Digital creative brand campaign wins and fails of the last 12 months – what can we learn?

| 13 Aug, 2015

Digital Journeys 2015 was the host to two panels during the day. The first was Charlotte McEleny, Digital Editor, Marketing Magazine, Ryan Watson, News Editor, shots and Max Vinall, Creative Campaign Director at Jellyfish talking about brand campaign wins and fails of the last 12 months.

Charlotte McEleny, Digital Editor, Marketing Magazine

"I think I'm going to go first, I'm Charlotte McEleny from Marketing Magazine, Digital Editor. And our brief was to think about some good campaigns and bad campaigns that encompass this topic. And I specifically chose data because I think that sits between this tech and human side. I think the context for that probably could sit quite well by the speakers' already.

So my first example . . . and I'm not going to play the whole video because it's quite long. And it's quite an old example. One of the problems I found when I was looking for good examples of data and creativity was that there weren't that many. There weren't a great deal of examples. I have got one newer version.

And you've probably seen this one because it's about a year and a half old. And it's a really good example of that intersection. It's using really, really smart data and actually ranking something so quite emotional and so surprising.

British Airways Outdoor Campaign

'Magic of Flying'

British Airways Ogilvy One,London

Cannes Lions Grand Prix 2014

So basically what they did is they took flight data, location data and they inputted that all into outdoor ads. And as a flight was going above the outdoor site, the creative said exactly what site it and input the prices. And what I love about this is that it's solved a bit of a problem. BA found that some of their flights were actually cheaper than budget airlines.

But that was a data point. At different times flights cost different things. And they wanted to show that actually they were an option versus the Ryanairs and easyJets. But how do you do that without a boring message coming across? So their agency thought of this idea. So this is how it worked. They came into an area and then that went down. It's just really, really smart. Super clever way of using data. But actually the execution was super simple and very, very creative. And people loved him. It won a Cannes award.

So my next example is a lot more recent, a couple weeks ago. And we're talking about some games and things like that we've heard about earlier. And lots of people are playing all these games where you pretend to be someone. Kim Kardashian's making a load of money out of people pretending to be her. But if I said to you, "Do you want to play a game where you're going to be a data analyst?" you'd probably say no.

IBM Wimbledon Game

'Wimbledon Online Game'

Ogilvy One, London

Essentially this game that IBM created around Wimbledon basically got people to input data. And that was incredibly addictive. It's super super smart. And I just think there's something about the fact that people are interested in data now. It's actually part of the cycle, as people that are interested in numbers more than they ever have before. So I just think that actually data can become a part of creativity because people are interested in numbers and being involved in something.

They also have their robot, Watson, on the ground, and you can ask him questions. And this idea of AI, which has previously sat in the background or in sci-fi films. It's coming to the fore, and people are a lot more interested in what's involved in that. And that can actually be the basis of the creative, not even just something that sits behind. So I love that.

And my fail is Protein World. Did everyone see this?

Beach Body Protein

'Are you beach body ready?'

Protein World

Yeah, cool. Now, I thought it was a fail because actually we took the night before thinking about things like all the data you have to power your insights, Google, all the social data you can have. They felt because there is a huge movement towards becoming more for taking protein products. I imagine before this even kicked off searches were up on protein products.

However, their messaging was really out-of-date. It was offensive. They did a very traditional outdoor tube campaign. And actually they felt a lot harder about the words that people are using, the language around it, and not only that but the placements of it. I actually think they could have created something really disruptive but not in this negative way. They did make a lot of sales off it, but I'm pretty sure that's very short-term. So it's my fail because for all the reasons we can use data to make creative very powerful, they kind of ignored it.

And I think this is why we have to think about the data before the campaign, but also as part of the creative and then also when we're planning it. Over to you."

Ryan Watson, News Editor, shots

"Okay. I've brought some campaigns along like Charlotte. How many of you skipped the ads on YouTube? Pretty much everyone. We don't like them, do we? But you might once you've seen this. Some of you might have seen it.

Geico Unskippable

'Geico unskippable campaign – family'

The Martin Agency, Richmond, VA

So I brought that one today just because it shows how brands are thinking about YouTube and how people are watching TV online now. So the traditional ads, moving from that. There is still a place for them, which you'll see in one of my other videos. But yeah, just utilising online platforms with advertising. This one, brilliant as well, how to interact with the online ad. 

So the idea of that is you press the R button on your keyboard, and you could get to see another side of the story. Brilliant interaction engagement, great.

Honda Type R

'Honda The Other Side'

Weilden + Kennedy, London

Next one I've brought along is a bit more comedy for you. Who had hotdogs for breakfast this morning? Not me.

Bratfast in Bed

'Bratfest in bed'


Droga 5

So yeah, it's just full of absolutely range of things along. One, utilising YouTube, one, interactivity with online medium and comedy. So an absolutely range."

