Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Texas, Awesome! A trip to SXSW and a bucket full of take aways.

I had the great opportunity to attend the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas this spring. Or rather the „interactive“ part of the “South by Southwest” conference that covers digital, entertainment, film and music and has been growing year by year, now on in its 30th year. A conference that offers bucket loads of inspiration to people from across all disciplines. And that growingly has the attention from marketing and ad peoples as well.  And quite a few come back saying they will happily ditch Cannes Lions any time to go back to SXSW. I am definitely one of them.

Aside from a lot of superficial fun stuff like App and TV series launches, the all around BBQ, beer & taco SXSW-diet and huge parties from media houses and tech companies with a massive line up there is a lot to experience that not only substantiates your current beliefs and knowledge, but offers surprising new insights. 

My overall observation: There are so many elements that were present - and that at first sight are quite contradictory. Living in a world full of ambiguity lets us seek out balance in many ways. Brands will play a strong role in finding ways to remove these tensions. 

And this list of contradictions can probably be much longer. In summary nine key topics emerged for me. 

I have put together a full presentation with more details on all the above topics. You can find it here. I am happy to learn from others if this matched your own SXSW experience. For me, SXSW was about the perfect conference. Something that was so worth going to, even if Austin is not around the corner. It lets you immerse in a diversity of topics that can hardly be found anywhere in such richness. It goes much beyond what I expected from a conference about "interactive" and touches on many aspects of current culture and what drives communication and brands today. It let me connect to a wide array of people - some I knew before, but a lot of fresh faces and thoughts crossed my path. And the atmosphere in Austin is definetly unmatched. So the prospect of going to Cannes Lions in June is still appealing - but where Cannes is celebrating the very few, Austin felt like a very inclusive place. And while Cannes is much more about looking back on things that  have happened - Austin is all about looking forward and into the future. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Data fuels Creativity

There has been much talk about the usage of Big Data — and what we can gain in regard to insights from it. Another interesting perspective on data is what we can do with it creatively. There are some great examples on how data can empower creative ideas. How it can visualize and let people experience ideas in new surprising ways.

What‘s the influence? 

Data has become fuel for creativity and gives new perspectives and ways to connect with people. It can help visualize behaviour of individuals as well as groups. It can offer ways to interact with ideas and create real time experiences. Data can turn ideas from being static to becoming fluid and living. It can not only offer scientific benefit — but become emotionally touching and aesthetically influential. 

The guru of data visualization, David McCandless has shared many ways on how to turn data into beautiful imagery on his blog and in books for many years — and has become a great source of inspiration for creatives with his beautiful visualizations. 
Data can take new and different forms in how it is brought to life — aside from visualizing it, it can take different sensual forms, e.g. turn into sound as with IBM “US Open Session“ where tennis data turns into tunes, in real time.
Brands use data today to let people creatively experience different behavioural scenarios and also influence and control their own behaviour and drive brand decisions. Visualizing behaviour can also influence it — because data helps us to see what we do — and touch us in deeper ways than any verbal description of behaviour could. A good example is the real time Hashtag Battle: Healthy Food vs. Unhealthy Food.
The tools and experiments from the Prudential Challenges Lab let people experience through data how life changes with retirement and prepare better for their future.
“Sweden’s largest Energy Saving Experiment” was another way to visualize to people their own energy usage and through doing this influence it positively.

At DDB we have recently created another idea that plays with data in a creative way — using what data can be collected from people to create something intruiging to be used by all. The BIC “The Universal Typeface Experiment” shows how the “universal ball pen” helps create the universal handwriting — fusing all collected data into a downloadable typeface.  
Nike + “Outdo you” is showing how to use existing data from your users and turning it into powerful personal stories. An example that highlights how data can adds to great animation craft and turns a general message into a personal engaging ad:
„The personalized films feature the individual’s running stats, as well as different weather and city backdrops depending on the user’s location. The brand has also created some generalized films, including one showing all of the Nike+ data from last year, and numerous cityscapes, as well as films for cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto.“
The Nike + campaign around “Your Year” was awarded in the Webby Awards 2015 as “best use of data driven media” from an audience perspective with the “2015 People’s Voice”.
In 2015, Cannes Lions Festival has finally also introduced the Creative Data Lions, celebrating data inspired creativity:
„In recent years, the use of data has enabled the creative industry to shape complex new ideas, drive mass engagement and tell a more powerful story than ever before. The Creative Data Lions were created to recognize campaigns using this data as a catalyst for creativity; game-changing campaigns that clearly demonstrate an execution enhanced by the use, interpretation, analysis or application of data.“
The festival named some ideas from previous years that show the power of data in creativity — namely the much appraised British Airways “Magic of Flying” or the “Sound of Honda” — both great examples how creativity fueled by data creates solutions that engage people on a whole new level. Either in using contextual data to connect in real-time or bringing emotions to life through data while turning it into sound. The 600 entries from this year show a clear direction on how data is fueling creativity:
Even though no Grand Prix was awarded in the new category, a lot of good work was recognizedThe Netflix Data GIF campaign from France shows how to use data insight to create better, more individual context.  A way to use data for real-time marketing approaches is the EA Sports “Madden Giferator” that creates GIF with up to date results, headlines and statistics, also making an offer to users to create their own:
Gamification through statistical data is what the Australian Bureau of Statistics “Run that town” achieved, letting people experience in a playful form the effects of adding casinos or airports to their towns. An interesting way to turn boring statistical data into something lively and fun to use. See more winners in the category here:
Let’s see how more creative ideas that have data as their fuel will bring us joyful new experiences, bring us more personalized stories or monitor and change our behavior to the better.

