek into that.
  • Be nimble and open to change.
    The technology still has to catch up with the vision of storytellers so be prepared to try new things.
  • Focus
    With so many choices for how and where to tell your story, it’s critical to simplify the complexity and focus on the goal of your story.
  • Be Passionate.
    Storytelling gives meaning to the world so embrace the emotion, chaos, and challenge of it.
 To find out more about the OMD Oasis programming at CES 2017, please visit CES.OMD.COM


Week Five- John Lewis, Monty the Penguin

John Lewis

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!

john lewis monty the penguin 2 jpg (3)

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.

John Lewis1

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!

The results

2014 was the Christmas of MontyJohn lewis 2

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).

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