Advertising today is about telling stories, emotional connections, entertainment and
changing the world. Yes really. And this was reflected in the work and awards at
This is the most exciting time to be in the marketing communications industry.
Because there are no rules – you get to make it up as you go along and if you are
brave, you get to do the work you’ve always wanted. Maybe even change the world.
The central “theme’, if you will, of The Loeries Awards this year was that advertising
can be great while also doing good, that brands have the power to change the
world, to really create meaningful change – and that there has been a tangible shift
in consumer perception and rewards for brands that are being seen to do good.
This was the core message from Creative Week in Cape Town last month, the
highlights of which included The Loerie Awards 20 to 21 September 2014, and the
DStv Seminar of Creativity on 19 September 2014, featuring the international
judges and their work, as well as maverick comedian, John Vlismas, who was also
MC on both awards nights on the Saturday and Sunday.
Those judges included the Aussie shop responsible for the award winning viral
sensation, Australian Metro rail campaign, “Dumb Ways to Die’
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= FceKlVbL2wY). I’ve heard local creatives
reference the campaign many times, each time wondering how the agency
concerned managed to “sell’ the idea to their client.
As Patrick Baron, executive creative director of McCann Australia, and the agency
responsible for “Dumb Ways’, said: “Fuck the formula!’ He believes, in order to be
authentic and create diverse work, agencies and marketers can’t stick to a formula.
That was why they didn’t attempt to replicate the success of “Dumb Ways to Die’ for
any other client with animation and a catchy song.
It is all about the content, emphasised PJ Pereira, chief creative officer and co-
founder of Pereira and O’Dell in San Francisco. He called his presentation at the
Loeries seminar the three “rules’ of content (think like a marketer; behave like an
entertainer; move like a tech start-up), and then encouraged creatives to break all
the rules by experimenting more and taking risks like a tech start-up, testing ideas
and moving to market rapidly.
What he was clear on though, was that creative work needs to make an emotional
connection with consumers, inspire and touch your heart. His Skype commercials
Brings-Families-Together/?interstital_shown=1) did just that, using real people and
real stories to show the power of the connections maintained and created through
Skype around the world.
Pereira made the point that brands want people to remember them, not just notice
them which is where great work came in, that was brave, entertaining, memorable:
“If you want consumers to stay engaged, you need to stay interesting. That is the
magic. We need to do the magic together.’
That “magic’ was the combination of the technology available today too, said Rob
Newlan, Facebook’s head of Europe, Middle East and Africa. He believes the
combination of technology and creativity and art and science today is what makes
this an unparalleled time to be creative.
“I love my job. We are living in this amazing time to be in marketing, to be
creative… [this] accelerating open and connected world. You can feel your work
being brought to life,’ Newlan told the creative audience which packed Cape Town’s
City Hall. “The opportunity is now… to have an idea and bring it to life.’ He urged
people to move away from debates on the right “thing’ to do, to actual “doing’.
Yaw Nsarkoh, Unilever managing director, Nigeria, said business has an opportunity
to do well by doing good in Africa in particular, where brands could be crafted for
life in communities where they pushed the frontiers.
The key was to understand the “humanity’ behind ideas, said Newlan. There are
myriad examples online of people who started careers on YouTube, young people
who had come up with world-saving ideas (19-year-old Boyan Slat who figured out
how to clean up the plastic in the oceans), entrepreneurs who realised their dreams
by just doing it (Elon Musk). Newlan said brands needed to look at examples out
there and get involved, like the denim manufacturer which believes it can harness
the plastic cleaned out of the oceans to make it into jeans.
He doesn’t believe the creative revolution has happened yet, unlike the
technological revolution which is well underway. “Good design is good business.
This is a great time to be living. Look forward. Test the possibilities of what we
have. We need to do work that makes a difference to people’s lives: ADDvertising,
not advertising,’ Newlan concluded.
The Loerie Awards seemed to acknowledge this, with campaigns that won reflecting
these new values: of ADDvertising, of entertainment, of campaigns that are about
the message, the content. As advertising commentator Sarah Britten (@Anatinus)
tweeted: “None of the 4 Grand Prix #Loeries awarded last night were for what you’d
understand as advertising in the conventional sense.’
Exactly, there was no “formula’.