Max Vinall, Creative Campaign Director, Jellyfish

"Thank you. I'd like to talk about emotive creative and, "If it moves us, it's working." And it sounds like quite a fancy phrase, "emotive creative," some creative campaign director would come up with. But it's a really interesting phrase to talk about the emotional attachment that some brands are putting into the work that we see. So in an increasingly digital world, we're advertised to more, we are communicated to more. We buy more. We speak more. We communicate more. On every platform, every time, everywhere we go, we shouldn't be seeing more of these ads and these campaigns clients do, brands do, where they slow everything down.

And I've got a few. I've got three here to show you. And the first one is with Coca Cola. And they do the most amazing piece of work here. And it's something that I don't expect to see from Coca Cola. And as a result, it moves me. And this is what I mean, "If it moves us, it's working." It's political. It's sensitive. It's relevant. It's topical. And it's quite amazing. And for Coke to do it, I think it's just stunning. Thirteen million views on YouTube already.

Coca Cola Ramadan

'See without labels'

Coca Cola

FP7/DXB, Dubai

Okay. And I just think that's astonishing. I don't drink Coca Cola and I never will, but this changed my opinion of that brand. I've gone from thinking, "It's just a massive conglomerate and it's just selling as much possible." And of course, they still want to sell. But they've done this in such a personal moving way, I now have a different feeling towards the brand and towards the product as well. And I think that's pretty cool.

And what's also great about this is it's very cheap. That ad was a very comparatively cheap ad to do. There's no special effects in it at all. It's just people sitting around the table with the lights off. It's a brilliant idea. So you don't have to spend a lot of money to go and have an emotional creative journey on a campaign.

Or you can, spend a bit of money. And Old Spice did an amazing job about five years ago of turning their laughable brand into something just stunning. The campaign with the guy in the shower and everything falls down. He's on the horse and he has the tickets. It's just brilliant almost to the point where you could buy it and you wouldn't feel too foolish if you did.

Smellcome to Manhood

'Smellcome to Manhood – Sprayed a Man of my Boy'

Old Spice

Wielden + Kennedy, Portland, Oregon

Then we get to the point where they go to change this, would move on and give you something else. So they've actually taken another sensitive area, another emotional area of when your son grows up into a young man. He's moved on. Now, for him, he doesn't care about it. But the mom, yeah, she's going to be upset. They dad maybe won't care. So how do you put that into a fun way, which is Old Spice's brand? And they do this, and it's hilarious. And even at the end, I just think it's hilarious and it's brilliant. Same thing. Maybe not my market, but I love them even more for doing something like that. And then there's one more good one I want to show you and then one that's not very good. And I just have to make sure that nobody here is involved in the last one, or that'll go down well.

But the next one is about the most emotive piece of a campaign work I've seen. And it's incredible because it's a product I will never ever buy, and it's by Always. And I hope I'll never medically need to use that. There is an incredible thing here. So I won't be engaged in that sense of buying it, but what makes it truly emotive campaign work, a brilliant campaign work, is when it's talked about and seen by people who have no interest in that brand at all. I don't care about the brand, but wow, I will never buy, and I'm shamed in it. And I feel guilty in this ad. And it doesn't matter because I come out of it at the end a little bit better. It sounds very Californian talking like this. But it really is a stunning piece of work. And it's 'Like a Girl'. Procter & Gamble have done this, and it's got 16 million hits. And it's the most justified piece of work I've seen in ages.

Like a Girl Always

'Like A Girl'


Proctor and Gamble

And I think it's great. It's not the budget. It's not the platform. It's not really in the production value. So it's just the simple idea behind it that moves this. And when it does that, then your relationship with the brand changes entirely, and you remember it. And it's what the brand stands for. And I think that's a massively important thing. When a campaign is truly emotionally creative and emotionally engaging, you see what the brand stands for. "Coca Cola. It is for everybody." Without the labels, it's even more for everybody. It's fantastic.

I know we've got to move on. There's one last one I just want to show you by way of not doing it right. And is anyone here from Cadbury? Anyone here from Nestle? One? Yeah? You'll be happy then because this is Cadbury. And I just can't understand it. I just don't understand how this has got through because every piece of work that any agency ever does is reviewed and tested. And there's a degree of user-testing focus groups. And I can't for the life of me get it. The YouTube hits say it all. And I don't want to finish on a downer, but I'd rather finish on something that is confusing and hilarious. And it's this.

'Rolled with Joy'

Cadbury Mini Roll

He leaves the door open on his house. Even that they got wrong. They didn't even let that swing shut . . . It completely baffles me.

So that's basically it, in an increasing technical world, increasingly multi-platform, multi-functional interactive world, the emotional human stories that are told are getting increasingly valuable and increasingly relevant as everything gets faster and faster and faster. The brands, they take that step back and create something beautiful, like we've seen here, are the ones that win. And long may it continue. And that's it."

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