--- this piece was first published on our DDB Influences Blog in 2015 --

Monday, July 6, 2015

Was für mich bei den Cannes Lions wichtig war.

Kein weiteres Cannes-Bashing, bitte!

Sicherlich sind die CannesLions in erster Linie eine Nabelschau der gesamten Branche – ein Ort, an dem zu viel Rosé getrunken wird, zu viele Kategorien nicht nur Verwirrung stiften sondern vor allem auch schräge Rankings produzieren – und sicherlich viele der Arbeiten weder für reale Kunden oder echte Business-Probleme entstanden sind – und bestimmt auch nicht die Welt zum Besseren verändern. Geschenkt - darüber haben andere bereits alles auf interessante Art gesagt hier,    hier   und hier.

Zwei Kategorien, die Strategen Spass machen. 

Über Cannes lässt sich ebenso gut streiten wie über Kreativität. Wir sollten uns jedoch mehr mit denArbeiten befassen, die nicht im Rampenlicht standen - die aber auf überzeugende, innovative Art deutlich machen, das Kreativität ein Business-Motor ist. In dem Kontext schön zu lesen: auch bei Jury-Mitgliedern gibt es eine klare Tendenz, sich auf reale Arbeiten für echte Kunden zu fokussieren
Und die Arbeiten, die explizit unter "Cannes Spam" laufen, auf die Plätze zu verweisen - auch wenn sie sicher wunderbare kreative Prototypen darstellen, die zeigen, was möglich wäre. Vielleicht ja eine Idee für eine weitere Cannes Kategorie - denn eine mehr geht bestimmt noch, oder? 

Für mich gibt es zwei Kategorien, bei denen es sich lohnt, hinzugucken. Weil sie zeigen, worauf wir täglich bedacht sein sollten. Wobei das eine auch das andere bedingt: das Erzielen von realen Business-Ergebnissen durch Kreativität – und die Weiterentwicklung von Kreativität, über Innovation statt Re-interpretation, z.B. durch die kreative Nutzung von Daten. (Etwas, das die Webby Awards längst honorieren – und das in diesem Jahr erstmalig auch in Cannes als Kategorie im Bereich „Innovation“ bewertet wurde). Also: ein Blick auf "Creative Effectiveness" und "Creative Data". 

"Creative Effectiveness" - der Beweis, das nicht alle Buzzwörter heisse Luft sind. 

Die „Creative Effectiveness“ Awards zeigen auf vorbildliche Weise, das wir kreative Kommunikation  für echte Marken mit echten Resultaten schaffen. Die nicht nur eine Kreativ-Jury überzeugt, sondern auch im Markt und damit doppelt awardwürdig ist. Nicht nur der Grand Prix – sondern alle Einreichungen in dieser Kategorie müssen über diese zwei Hürden springen: im ersten Jahr die Cannes Jury aus Kreativen – im Jahr darauf erst PriceWaterhouseCoopers als prüfende Instanz der Daten und daraufhin die Effectiveness Jury. Ein Prozess, der so aufwändig ist, das nicht viele Agenturen sich die Arbeit machen. Selbst Arbeiten, die bereits mehrfach Kreativ- als auch Effektivitäts-Awards (Effies, AME, IPA) gewonnen haben, schaffen es hier nur schwer auf die Shortlist. 

Insgesamt war die Jury bei Effectiveness sparsam mit dem Awards: 1 Grand Prix, 2 x Gold, 4 x Silber, 10 x Bronze, 10 x Shortlist. Die "Live Test Series" für Volvo Trucks hat den Grand Prix geholt - wenig verwunderlich, war sie bereits im letzten Jahr als gesamter Case sehr präsent. Auch gab es hier einige "For Good" Cases - ein Dauer-Cannes-Diskussionsthema - aber unabhängig vom Hintergrund: auch diese mussten zeigen, das sie wirklich etwas bewegt haben. 

