My Inevitable Defensive Cannes Lions Post

I really don’t want to have to write this post. But when even the Cyber Lions Jury Chairman is posting things like this, what’s a guy to do ;-)

Picture 25

There are traditional agencies (although they’re the least traditional of the traditional agencies obviously) who are doing incredibly well in awards like Cannes. But let’s not forget one simple thing. THESE ARE ADVERTISING AWARDS!!! Therefore it would seem totally outrageous to suggest that companies whose business is advertising won’t be able to do incredible work in that space. Of course they will. They can apply a bunch of the same principles you’ve always used. Add some executional smarts hired in from a production company and whomp, there it is. Awesome online advertising!

And that’s not to suggest that agencies like CP+B don’t have the capacity to do interesting things beyond traditional online advertising. Things like Whopper Sacrifice prove that they do with bloody bells on.

It’s obvious that the language of the past isn’t going to be the language of the future. And as everything becomes more digital these stupid old distinctions become pointless. And hey, perhaps pure-play digital agencies will become a thing of the past?

But I thought it was advertising that was meant to be fucked? So doesn’t that mean winning lots of advertising awards mean that you’re the most fucked of the fucked?

Sorry that’s my best playground insult battle-weapon launched ;-)

I wouldn’t write off the digital specialists just yet. There’s a bunch of things that we can make and do that are pretty damn exciting. And the fact that they’re increasingly not ‘advertising’ has to be interesting to some folks. Surely?

[Edit: just to clarify – I called Cannes an ‘advertising’ award because that’s how it’s perceived by most people – it’s entered by companies that do advertising for clients. Many of them are advertising agencies, no? It just so happens that a lot of stuff that’s getting awarded is progressive advertising.]

[Edit2: was also interesting to see how different juries would perceive work differently – because everyone has their own agenda. The same work would fare quite differently if it was entered in Design / Titanium / Cyber, for example Fiat Ecodrive appeals to some people in the Cyber Jury because they like to think they can design automobile functionality.]

10 Reasons Why Digital is Better Than Advertising – Number 1

1 - You don't have to do advertising

Digital agencies sometimes do advertising. But only a few of them call themselves ‘digital advertising agencies’. This means that we’re given permission to do lots of other things. If you work in advertising you are typically expected to do advertising. Clients come to you for advertising. They brief you to do advertising. And they expect advertising in return. The term advertising is loaded with baggage, heavy baggage that’s hard to get rid of.

The ad industry has been broken up and broken down so that direct response, in-store, brand identity and all those things are mostly handled by different people. ‘Digital advertising’ has historically been treated in the same way – it’s something that another bunch of people do.

We can see this changing all around us, as a new sort of re-integration is happening, a lot of it seemingly driven by the upsurge in digital focus and spending.

Advertising agencies are good at advertising, it’s what they do. Much better than most digital agencies and most digital advertising agencies too (if such a thing really exists). Arguably the skills you need to create digital advertising can easily be bought and seamlessly incorporated into ad agency process. Either by bringing the skills in-house or using digital production shops.

In this way the people and processes that produce big smart communications ideas can take over and squirt out great integrated / digital campaigns – just look at Crispin Porter – the no 1. ‘Digital Agency’ at Cannes last year. But of course, Cannes is all about advertising.

Personally I’m all too happy for Ad Agencies to get stuck in doing more advertising using more different kinds of channels. I’m just not convinced that the skills for producing great advertising are the same as the skills needed to do the kind of digital stuff that gets me excited.

So what am I talking about?

I think it’s my inner-inventor that loves the digital space. It’s not just about creating content, it’s about designing and building the platform that the content exists on too. As a crude example the opportunities afforded to us are like being able to invent how a TV works at the same time as shooting a film. Only the devices that are connected to the web are infinitely more powerful and more adaptable than a TV. Personally I think this mindset is quite different from a traditional communications mindset. Something we see all the time when we’re interviewing people.

And I’m not saying that advertising agencies haven’t done brilliant non-advertising things too, because of course they have, lots of them.

Number 2 coming soon…

Poke: Seeking Creative Director

Poke are hiring. We’re looking for a new creative director.

It’s a nice place to work, or at least I think so.

We’re looking for someone quite particular. If you’re interested, or think you know someone who might be, please take a look at the job description here.

I had a great response to the last plea for help and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the web and the lovely people who sometimes read this blog might be able to help.

If you’re responsible for a successful lead, or are a successful applicant through my blog I’m sure I can furnish you with some kind of decent reward. I’m not sure what yet but we’ll work something out…

Continue reading Poke: Seeking Creative Director

Garfield (not the cat) on Cyber Lions

Although I would be interested to see what Garfield the cat would have to say about Cannes.Garfield Says - Big Fat Hairy Deal

Anyway. You’d expect a geek like me to talk about the web being a “transformational opportunity to engage the user”. But when someone from Advertising Age says it, you know it must be true ;-)

Actually Bob Garfield writes a whole lot of sense about online and the new world of marketing, a lot. So it’s no surprise when he gets it right about this year’s crop of Cyber Lions at Cannes.

Once again, these efforts are the tip of the digital iceberg, but they do remind us that if you don’t think URL, UR dead.

I like adverts with good words

Tate Britain Hangover Collection AdvertThis is one of a set of adverts for Tate Britain that I like a great deal. They use words well. I stopped to read them. I enjoyed the reading. I felt better for having read it at the end. The Judges at Cannes seemed to like them too. For more check out the always inspiring site: The Hidden Persuader