5th July 11
An edited version of this post was originally published for Fast Company here.
I suspect 2011’s festival may be looked back upon as the year advertising and technology agreed to meet in Cannes and get married on the beach. Sure, previous years have seen tech co attendance (Yahoo! are regulars to the festival) but this year the commitment to one another was unprecedented, visible and visceral.
Unquestionably, the two industries have much still to work out about each other. Nonetheless, the re-branding of that bastion of old school ad cool, Cannes Lions, as a ‘festival of creativity’ this year signalled a broadening mindset. And Facebook’s VP of Global Marketing Solutions, Carolyn Everson, took a big step towards agencies, speaking compellingly about Facebook as a “platform for creativity” and the company’s desire to “stay small and empower agencies.” On the very same day, Eric Schmidt was on stage declaring that “hell has frozen over..we would never have thought there was value [in a Super Bowl ad].. We strongly believe advertising has value.” Importantly, the brand also picked up a pride of Cannes Lions this year, thus proving again that the appreciation flows two ways.
This shared acceptance spilled out beyond the seminar speeches and awards. Having done some early reconnaissance at last year’s Cannes, Google’s Tom Uglow came to the conclusion that “people want decent wifi and fairy lights”. A year later, surveying an array of geeks and ad types happily mingling on the beach at Google’s Creative Sandbox, it’s hard not to agree. The generosity inherent in designing a space like this (masterminded with great care by Google’s Head of Events, Amy Brown) for all comers is laudable, but more than this, the approach said loud and clear that the company values its relationship with the creative community and has something to show them about giving back; about being open, versus closed.
The ubiquitous bottles of Rose lined up on tables along the Croisette may be delightful, but finding uniquely useful, entertaining ways to enhance each other’s experience is a lot more fun and well, different. As John Hegarty’s speech on Friday spelt out, as humans we’re hard-wired to respond to difference (technical term is dishabituation, apparently): in short, “difference wakes us up”.
At Cannes this year, advertising and technology finally woke up to one another, properly and in public. I’m looking forward to 2012.
Google are a client of BBH.
1st July 11
Last Friday in Cannes, BBH’s own Sir John Hegarty gave the following speech co-authored with co-founder Nigel Bogle (Nigel was unfortunately unable to join him due to illness).
The premise of their speech is powerfully simple: growth needs space. Space needs difference.
Of course we could simply have put the video of Sir John’s speech here on the blog, alongside the slideshare. However, as @jeremyet puts it: ‘given the opportunity to celebrate the power of difference, we wondered whether we could develop something fast that would give the viewer of the filmed speech a different and enhanced experience. Cue vidazzl, which brings to life relevant keyword searches from across the web as you watch the speech.
We’re planning on making this a platform where anyone can upload a speech and display it in a, well, vidazzled version, but for now you can view Sir John’s speech from the Cannes Festival here and, of course, let us know your thoughts on the talk, on the presentation and on the difference.’
Gabor (Creative Technologist) adds a note on the choice of technology and the time frame:
Jeremy Ettinghausen – Creative Director
Gabor Szalatnyai – Creative Technologist
Nick Fell – Strategist
Felipe Guimaraes – Art Director
Lambros Charalambous – Copywriter
Adam Oppenheimer – Art Director
Joe Oppenheimer – Copywriter
Eric Chia – Head of Digital Design, Addictive Pixel
Keith Bone – Digital Designer, Addictive Pixel
Romy Miller – Team Director
29th June 11
Author: Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London
‘Is that all there is, is that all there is?
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing.
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is.’
I remember the first time I heard Peggy Lee singing the classic Leiber and Stoller number, ‘Is That All There Is?’. The heroine relates how, through the course of her life, experiences that may initially have been exciting, had in fact turned out rather tiresome. From her home burning down, to going to the circus, to falling in love. It’s a hymn to disappointment and apathy. Like most teenagers I had spent large chunks of my short time on the planet lying in my room being incredibly bored. In amongst the bubble gum pop and dinosaur rock of Radio 1, a song that celebrated ennui was a rare and precious thing.
I remember the first time I heard the Clash sing ‘I’m So Bored with the USA’. I was simultaneously shocked and excited. Could one really so publicly proclaim disappointment with the home of rock’n'roll, the land of the free, the country that had given us Barry Manilow, Boz Scaggs and The Sound Of Bread? Was that acceptable? Was that legal?
I remember the first time I saw the painting Ennui by Walter Sickert. The bored couple cannot be bothered to look at each other. One stares into space and the other at the wall. The blank generation. Tedium in oils. And yet so utterly compelling.
It’s a curious thing. Apathy, boredom and tedium seem such dull, passive, inert qualities. Yet they can be exciting, inspiring, disruptive.
And I wonder whether this particular truth is lost on us and our world. We claim to be consumer experts. But are we not in denial of the fact that most consumers, most of the time are just not that into our brand or category? They just don’t care. We sustain a myth that the primary communication challenge is lack of attention, when really, more often than not, it’s lack of interest. Read full post
17th June 11
Author: Matthew Kershaw, Content Director, BBH London
I talked here yesterday about a near future in which TV advertising would become fully targetted, completely measurable and highly interactive.
So what are the implications of this prediction for agencies?
16th June 11
Author: Matthew Kershaw (@mattski2000), Content Director, BBH London
There is a frothy bubble of excitement growing around the future of Connected TV.
Just this month, Philips announced that they have 1 million active Net TV users.
And all the major players are piling in: Google are still behind Google TV, YouView are finally preparing to launch with the ultimate boss, Lord Sugar, Virgin have just launched their Tivo service, Sony made a commitment early and even Apple are still just about in the game with their AppleTV device. And then there’s Anthony Rose, the genius behind the BBC iPlayer and ex CTO of YouView, now championing two-screen interaction.