Drei Beispiele, die dies eindrucksvoll auch in diesem Jahr belegen konnten - und damit auch zeigen, das hinter Buzzwörtern wie "Storytelling, Content, Real-Time, Purpose driven brands" durchaus Substanz und Businesserfolg stecken: 

The "Bear & Hare" Christmas Campaign for John Lewis wurde mit Gold ausgezeichnet - und beweist damit erneut, das es möglich ist, ein bekanntes Konzept in jedem Jahr neu zu interpretieren und jährlich neue innovative Elemente zu ergänzen. Welche Marke kann schon von sich sagen, das die Menschen bereits im Vorfeld auf die nächste Kampagnen-Edition, die nächste John Lewis-Weihnachtsstory warten. Ein so populär wie erfolgreiches Format, das es zahlreiche Nachahmer gefunden hat. Und John Lewis einen Zuwachs der Sales-Zahlen von +6,9% sowie 27% Marktanteil in UK verzeichnen konnte. Im kommenden Jahr wird sicher die Follow Up Kampagne mit #montythepenguin als Case Study zu sehen sein - denn das aussergewöhnliche Commitment des Kunden, den beschrittenen Kommunikations-Weg kontinuierlich weiter zu entwickeln, zahlt sich auch langfristig aus.

Mondeléz "This is Wholesome" (Gold) hat bereits im Jahr davor den Trend zu "Purpose Driven Marketing" mit besetzt. Statt über Honeymade Snacks zu sprechen, hat die Marke das Thema moderner Familienbilder thematisiert - und mit diesem Case gezeigt, was für einen wesentlichen Beitrag Konversationen rund um eine Marke auch zum Markterfolg beitragen können. 

The "Inglorious Fruits &Vegetables" für Intermarché (Silber) zeigt, wie eine Supermarkt-Kette auf charmante Weise nicht nur einen tollen Insight zu einem relevanten Thema finden kann (das Menschen ungern das weniger schöne Obst und Gemüse kaufen) - sondern eine Initiative startet, die die Discount-Ware als Konzept neu interpretiert und verkauft. Die auf den ersten Blick zwar ein allgemeines Verhalten ansprechen will - auf den zweiten tatsächlich den Store Traffic und Abverkauf beflügelt und ein verändertes Bewusstsein im Markt schafft, das zum Nachahmen anregt.

Mehr zu den Ergebnissen aller Cases und Einreichungen findet sich u.a. auf WARC in der Datenbank

Creative Data -  Big Data kreativ nutzen. 

Neben dem Nachweis der Arbeitserfolge durch Kreativität geht es für uns zunehmend auch darum, neue Technologien sinnvoll in unsere Arbeit zu integrieren. Nachdem "Big Data" als Schlagwort seit einiger Zeit umher geistert, ist es spannend zu sehen, wie die Nutzung von Daten als Treibstoff für kreative Ideen geworden ist. Drei Cannes Löwen aus der neuen Kategorie "Creative Data" zeigen, das es neben der senusell-ästhetischen innovativen Nutzung von Daten in Form von Farben, Formen und Tönen auch um die Verbindung zum menschlichen Verhalten geht: durch Dokumentieren und Experimentieren mit auf Daten basierenden Szenarien lässt sich den Menschen oft auf spielerische Weise erlebbar machen, wie sie sinnvoll ihr Verhalten beinflussen können und sollen.

Aus den 28 Gewinnern wurde kein Grand Prix vergeben - aber auf verschiedenen Ebenen gezeigt, wie kreativ mit Daten gespielt werden kann. 

"Run That Town" des Australian Bureau of Statistics (Gold) zeigt, wie man mit langweiliger Statistik auf spielerische Weise Stadtenwicklungs-Szenarios zum Leben erweckt. 

Track zeigt für McDonald's Deutschland (Silber), wie man Daten promotional auf spielerische Weise aktiviert und auf datenbasierten Verhaltens-Insights bessere Promotions anbieten kann.

"Your Year" von Nike+ (Bronze) inszeniert die indivdiuellen als auch die allgemein gesammelten Daten auf involvierende Weise im Comicstil und lässt Stories entstehen, die einen persönlichen Bezug zu jedem individuell mit Nike+ erlebten Laufjahr haben. 

