What's the most inspiring thing you've seen/key themes and takeaways?
The most inspiring thing for me was dentsu mcgarrybowen Taiwan winning the Grand Prix for the Entertainment Lions with their project for Sinyi Realty, In Love We Trust.
This film showed how stories that are created with a very region-specific message can also have global relevance and deliver a powerful message despite differences in language and culture. It was inspiring to see such a powerful piece of work from Dentsu winning the Grand Prix for entertainment.
The piece had a strong cultural insight and generated a huge amount of public conversation around young people committing to relationships. In Taiwan young newly-weds are a strong driver of the property market, the brand was able to use the power of storytelling to move towards their goals and make a cultural impact.
Subtlety in advertising and brand placement can still be powerful. It’s the power of the story that brings the brand through. Audiences will enjoy the content and then make the brand link after. Brands don’t need to shout at the audience to get attention. If the story is authentic and meaningful that should be enough.
What surprised you?
The winner of Grand Prix for Entertainment for Sport, a project called Salla 2032, was a film following a small town in Lapland's application to host summer Olympic games. The project effectively used the cultural relevance of the Olympic games to bring awareness to climate change.
It was also more than just a film with the whole village getting involved and going through the real application process to host the event. I think that was the most surprising part - that they did it all for real, but it’s also what made the idea so good, the brand actually took action to raise awareness.
It also was successful in creating a message of global unity which aligns perfectly with what the Olympic games represents while also using the timing of the event to highlight the immediate importance of the issue.
What work/content really impressed you?
A project for Asics called Eternal Run, they created an endurance race across the Salt Flats in Utah to launch their new long distance shoes and position themselves as a brand for true runners.
The film itself was visually stunning and conveyed a powerful message about pushing yourself to your own next ‘finish line’. This connected with their audience and showed the brand understood their goals as dedicated runners.
What also stood out to me was the contrast between the complexity of the production of the film, shooting in such a remote and unpredictable location and the visual simplicity of the environment of the Salt Flats.
I think it aligned really well with the simple concept of creating a race with no finish line. In the end 71% of the runners ran further than they predicted, which gave the brand a perfect message to sell their new specialty running shoes.
What have you seen that will have the biggest implications for our industry over the next 12 months?
Brands can hit above their weight with advertising that primarily uses entertainment to attract new audiences.
There is shift from brands interrupting entertainment with advertising to creating entertainment as a funnel to build a new audience.
Many of the Jurors commented on the fact that there was a lack of 30 second ads this year but it’s okay to slow down. The idea that attention spans are short is not always true. A lot of the winning films were longer format. Good storytelling and relevance to an audience is key to creating a successful brand film that engages the audience.
The focus of the award-winning work this year is on having purpose and courage to deliver a message. Trying to be more authentic is becoming the new normal for brands. Using storytelling to support social causes has to be backed up with a real desire to make positive changes and an authentic insight.
From a creative’s perspective it's important to not just use cultural issues in campaigns but to have a deeper understanding of the issue by using creatives that are embedded in the stories they are trying to tell.
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