THE BEST OF CANNES IS EXPERIENTIAL

Many may disagree, but I think the Titanium and Integrated Lion awarded at Cannes is the most important (not the most prestigious) award. It is a thoroughly modern category, one that looks at a campaign holistically and not just as executional pieces like film, print and cyber. A Titanium award is also often very experiential in nature, so I look at it with a loving eye. 

This year, the Titanium and Integrated Grand Prix Lion was awarded to Droga5 for its Bing campaign with Jay-Z. I wrote about it here on this blog when it first came out. I gushed, actually. Totally fell in love with the grandeur of the idea, and the way Droga5 wove in something so square as Bing with someone so hip as Jay-Z. Here’s a rather lengthy explanation:

Microsoft’s search engine, Bing wanted to connect with a younger audience and needed to make their Search and Maps technology more culturally relevant. The primary objective was to increase “Intent to Use” Bing products and improve perceptions of Bing as a culturally relevant brand to a coveted younger audience. Bing’s core users were middle aged women in the Midwest and the brand wanted to make real inroads with the coastal youth population. We used the launch of Jay-Z’s autobiography “Decoded” as a relevant moment in youth culture and an opportunity to create a deeper experience with it through Bing technology. The target does not differentiate online from offline, so we built the program across existing media formats and channels but in a new way that wove them together and added interactive to everything. The unique partnership brought Bing to the forefront of pop-culture and gave millions of Jay-Z fans a reason to use Bing Search and Maps.

The average online player engagement was over 11 minutes per visit – Jay-Z’s Facebook fans grew by one million during the campaign launch. – Decoded went straight to the New York Times Best Seller list at #2 its first week – Bing.com saw an 11.7% increase in visits the month of the campaign with no other media in market. – Bing.com entered the top ten mo

cst visited sites in the US. – Bing earned 1.1 billion global media impressions. – Bing’s “intent to use” scores were higher than any other Bing marketing initiative ever according to ComScore. – Online Buzz and Social metrics were above average for any Bing marketing program according to Nielsen BuzzMetrics.

We started by putting every single page of Jay-Z’s autobiography into media spaces around the world. The pages weren’t randomly placed; all 350 pages were put in locations relevant to each individual page’s content. Fans around the world could actually walk Jay-Z’s path, experiencing his story right where it happened. The campaign used a variety of media. And if the media didn’t exist, we created our own. Everything from pizza boxes, plates, burger wrappers, jigsaw puzzles, t-shirts, to name a few. Fans sought out, discovered and interacted with this collection of unique small scale pieces. Even the smallest, traditionally overlooked items became precious collector’s items.

Another campaign that got a Titanium Lion was also experiential (out of the three Titaniums, two were definitely experiential and the third was very, very close). Check it out here. This work for VW took place in the real world, with only a hidden camera capturing people engaging with a brand in a deep and meaningful way. Here’s the write-up for that:

Our challenge was to drive interest for Volkswagen BlueMotion – a range of car innovations that lowers environmental impact without compromising on the joy of driving. Our original solution to this was The Fun Theory – that fun can change human behaviour for the better – a global success we wanted to build on. Our competition, The Fun Theory Award, had previously received hundreds of amazing competition entries from over 35 countries. But the winning idea had come from Kevin Richardson, a San Francisco-resident who came up with the Speed Camera Lottery. Kevin’s idea revolved around fining speeding drivers and rewarding those that obeyed traffic regulations through a lottery, where the winnings came from the speeding drivers fines. We decided to give back to the Fun Theory community and test if the Fun Theory could make a difference in keeping drivers safe, by making Kevin’s idea reality. The Speed Camera Lottery was launched in Stockholm.

The Speed Camera Lottery reduced the average speed of traffic on a busy Stockholm road by 21.6% – equivalent to 6.8km/h. The campaign sparked debate around how fun could change behaviour on the roads for the better, both in Sweden and around the globe – generating amazing PR for Volkswagen. And Volkswagen’s share of the eco car market in Sweden grew by 84%. (source: bilsweden.se) We had increased the Fun Theory’s momentum, rewarded our loyal fans by realizing an idea directly from the global Fun Theory community, and continued to reinforce the visionary thinking behind BlueMotion Technologies.

The Speed Camera Lottery was implemented in collaboration with Sweden’s National Society for Road Safety on a busy road in Stockholm. Over a 3 day period, 24 857 cars passed our speed camera. In a sense, this was our only media channel. But as we had planned, the idea was picked up by the media and the blogosphere, who were also inspired by the idea of using fun and rewards to increase traffic safety. The Speed Camera Lottery was discussed in leading local newspapers, the local TV news, the New York Times and automobile blogs. The Fox News morning show did a special feature on the Speed Camera Lottery. The Lottery was also covered on the BBC World Service, reaching 45 million listeners. A Google search on “Speed Camera Lottery” gave 0 hits before the campaign started. Just one week after it gave 36.600 hits. Today, it’s 287 000 hits.

The more I dive into the other categories at Cannes, the more obvious it becomes that all future brand communications will be based on experiential — or at the very least, have an experiential philosophy deeply integrated into the ideas. If you haven’t checked out the winners, please do. You’ll see what I mean. The list is found here.

Happy reading.

One comment

  1. Suzzie · · Reply

    These case studies are fantastic I love both of them and their results but you mention that bing.com saw an increase of 11.7% in traffic to the site over the month of the campaign but what was the retention of these new visitors like?

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