Tuesday, June 10, 2008

cannes prediction reel (watching TV at work)

earlier today i found myself in some traditional ad training, where we reviewed the final 50 ads to make it into the Cannes Lions 2008 (a big ad festival/awards in France where agencies submit their best ads of the year, and have winners chosen by...surprise! a bunch of OTHER ad agency people).

while many of the spots viewed were pretty keen, most them were too long, overly dramatic, + TOO involved. which reinforces to me that the traditional ad industry just doesn't get it. while i do think many of them are creative geniuses who know how to take a brand strategy and subtlety weave a message that dramatically expresses the benefits of product X, most of them are STILL too focused on ONE medium VS unleashing that experience across the entire spectrum of marketing. the fact that they become SO obsessed with just that medium to continue to celebrate the tradition in an awards show communicates to me that they're [sometimes, more often than not] just talking to themselves.

fortunately for you, i won't share every ads viewed. i WILL share the ones that i found engaging, and mind + heart opening. in many cases, the ads below were either part of a larger "campaign" (a series of ads along a similar theme), or had deeper integrated marketing elements that really made it hunt beyond TV (the Burger King, Halo, and HBO ads are good examples of this). and then, in some [most] cases, the ad itself was really cool, but didn't do a very good job selling me on anything, but as a consumer i say "hey, cool + entertaining content, so who cares?"

so anyhow, you'll find MY highlights below, w/ a quick gut analysis after (+ to be clear, i am not a good critic of TV advertising, but i am a good critic of entertaining content). but i'd love to know what you think. so pull up a snack, sit back, and enjoy:

Budweiser "dude":

i am easily amused. a good start.

Net10 "not evil" campaign:

a bit long winded, but i was engaged throughout, thinking there was deeper meaning to these documentary-like spots. even with the reveal at the end, i was OK, because they made a point.

Brylcreem "effortless":

could have sworn this was a soccer commercial.

Kellog's All Bran "construction worker":

crude. but effective (and funny!). reminds me of another cliche segue used in another genre of films (trains going thru tunnels, oil drilling, rocket ships launching, you get the idea)

Burger King "Simpsonize me":

the ad is OK, but i remember the campaign, and it was amazing. more than 60 MILLION people simpsonized themselves in the leadup to the movie. way to jump onto a bigger movement/fan base.

HBO "Voyeur":

THIS was cool. in NY, they actually handed out special invites for people to go stand + see a building that had a projection on the side that made it seem like you were looking inside. i plan to go watch this later.

Bundaberg Rum "wish we were in Australia"

Bundaberg rum is BY FAR my favorite rum. thanks to my buddy Ben for getting me hooked to something i do not have easy access too. any friends going to Australia, bring me back a bottle. it's got a polar bear on it.

HBO "stories" campaign:

this campaign was brilliant. i love HBO programming for this very reason (and i usually get it on DVD/online). everything they make, across their many genres of shows/movies/specials, has this perfect storytelling element to it.

"new" Diamond Shreddies:

smart, and hilarious. part of a bigger viral campaign. not sure how it actually fared, but definitely a new twist on an old product/concept

Halo 3

i'm not a heavy gamer, but objective of this campaign was to drive relevancy and awareness of a video game for people who didn't really care about video games. not exactly wii-relevant, but man does this drama grip you. i love the casting of the old guys reminiscing in an almost history-channel like WW2 type documentary. and i'm a sucker for documentaries. and space aliens.

Bud Light "swear jar":

f**k this ad is hilarious. that's all. no sh*t.

Smirnoff [spoiler] Red "Sea":

at first i was pretty sure this ad had some environmental relevance, maybe for an oil company trying to prove that it was looking into alternative energy sources. how this is relevant to alcohol, i still have no idea. but really fun to watch.

Cyloop "Pool":

ah racist stereotypes. you make for such good advertising. now you know why i wear no jewelry. or swim. or surround myself with buxom women. or rap.

Neo Sports "gas":

holy crap this ad is good. at first you think it's some sort of public service announcement. but then the pay off. if you know anything about sports rivalry, and have some inkling to the broader socio-political rivalry between india and pakistan, this ad should give you shivers.

Coca Cola "it's mine":

while i HAVE to think we stole the show at this past year's superbowl, i think this ad really took the cake. the pursuit kept the emotion of the product front and center. and our man charlie brown brings it home.

Burger King "Whopper Freakout":

numerous agency folks have been citing how breakthrough this campaign is. it was definitely an original take. the premise is good, taking a somewhat stale to declining franchise and bringing it back to the forefront with their flagship product. brilliant!

FedEx "Conference Call":

ha. skipping work is funny. the "i'm still here" gag at the end is even better. reminds me of mustafa from the first austin powers: "i'm still alive only I'm very badly burned.!" genius.

FedEx "Carrier Pigeons":

more gold from Fed Ex. who doesn't like giant mutant carrier pigeons. at least they don't have frickin' laser beams attached to their heads...

Hydro "kid engineers":

that's right kids. like tormenting your adults? then engineering is the field for you. sadly, i think i knew some of these kids in college (mallet?)

Buckley's "blind test":

unabashedly, these guys are willing to admit to their products fault. but that sh*t taste in your mouth, that means it's working!

Skittles "touch":

just plain ridonkulous. and such tragedy. that's what makes it perfect.

Sony "play doh":

this one is just beautifully done. you almost want to believe they ran this stop motion in the city. and there was a giant red bunny in the square.

Cadbury "gorilla":

i am left speechless with this viral hit. but what a great way to close this one out.

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