You've recently been working on setting up the first mobile jury with Cannes Lions. What are the challenges of identifying the unique value of mobile when it so often forms part of an integrated campaign?
The big challenge is going to be 'Why'? With mobile already being blended into so many ideas, I always ask 'why is it on the device and why did it get made in the first place?'
We need to find high utility, appropriateness for the medium and above all, a killer idea that makes it relevant and rocking. The technology and innovation that make mobile such a fun space to play can also sometimes be a trap. The idea's gotta rock just as much as the tech.
What sort of work do you hope to see at Cannes? Will awarding the most innovative mobile work help drive the category forward?
I think we'll find a mix of stand-alone mobile experiences, activation with mobile at the centre of the idea and mobile as an integral piece of a bigger campaign. No doubt we'll also see some tactical, well intentioned, not-very-well-crafted executions. But that's just part of the whole process. As much as this first year is important in terms of recognizing mobile as a distinct category - getting the work out there, having it discussed and poured over in the Palais will naturally lead to a progression in the category. With the massive amount of entries we've received this year though (we've already had to tack on an extra day of judging) I'm confident that we'll find great ideas to set the marks for the Mobile Lions going forward.
What do you think makes a great piece of mobile work?
I've got a few filters I always like to apply when looking at or creating a mobile campaign. Number one is simplicity - does it keep things easy? Does it keep the viewer at the centre of the experience? Does it connect everything and use every screen? Does the idea have an ending and finally, does it reward the viewer with a great experience? That's pretty much it. Simple really!
Coming from Saatchi & Saatchi - which is obviously a massive global agency - how well placed do you think traditional agencies are to compete with hotshops / recently opened specialists, and successfully solve clients' briefs, particularly in areas such as mobile?
I meet and work with as many new creative partners as possible - it's a matter of curation, direction and a lot of scheduling! For me, the solutions come from two parts. Number one: specifically why are we using mobile to connect our idea and message to someone at a particular place and time? And two: once we have the contextual and media planning and research to really know our audience, you get the best partners to work with us to bring the idea to life.What recommendations would you make to large agencies to become more competitive?
My advice is always the same: figure out where you need to be, surround yourself with people who can share the trip and the work and keep your ears and mind open. Remember that no one person or company makes sophisticated, multi-channel idea on their own. Always keep your structural plans 'in beta', move quickly and keep people informed along the way. We're all judged by the originality, reach, fame and 'wish I'd done that'-factor of our ideas. Whether that's nailing a recruit for a plum job or creating a fantastic new campaign that we know in our gut will change something. I've pushed for mobile connections to be identified on every project I've been close to over the past 10 years. A lot of the time (particularly, early on), I just got giggled at for this. But if you know something's right, then you need to stick with it. What's the most Contagious idea that you've seen recently (from in or out of advertising)?
Marvel Entertainment's years in the making, slowburning, cliffhanger-to-cliffhanger set-up for The Avengers is a real lesson in absolutely respecting (and not disappointing) very loyal, high-disposable income fanboys. The guys and gals who have been flocking, tweeting and blogging about this movie for years! Talk about earned media. A lesson for DC Comics: connect the tent-poles already!
Closer to home, Saatchi & Saatchi NYC's custom film-generating Trident Fun Audit
for made tax time a little less grueling with some Facebook Connect-powered fun