IAB Creative Showcase

Contagious spent last Thursday evening at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Creative Showcase Awards, celebrating the best of British digital and online work from 2008.The award winners were dominated by AKQA, who claimed Agency of the Year, not to mention the Most Contagious Award for Fiat eco:Drive. Contagious editorial director, Paul Kemp-Robertson, explained that the work had been selected because ‘it has a practical application for the real world that can genuinely improve the lives of the people that use it, not to mention the environment’. AKQA completed its hat trick, also scooping Microsoft Advertising’s Most Innovative Campaign Award for Nike Bootcamp. Daniel Bonner, chief creative officer at AKQA told Contagious: ‘We relish the monthly challenge of the IAB creative showcase - it has us biting our nails twelve times a year. The expertise of the judges means that we can submit ground breaking work, confident they are able to understand creativity that goes beyond the browser or the banner.’ Poke claimed the Creative Showcase Grand Prix for its impressively original Balloonacy campaign for Orange and the IAB’s Unthink Your Brand Award went to Talk Talk and Treehouse for The Forever Story. Attendees were also treated to a talk from Alex Evans, founder of Media Molecule, developer behind of PlayStation 3’s LittleBigPlanet. Evans took us through the three years of the games’ development and why he sees gaming becoming increasingly social and creative, as well as the difficulties of promoting a highly complex game. (The Japanese take went down particularly well http://playstation.joystiq.com/2008/10/15/ad-japan-in-panic-over-littlebigplanet-release/)

Evans told Contagious ‘as someone from outside the internet marketing and advertising world (I guess I’m a client-of-a-client!), it was lovely to be able to find the overlap between our creative processes; my personal favourite was the Grand Prix winner, whose virtual ballooning campaign’s playfulness really chimed with the little kid in me. It’s so great (and rare!) to remember to be playful and actually enjoy the creative process. It seemed that Poke, and many of the other people I met, felt the same way.’ The evening was not only retrospective, challenging creatives to meet new problems that economic climate poses. David Pugh-Jones, brand strategist, creative solutions at Microsoft Advertising, wrapped up the night saying: ‘During difficult times the cream always rises to the top, so this is the best year for you to be creating the best possible creative work.’ Bonner echoes these sentiments, explaining ‘The UK digital industry is a great place to be right now - it challenges itself, as well as complacent advertising agencies, to innovate on different level. The next year is going to be about integration and proliferation of digital marketing into in the products we use in the real world. We will look to continue to invent new formats and ways to connect brands with the audience and transcend the divide between marketing and product whereby customers will see the benefit and not the format.’ http://creativeshowcase.net/

Premium, Pepsi and Pepé

Snow, wind and rain might have been lashing Contagious’ London HQ over the past week, but while we’ve been snowed in, we’ve been busing mining gems. This week, try not to get depressed by hideous potential merger between Ticketmaster (spit, spit) and Live Nation. The deal could see gig tickets going on sale with no flat fee, in a sort of legalised online scalping system where only the highest bidder (and the two entertainment monoliths) will win. http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/02/would-a-ticketm.html We’re not usually ones to rant, but seriously. The last thing the music industry needs right now, after years of decline followed by delicate equilibrium, is another finger in the eye to the people who actually want to enjoy their product. And while we’re on it, Ticketmaster’s TicketsNow site in which tickets go to the highest bidder (despite having been registered as sold out elsewhere) is an utter con. What an awful service. Move along, people. There are no redeeming features to see here. According to the article, Ticketmaster is currently under investigation for scamming paying customers out of Springsteen tickets for just not paying enough. A word to Senator Charles Schumer, leading the probe into this horrendous organisation’s dirty dealings: you have our full support. Warming our cockles is Nike’s demonstration of the potential of ‘Hotspot’ technology with an ad featuring perma-tanned Portuguese striker Ronaldo that allows users to click on and buy Nike products worn by the footballer on screen. View the spot here http://coull.com/labs/nike/manu_large/ and read more here http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article5598872.ece