Alle drei Beispiele zeigen, das es neben der Möglichkeit der Individualisierung der Inhalte vor allem auch Möglichkeiten gibt, stärker zu involvieren und direkte Verkaufs-Impulse zu setzen. Und damit auch die Basis zu schaffen, weitere Nutzerdaten zu generieren und ggf. im Jahr darauf bei "Creative Effectiveness" nachzuweisen, das sich kreative Daten-Nutzung auszahlt. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Warum die kreative Idee entscheidet

Unser Beitrag zum Thema wirksame Kommunikation #Effie2014 #GWA #Kreativität
(erschienen im Horizont vom 23.10.2014)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Why we need to #RePicture Females in Advertising*.

Images found on getty images

Women play not just one, but many roles. 

Women are an important economical factor globally: they drive consumption, create new businesses and shape society. Never before have there been so many well educated young women – but the same goes for so many active, older women – being more present in society and business than ever before.

Media today is still portraying women in a limited way. 

The female force is a clear fact, but the reality in media is a different one. Typical images are ‘the glamorous sex kitten, the sainted mother, the devious witch, thehard-faced corporate climber’ according to a UNESCO report from 2009. The conclusion - we will need another 75 years to have gender equality in media. And neither is Germany far ahead compared to other countries, nor has there been a big leap forward in the last 5 years.

Broaden the story - instead of limiting it to stereotypes. 

I do not want to argue about stereotypes being right or wrong – but they are only part of the truth, neglecting that women have a more diverse identity. Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sums it up in a TED talk:
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”
Advertising has started to use natural beauty, imperfection and age as creative success factors, reflecting that people appreciate an honest reflection of today’s culture. The most prominent example is still Dove’s 2004campaign on “real beauty”. Others have followed – from German female magazine “Brigitte” asking women in their 2011 campaign to “live a life more imperfect” to American lingerie brand Aerie launching their spring 2014 ads highlighting “the real you is sexy” by using untouched images.

We need more diverse images to promote a more diverse society. 

A change in how advertising pictures women is about much more than supporting female self-esteem. It reflects how society is changing and influences how we perceive men and women in relationships, family or work context.

The controversy that followed Barilla’s announcement last year to only support a traditional family image, and not see people outside this as their target group, indicates that we are ready for more image variety - as a legacy to the next generation, to support more choice, a different self-image and a better society - just by choosing from a broader range of female images. That this is possible and that society is ready for diversity shows the just as controversial case from Honey Maid that plays with different family and gender roles - and turned negative conversation on their approach into a message of love. 

* I originally wrote this post earlier this year for the Getty Images Website and their co-operation with the LeanIn.org, creating the Lean In Collection, supporting a different female imagery in stock photography. I only added the Honey Maid case to the article as it seems brands are picking up on the fact that we are ready for diversity in female and family imagery in general. Anyone can and should participate in this conversation around how we can #RePicture women in media and advertising. 

What makes A Good Brief?*

There are no great briefs, only great ads.
There are no great briefs, but there are la lot of bad ones.
A good brief is probably about as good as a brief gets.
(L. Butterfield, Excellence in Advertising, 1997)

There are no great briefs, just great ideas – as much of our work is not limited to traditional ads any more. Have you ever heard anyone outside of advertising discuss the potential insight or message behind a campaign? No – this doesn’t happen – planners are not rock stars and often don’t get the credit they deserve.

Planners play a vital role in the creative process. Creatives look to the brief to provide them with a clear understanding of the business situation and the challenge that needs to be solved. If creatives are unable to do so, they can come up with nice creative ideas – but won’t be able to deliver the solution the client needs. So the question is - what makes a good brief?
A good brief shouldn’t be creative and cheeky with word play, but first and foremost, needs to deliver the business challenge with clarity. Identifying what needs to be solved is a huge achievement in its own right. Good insights can help shape the creative idea and strategy. Insights are not just psychological - a good insight can be based on cultural phenomena or behavioural patterns. We experienced this during the development of Volkswagen’s “Don’t Make Up & Drive” campaign, which was strongly focused on how women use social media – revealing a great way to approach them.
Clarity is also important in terms of being decisive about what the main issue is that needs to be solved. Trying to tackle too many extraneous issues can be a detriment.
A good brief can always be told in a few sentences, without jargon. They are, in the best sense, very brief. And it takes work to reach that level of brevity. Good briefs are not misunderstood as a format that needs its boxes to be filled – but a structure of thought that delivers a good story to creatives.
Good briefs don’t necessarily come from planners alone – they are brought to life through discussion and collaboration. So my advice for a good brief involves not just doing research, but having conversations with the people that are most likely to work on the project down the road. And keep in mind - good briefs not only give direction, they inspire.

I originally wrote this post for the DDB blog lemon2020.com in January this year. In order to better share with my peers and to leave room to comment I re-post it here on my blog now.