With all this hype and excitement, you’d think that us ad folk would be talking about nothing else, combining as it does ad land’s two big obsessions: the power of television and the interactivity of the internet.
So why are we holding back? Read full post
14th June 11
Posted in Film
Author: Alice Bullimore, Integrated Producer, BBH London
What would happen if you asked everyone in the world to take a video of their life on the same day?
Well, it’s happened. The day was July 24th 2010 and people from 120 countries uploaded over 80,000 videos. Life, in a Day.
The raw footage itself is powerful. As Alexandra Coghlan comments in her great review, “what is perhaps most extraordinary and exciting about this project are its leftovers”, and on the ‘explore’ tab at youtube.com/lifeinaday the guys at Google have made all this footage available for us to filter and view, the many stories untold.
But then there’s the film.
Kevin MacDonald & Ridley Scott at RSA undertook the ambitious curatorial job of creating their story of the world, Joe Walker took on the crazily gargantaun mission of editing.
Over 4500 hours of footage reviewed, complied and cut into a coherent 90 minute film.
The film’s not bad either.
It was well received at Sundance, Berlin and SXSW film festivals, Total Film have given it 4 stars and it currently enjoys a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
But what was it like laying down this challenge?
What if no-one had entered anything?
What if most of the crowd sourced footage was unusable?
With so much footage to go through, how do you choose what story to tell? An individual’s? The world’s? The editors’? Just whose agenda is at work, and what are the implications of a film like this?
Well, we’re privileged to be able to get a bit closer to some of these answers with a preview screening & live Q&A with the editor, Joe Walker, at BBH in London this wednesday 15th June at 5.00pm.
If you would like to ask Will and the team a question of your own, we have a limited number of tickets available for you & a friend to join us.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free pair of tickets. First come first served.
We look forward to seeing you.
You can also upload questions for Kevin MacDonald and Life in a Day contributors here, by 2pm UK time *today* in advance of the UK premiere. The film is on national release in Vue cinemas on Thursday.
6th June 11
Posted in Events
Author: Agathe Guerrier (@agatheg), Strategist, BBH London & BBH Labs
*Tonight at 9pm GMT* we’re happy to say Kronenbourg 1664 is hosting a live event on the brand’s YouTube channel, as part of its Slow the Pace campaign.
A Q&A with the star of our second commercial in the series, Suggs from Madness, it will be livestreamed from the studios of our partner Absolute Radio. Since Friday, users have been able to submit their questions on the channel via a Google Moderator widget, a tool that was developed a few months ago for YouTube’s own Worldview project (featuring Obama and David Cameron), enabling citizens to quiz world leaders on issues of global governance.
To our knowledge, no brand has ever done this before. So nous croisons les doigts, as we say in France, until 10ish in the UK.
Watch the interview here.
This campaign is an integrated approach to broadcast and the social web that we’re calling “Super Bowl, Super Social” (check out our post last year about Yeo Valley for a detailed case study). Very simply, we know successful brands marry broadcast and participation in ways that add value (utility, entertainment) to people’s lives – the real-time web pushes that a stage further: rewarding brands that provide experiences and content that are bolder, better.
In the meantime, let’s hope Suggs turns up tonight.
3rd June 11
Posted in Books
“Do not go gentle into that good night, but rage against the dying of the light”
~ Dylan Thomas, quoted in Hegarty in Advertising
Sir John’s book, “Hegarty on Advertising”, goes on sale on Monday.
He would be first person to say this is no ‘how-to’ manual, but rather his own story: packed with no holds barred opinion, behind the scenes anecdotes and strongly held principles to work by. There’s no crystal ball gazing, instead a distillation of what he’s learned in 45 years in the business. As such we found it a dose in humility for the here and now: a grip on history that, as ever, sets the future in context.
Despite his protestation this isn’t a manual, several ideas and themes emerge that have a hell of a lot to teach the rest of us: what makes a successful start-up, the humanization of the workplace, how to approach technology and stay abreast of innovation, the role of difference and ‘creative destruction’, the impact of globalization, why ideas matter and more.
We asked him to shed a little more light on some of these themes. In doing so, we thought we’d see if we could put one of his most firmly held views to the test; his belief that “words are a barrier to communication”. We have no idea if this is going to work, but here goes – our first interview response without words.
What do you mean by “creative destruction”?
“Creativity isn’t an occupation, it’s a pre-occupation” – can you explain what you mean by this?
If you started an agency today, what would it be like?
Is there a single piece of work you think defines you?
Where do you look for inspiration?
You say the way creative thinking gets deployed “will always be a continually moving target.. to nail your colours to any particular medium or technology will sow the seeds of your destruction”. So how should we engage with technology?
And, finally, you say you can’t name all the people you’d like to thank, but if there had to be one (okay, perhaps a couple), who would it be?
Sketches are by Sir John Hegarty
For more about the book: www.hegartyonadvertising.com
1st June 11
- Picture the scene. There are around 4-6 people clustered around a table together. All trying to solve a problem, all very talented… most of them creative/strategy/tech hybrids. An hour later, they’ve gone in circles several times, sure, but between them there’s light at the end of the tunnel.. a few solutions look to be within reach. Then the school bell goes people have to head to another meeting and they agree to meet again. Except it takes a day or two to arrange the follow-up and then half an hour to remind everyone what they’re there to do. And repeat.. does this sound familiar?
There are some very smart people arguing that generalists are the future. When we have much more to do in less time, then it’s better we put together teams of people who can all spin plates, bang a drum and throw knives at the same time, right? Perhaps there are some people who are so extraordinarily talented across so many disciplines that they genuinely can claim to be the ultimate one man band; a steel-alloyed, swiss army knife of creativity. For the rest of us, I would beg to differ. Read full post