The Red Zone – 5 July 2013


Today’s AdForum looked at the some of the hottest ads, fresh in from the Cannes.

Ad after ad was subjected to the scrutiny of judges Janet Kinghorn (The Brand Union), Larry Khumalo (Ornico), Rob Van Rooyen (House of Brave), Ryan Williams (Cinemark) as well as an audience consisting of some of SA’s brightest marketing executives from various industries. Jeremy Maggs lent his sharp-witted tongue to the event as part MC and comedian.

While all the advertisements displayed were award winners, not all of them resonated with the judges and the audience. Below is an executive summary of what went on during our no holds barred discussion of the Cannes Festival winners.


“Push” vs. “Engage”

Van Rooyen pointed out that there has been a shift in the way the advertising industry relates to audiences: We’re moving from an era of “push” to “engage”.

Are advertisers simply punting their products on screen in the most humorous, clever or entertaining ways or are they engaging with the target audience in an authentic manner?

While the Direct TV commercial entered into the Cannes, which features a quirky storyline of a young man being ‘emotionally scarred’ by going home to see his parents engaging in a swingers party of sorts thereafter  crashing into a shop window while driving, was humorous, Van Rooyen believed it to be a short-lived ad. These sorts of ‘fad ads’ do not have the staying power that will make a lasting impact on consumer’s minds. At the end of the ad, there is no reason to remember the brand or the services the satellite TV package offers. Unfortunately, it got the Red Card from our audience.


Integrated Communications – doing it big and succeeding

Dutch funeral insurance company DELA made a notable effort at creating a fully integrated campaign which won them the media Grand Prix.

The campaign: One of the hugest regrets from the bereaved is not spending enough time or saying what you needed to say to a loved one. The campaign ‘Why wait until it’s too late? Say something wonderful today” created an online platform for people to say things to the people they loved which were converted into documentaries online, TV commercials as well as posted on billboards. A full sheet paper advertisement with the word “Dear…” at the top was created so that consumers could fill in the rest. The insurance company took over a TV station for a whole evening to broadcast these stories.

Newspapers, television, online and social networking, taking over an entire television: this is a substantially large budget that a client bravely agreed to! Businessmen are risk takers. Marketing managers and directors of brands should be too. Not all creative ideas can be sustainably measured, as many case studies and statistical data we may pour over before. And of course, the agencies who are gutsy enough to suggest a large project such as this to your clients, good on you! It’s why some of us are in the business, to push big ideas and give creativity the proper tools (in this case – money) to manifest into magic.


Compelling radio narrative

The Mercedes Benz radio ad entitled Nest edges on the eerie side, speaking of creepy spiders residing within a preowned Mercedes vehicle. This is part of a series of ads that the brand released which all tell stories on radio in this uncanny manner.

The largeness of the brand and its strong position in the automotive market allows it to make bolder moves when it comes to creating unconventional advertising.

A striking feature of the ad, which won a Gold Lion Campaign award, is its strong narrative which is well written, grabbing the consumer’s attention. If you’re 5 seconds in, you want to hear the rest.

This campaign highlights the strong story-telling capabilities of the radio medium which is still in existence because it is able to invoke imagery in the minds of consumers without the use of pictures thereby entertaining them. A powerful story is transferable across any medium, weaker ones may need aid in the form of images and video – something to think about.


The intangible brand assets of powerful brands

The Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign that brought to light the fact that women have a harsher self-image perception of themselves than strangers did, won a Gold Lion as well as approval from our judges and audience, a sea of green to be exact.

“The ad has the intangible brand asset of Dove in it,” says Kinghorn, “Dove has done it again.”

One of the advantages of carefully and emotively building a brand’s identity over time is that it develops a life of its own and reserves a space in the minds of consumers. There is an intangible feeling associated with the commercials displayed across any platform that the ad is displayed in.

Coca-cola has a similar stance in the market. When a coke commercial plays, whether it’s spreading love or good spirits in the form of free cool drinks popping out of vending machines or bringing up carefree emotions of youth during fun, summer times, there is an intangible feeling associated with the brand that consumers recognise instantly, and this stays with them.


Are nifty OOH billboards overdone?

IBM’s OOH campaign Ads With Purpose that features creative uses of space that were designed to be useful, received mixed reviews from judges. While they are nifty and creative, consumers have already seen this done before in the form of countless e-mails where we see artists draw perspective altering images on street corners, walls and benches. The campaign did win the Grand Prix Campaign award but received a divided response from judges.

Questions arose as to whether they could have been designed better or made more exciting. In keeping with the spirit of advertising excellence, we need to ask ourselves the important questions before outputting any advertising piece. Does the ad succeed in delivering its intended effect, or is the effect diluted as a result of it already being done before or simply just not cutting it? Well the Cannes jury has decided already on this one but we figured we’d give you our 2c.

Future Group’s AdForum is just one of the spectacular media and marketing events that The Future Group offers to the media and marketing fraternity of South Africa. To view more Future Group media and marketing events click here.