Live from Cannes: Useful brands making useful advertising

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One of the good things about being here is being able to view the shortlisted work for a couple of days without necessarily knowing which have been awarded which awards by the judging panel so you can make up your own mind about the work you like and wish you’d done without being influenced by what actually won the awards.

For me one of the ideas that really stood out was IBM France’s outdoor work which they very simply called “useful outdoor”. The very simple idea being that they turned their outdoor advertising into useful things that would help the people of France going about their day to day lives. So a 6 sheet has a roof added and becomes a rain shelter a 48 sheet has a seat added at the bottom and becomes a bench.

smart ideas for smarter citiesIt’s a lovely idea – albeit on a very small scale (the judges seemed to agree on this one too – it won 2 golds in the media category and a Grand Prix in the Outdoor category too) – and it fits very nicely with one of the key themes that is coming through in the work this year – when it comes to marketing, more and more brands are rightly thinking of themselves as ‘service brands’.

There are plenty of other fantastic examples too –

– BMW installing ‘wall sensors’ in car parks to assist people parking their cars (while at the same time pointing out that the technology comes as standard in their cars)
– Nivea running a solar charged press ad in magazines in Brazil so that people could charge their mobile phones from it while sitting on the beach (I promise I’m not making this up)
– Nike Australia laying on “She runs the night” to allow women to run safely after dark
– Sky using twitter technology in Brazil to let people record things from their Sky boxes using a tweet
– ZZZ-Quil, a sleep medicine company providing a phone number for people to call in the middle of the night which connects them to boring, monotonous lectures on dull subjects and causes them to drop off (rumours that this included a particular seminar I attended last year are unfounded…)

All of the above were shortlisted in the ‘media’ category. And all lay down the gauntlet for brands everywhere to apply to their media thinking.

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Posted by David Wilding, Head of Planning

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