Goldstuck on Gadgets

What SA can learn from Cannes ad festival

June 30th, 2015
At this year’s Cannes Lions advertising festival, South Africa scored many accolades – but not a single prize for digital work. This was hardly surprising, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
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It took a flood of insults to point the way to a new trend in digital advertising. A campaign featuring supermodel Gisele Bundchen won a Grand Prix, the premium award, in the Cyber Lions, the digital category of the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

The campaign began with the announcement of an unlikely partnership between Bundchen and macho brand Under Armour. It sparked a flood of both subtle and outright sexist insults in conventional media and social networks.

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And that’s when the campaign truly kicked in. Real comments were used in TV ads featuring Bundchen working out. Under Armour’s website used a custom “engine” to scrape the Internet for insults, and projected them on the site in real time – all accompanied by videos and images of Bundchen in action.

The message? Bundchen had both the physical and emotional strenght to block out even the worst of the insults. Not only did it send a message of empowerment, but also combined numerous platforms, sources and technologies.

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Most important, it delivered results: 1,5-billion media impressions and a 28 per cent increase in sales. The campaign won another two gold Lions and four silvers for its various achievements.

No one is suggesting that an equivalent campaign could have been created in South Africa. But it is noteworthy that this country barely features in the Cyber Lions, while having a proud history across the rest of the competition.

This year, South Africa took 16 out of 58 awards for Radio, a category

It has dominated over the years, proving there is no shortage of advertising creativity in this country.

So why does it fall so short in digital? One answer was suggested to this writer two years ago during judging of the annual Bookmark awards, which recognise excellence in digital creative work and execution in South Africa. Some of the best work on show was brilliant in its execution, but clearly followed in trails blazed by digital pioneers elsewhere.

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While such works were not necessarily derivative, they were also not particularly brave, given that they were built on well-established foundations. And they barely left a mark in the collective South African psyche.

The best of South African radio advertising, on the other hand, tends to be both bold and memorable. One senses creative decision-makers ready to stick their necks out, which is a sign not only of courage, but also of confidence. They know what they’re doing, and are always ready to try something new.

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In the digital category, on the other hand, we tend to be led by what is happening elsewhere, and what has been made possible by others. It’s a matter not only of limited technical knowledge, but also of failing to appreciate the boundaries of digital creativity – or rather, the lack of boundaries. Globally, it is a medium that is being reinvented every day, and slowly becoming more important than most other traditional forms of advertising.

Eventually, all advertising will be a sub-category of digital. Until a few years ago in Cannes, however, digital was a poor relation of TV, radio and press advertising. In South Africa, it still is.

* Arthur Goldstuck has been a judge in the digital category of both local and international advertising festivals. He is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee, and subscribe to his YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/GGadgets

All the Cyber Lions Grand Prix and Gold winners

Campaign Brand Agency Country Award
Gisele Bündchen – I Will What I Want Under Armour Droga5 New York USA Grand Prix
Hammerhead Hammerhead Navigation R/GA New York USA Gold Lion
The Other Side Honda Motor Europe Wieden+Kennedy London United Kingdom Gold Lion
Gisele Bündchen – I Will What I Want Under Armour Droga5 New York USA Gold Lion
The Berlin Wall Of Sound Soundcloud Grey Germany Düsseldorf / Grey Germany Berlin Germany Gold Lion
Gisele Bündchen – I Will What I Want Under Armour Droga5 New York USA Gold Lion
Look At Me Samsung Electronics Cheil Worldwide Seoul South Korea Gold Lion
Groceries Not Guns Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America Grey Canada Toronto Canada Gold Lion
#Likeagirl Procter & Gamble Leo Burnett Toronto / Leo Burnett Chicago / Leo Burnett London / Holler London Canada Gold Lion
The Other Side Honda Motor Europe Wieden+Kennedy London United Kingdom Gold Lion
Print For Help Hewlett-Packard Brasil FCB Brasil São Paulo Brazil Gold Lion
Dream On Adobe Goodby Silverstein & Partners San Francisco USA Gold Lion
The Ice Bucket Challenge The Als Association The ALS Association Washington USA Gold Lion
#Likeagirl Procter & Gamble Leo Burnett Toronto / Leo Burnett Chicago / Leo Burnett London / Holler London Canada Gold Lion
Unskippable: Elevator Geico The Martin Agency Richmond USA Gold Lion Campaign
Unskippable Geico The Martin Agency Richmond USA Gold Lion Campaign
Unskippable: Family Geico The Martin Agency Richmond USA Gold Lion Campaign
Unskippable: Family Long Form Geico The Martin Agency Richmond USA Gold Lion Campaign
Unskippables: High Five Geico The Martin Agency Richmond USA Gold Lion Campaign
Clever Buoy Optus M&C Saatchi Sydney Australia Gold Lion
House Of Mamba Nike Akqa London / Akqa Shanghai United Kingdom Gold Lion
Safety Truck Samsung Leo Burnett Argentina Buenos Aires Argentina Gold Lion

 

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