A few years back, ad land was dominated by headlines asking the question: ‘Is data killing creativity?’ and it was long deliberated that all this talk of algorithms, artificial intelligence and big data was drowning out the significance of the creative, which of course is what captures consumers’ imaginations in the first place. But I think we can all agree now that it is a blend of the art and the science which results in effective marketing.
A report from Episerver showed that despite a growing focus on analytics and big data within organisations, 59% of marketers believe that creativity is more important than data. But then again, great creative always starts with a strategy and that’s where the data comes into play. Data is what helps to unleash the power of creativity.
While the entire Festival of Media Global 2018 awards shortlist was awash with creativity, we’ve delved specifically into the ‘Creative Use of Media’ category to uncover who is really pushing the media boundaries and how data and digital are helping – not hindering – creativity.
Of the nine shortlisted entries in this category, FMCG and drinks are leading the charge (accounting for two thirds of the campaigns) with additional offerings from the telecoms, travel and not-for-profit sectors. By region, the most creative uses of media were implemented in EMEA (67%), APAC (22%) and Latin America (11%).
Past FOMG entries in this category have often focused on one single media channel but this year, just one of the entries did – with Sensodyne taking an ambient approach to getting its message directly into the hands of consumers with the creation of a cardboard holder tray for cold drinks. The campaign addressed a real pain-point for consumers and that was something that was tackled in a further two entries, whereby rather than playing on consumers’ passions or interests, the approach was taken to capitalise on moments of distress by offering a valid and welcome solution, at the right time in the right place.
If there’s one thing that great creative is famed for, it’s creating an emotional connection with consumers. As the winning entry in this category (see below) showed, until recently brands could only use media to broadcast sensory experiences for the eyes and ears but new technologies are giving rise to the next advertising industry frontier – digital sensory storytelling.
In addition to real-time creative solutions, popular media channels in this category being used to implement an unconventional approach to advertising were out-of-home, mobile, digital video, social media and online hubs. One particular campaign took the traditional medium of radio to new heights with a location-based, real-time campaign that was also supported by digital OOH creative.
“I think it’s important that we first look at the function that each of our media channels is performing and that we don’t look at them just in isolation,” said Ben Maher, who at the time of speaking at the Festival of Media Global in Rome was Sales & Partnerships Director, JC Decaux and now Chief Commercial Officer at VIOOH. “Up until very recently OOH has been a little bit siloed because we haven’t had the same data benefits which the digital world brings to us and that involves having time stamped data, knowing when things are playing out and contributing to DMPs so that you can utilise mobile technologies. We’re still a top of funnel function, we’re still providing brand fame, mass awareness to an audience, we can just be a lot more intelligent about how we do it these days.”
But at the heart of it all, the best campaigns showed that media channels were clearly considered right at the start of the creative process, were tailored in a way that created stand out from the norm and offered a unique call to action in a unique environment.
Sven De Smet, Head of Brand, Consumer Journey and Communications, Volvo, said: “If you look beyond the actual romancing of the product and the interactivity or the storytelling from the values of your brand or the reaction of consumers, it makes it much more alive and interesting to do an omnichannel approach because different connections can be made on different media. Sometimes it’s the mix of low tech and high tech that makes it happen. Follow your customer, tell a story that is interesting, lead them through a maze of content and just interact with them.”
Creativity is far from dead. It’s not just surviving but thriving. And by uniting the powerful forces of data and creativity, embracing the technologies and capabilities that our new digital world has to offer, creativity will go a long way in preserving the magic that consumers have always desired.
We put the spotlight on two FOMG Awards 2018 shortlisted entries, which highlight this trend:
Gillette BabyFace | Gillette | MediaCom | Israel
Shortlisted for: The Creative Use of Media Award (GOLD WINNER), Best Use of Technology, Special Award – Brand Bravery Award
When your job is selling razors, beards are bad news. And in recent years beards have been everywhere. Among certain groups of younger men, almost everyone has a beard. MediaCom realised that probably the last opportunity to change behaviour was when men become dads. Research shows that the male brain physically changes, putting new dads into a state where they are willing to make a change… for their baby. Clean shaven was better than beards for baby.
The agency’s objective was to convince new dads to consider going clean shaven for the first months of fatherhood. Babies’ only means of communication is touch. So, the entire communication plan evolved around touch! Firstly, it would highlight new/expecting parents to raise awareness to the importance of “skin to skin” communication and the new meaning of BabyFace. Second, it would put that skin sensation in their hands and be much more experiential. A unique digital experience would take advantage of the haptic technology that powers touchscreen devices to allow men to feel what it’s like to touch a beard or stubble and contrast that with a smooth-shaven face.
Gillette had to convince new dads that they should consider going clean-shaven at least temporarily, for the first few months of their baby’s life. It showed dads what stubble felt like to babies via sensory storytelling. Print ads in leading male magazines used actual sandpaper to bring the experience to life. It also created a unique, first of its kind force-touch haptics technology app, went to meet new dads by promoting the BabyFace app at baby-fairs and launched the first-ever global tie up between Gillette and Pampers, creating a daddy pack that combined diapers and razor.
O2 Oops | O2 | Havas Media | UK
Shortlisted for: The Creative Use of Media Award (SILVER WINNER), Best Branded Content in traditional / non-digital channels
Over the last three years, the UK racked up an astonishing £1bn repair bill for cracked mobile phone screens whilst 45% of broken screens go unrepaired. O2 listened, and took a stand: making free screen repairs a core market proposition for the first time, anywhere. For many screen cover can feel like something they probably won’t need, and a rather dry benefit. But when they experience or see it happening then it has strong emotional resonance – it wasn’t about communicating a message but the feeling.
You know that feeling when you drop your phone, pick it up, hope it isn’t, turn it over and… “Oh shit. Screens cracked”. The ASA wouldn’t let the creative message be “oh shit”. That was translated as “Oops”. So, the challenge Havas Media set was this: “Can the MEDIA communicate that “oh shit” feeling where the message can’t?” It focused on communicating the ‘oops’ moment. It didn’t need long explanations, or lots of rational product messaging. The solution simply presented a universally-relatable moment – a cracked screen – and let the audience fill in the gaps.
This insight translated into ‘smash everything’ as a media idea. O2 ‘broke’ billboards, ‘punched through’ paper and ‘trashed’ digital media. It used lenticular technology to create the illusion of cracked screens. Digital Escaltor Panels (DEPs) ‘rolled’ phones down escalators. Unmissable Press formats focused on a single-minded message. And by making every media encounter an Oops moment, the physical executions and simple messaging dovetailed delivering authentic stand out.