OK, listen up, people. It's time for a round of 'Awards Entry Bingo'. Pencils at the ready!
'[Insert name of client here] had a problem....'
'[Insert name of agency] was tasked with finding a solution....'
'Music/film/mobile/planking became the perfect medium through which to reach a younger demographic...'
'We created a media world first....'
'The blogosphere went nuts...'
'Consumers began posting their own content online....'
'Meanwhile, cellphones let us put the brand LITERALLY IN THE HANDS of consumers...'
'Suddenly, everyone was talking about [insert brand here]...'
How many did you score? We got all of them. Repeatedly.
As awards ceremonies for creativity in advertising attract increasingly large numbers of entries, the shorthand that dictates the creation of those entries is becoming increasingly less... creative. To be blunt - if every single one of these campaigns did everything it had promised, all conversation, both online and off, everywhere in the world, would be dominated by branded activity. Every pub, bar or restaurant would be full of people shouting over each other, desperate to communicate the way in which their perception of [insert brand here] had been dramatically refreshed by an innovative marketing campaign. Except that nobody would be IN the pub, because they'd all be too busy creating their own 'content' and uploading it to the 'blogosphere'.
Plus, there is literally no way that all the 'media world firsts' claimed at Cannes Lions this year could be genuine. Unless you're either a) doing something genuinely insanely clever or b) tattooing the moon, you're probably exaggerating. (Please don't tattoo the moon.)
However! We noted this week that London-based production house MPC has made its showreel, all interactive and production work, available via an iPhone app, with an iPad optimized version also in the works. The app includes a 'breakdowns' tab, where the elaborate processes that went into the creation of visual effects can be explored.
Meanwhile, The Mill, another post-house, has installed an enormous touchscreen
in its New York office to showcase the degree of detail and interactivity that went into each project.
We also like London-based agency Rapier's website
, a series of webcams set up in a box, pointing to all necessary information, and optimised for mobiles. Sometimes there are mice in there.
These are by no means unusual exercises - companies with a pedigree in technology, seeking new ways to promote themselves and their work.
However, this innovation in self-promotion has yet to spill over into the humble awards entry. Ask any juror from last year's Cannes Lions if they'd welcome a break from the prevailing methods, and we suspect the answer would be resoundingly positive. There are practical considerations - the teams at Cannes process thousands of entries, and as such must adhere to SOME parameters - but there are ways in which to innovate, even within the formula of a two-minute video.
Around four years ago, some smart cookies started to realize that a short case study video was the most effective way of communicating campaigns that incorporate multiple media, touchpoints and strategies. However, effective doesn't remain effective forever, and just because everybody does it the same way, doesn't mean it's still the best way.
Our final word on the subject? Obviously, it's all about the campaign itself, and not the entry, but still. Put your thinking caps on, good people of advertising. Show your ingenuity not only in the campaigns, but in the way those campaigns are presented. And give those poor jurors a break.