For respite from the British weather, we popped over to Paris to see Citroen’s new 'affordable premium' DS3 concept. The first of three cars that Citroen promises will be in showrooms by 2012 is clearly taking on BMW's Mini. Project manager/awarding winning car designer Mark Lloyd told Contagious that the DS3 has 'the style and quality of a Mini at a lower price'. Read more here http://jalopnik.com/5148356/citron-ds-inside-concept-the-first-glimpse-of-a-new-citron Saturday Night Live has been crafting ads for Pepsi that look like sketches from the show but run during commercial breaks, not to mention the Super Bowl. Blurring editorial and advertising boundaries, debate continues to rage on Madison and Vine (http://adage.com/madisonandvine/article?article_id=134349). The irreverent spots can be seen here www.youtube.com/watch?v=636mA8KYkiI. Skype-type service JaJah has launched a service which turns the iPod touch into a functioning mobile handset. The service uses WiFi hotspots and VoIP meaning you need to be within range of a wireless network. Once the app’s been downloaded from the Apple Apps all that’s needed is a microphone headset. www.slashphone.com/jajah-turns-ipod-touch-into-an-iphone-064463 Sky’s new HD set comes with a programming guide claiming that watching TV helps combat depression (note ambiguous wording). Codswallop from the same school of unfounded wittering as ‘Doctor’ Gillian McKeith, and a risky claim to make in these litigious times. Time to rethink, Sky? www.techdigest.tv/2009/02/literally_insan.html Courtesy of @bengoldacre, the Guardian’s Bad Science columnist. Well worth a Twitter
And, talking of Twitter, we love love LOVE the random appearances of Mad Men characters throughout the site. This is the kind of hyper reality that would make Baudrillard take a moment. Just try writing tweets about the series and see who follows you. It's been happening for a while, but The Guardian tells all here: www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/feb/07/mad-men-twitter And in case Valentine’s Day is about to take you by surprise, what about some treats from 50 Cent’s new range of guy make up? Hmmmm. Via Trendhunter www.trendhunter.com/trends/male-makeup-50-cent-faces-up-to-fading-image And how could loved ones not be impressed with a Jamie Cullum Valentine Viral? http://valentines.jamiecullum.com. Or express your love with the help of lovable skunk Pepé Le Pew, via Atmosphere BBDO in the US for AT&T. http://pepe.att.com/.And if you’re having doubts, why not take Bjorn Bjorg’s branded utility option which offers a a break up test via a series of online videos? If you do decide to ditch your partner, the site also provides a selection of handy SMS ‘it’s over’ messages. www.bjornborg.com/en/Missions/Loveforall/BreakUp/ Check out this wonderful film on the Birth of the Internet… apparently one day, homes will have computers! www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/29/you-need-to-see-this-video/ via Duncan Dunlop at www.oodle.co.uk

Charities chuck out the clichés

Charity campaigns can often rely on imagery that’s meant to tug on heartstrings to persuade us to part with our pennies. But the following three have impressed us by moving away from clichés and embracing creative techniques, non-traditional media and shock tactics. Leo Burnett has created a new campaign to highlight the work done by UK housing charity Shelter. It depicts flimsy housing as a house of cards, while a voiceover reveals that 75,000 homes will be repossessed this year. Viewed as if from a train window to Videotape by Radiohead, the houses start to collapse (see picture, opposite). 500 posters on the London Underground, online and direct mail back up the TV spot, which can be viewed on Shelter’s website. http://england.shelter.org.uk/The children's charity NSPCC-funded helpline ChildLine is showing an understanding of Web 2.0 that puts shame in the game of many youth brands. The charity is teaming up with T4, the youth programming segment of UK terrestrial Channel 4, on an online show called Headspace. The collaboration invites ideas from under 18s about what really matters to them. It’s the latest creative concept from Idea, a virtual creative agency for ChildLine which encourages children to come up with creative solutions to their problems. First launched in early December, the website is going from strength to strength, with ‘offices’ on youth hang-out sites like Bebo, Habbo and Piczo. The NSPCC is working with digital agency iCrossing to monitor the effectiveness of the campaign on social networking sites and other online media. The site runs until the end of the school year. http://www.idea.me.uk/

Finally, are you feeling pasty? Then top up your tan without leaving your desk thanks to Computer Tan. Its revolutionary technology will have you bronzed and beach-ready in just five minutes! Users can access their first tanning session via www.computertan.com where they’re presented with the UV tubes on sun-beds. But instead of a dose of sunshine, they receive a harsh jolt of reality: stomach-turning pictures of skin cancers and the sobering fact that five people a day die from skin cancer. Users can then click through to the Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity, where they can learn more about the risks of exposure to the sun and how they can best protect themselves. Hats off to McCann Erickson for a spoof that’s eerily persuasive and spot-on for the young target it’s trying to hit.

100 Pieces

This March sees the return of Havana Club’s 100 Pieces initiative, which brings artists from around the globe together to create pieces inspired by the Cuban rum brand. However! in a neat live twist, this year Havana Club will join forces with the Secret War art crew for ‘100 Minutes of Havana’, in which two teams will go head to head a live, one-off art battle at East London’s Village Underground on March 4th.
Each team will have 100 minutes to create their very own interpretation of Cuba using only coloured acrylics on a 200ft white wall. The freestyle masterpiece will be created without the help of sketches or pencils, and must be completely improvised on the spot.
Then, the efforts of the 10 different artists will be judged by a Havana Club and Monorex (the crew behind Secret Wars) representative as well as the crowd vote, which will be decided using a decibel reader. The winning team will receive mixed cases of Havana Club and have their profiles displayed on the 100 Pieces online gallery together with the winning artwork.
Key pieces from the 100 Pieces of Havana initiative will be exhibited alongside the ‘100 Minutes of Havana’ mural. The exhibition including the winning mural, will be open to the public for four days. Entry is free and Contagious will be there, itching to get involved with a bucket of paint and a burnt sienna Crayola.
Art and alcohol have always enjoyed a close-knit relationship, and this seems like a fun way to harness some messy creativity in the name of a good, Cuban knees-up. There’s a website coming soon, so watch this space.

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