Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Year Of The Screenager

A few years ago I shredded the time-honored metric of Return on Investment by insisting that Involvement was the key determinant of marketing success. Get Involvement happening and profit/margin/share/whatever is sure to follow. Last year I articulated the belief that we had moved from the Attraction Economy to the Participation Economy.

This week a bunch of surveys are in of 2009 creative advertising work, and the best Saatchi & Saatchi campaign of the year – T-Mobile’s flashmob dance “Life’s for Sharing” from our London agency – featured in all of them – Viral Friday, AdAge, and The Big Won. Traffic-wise “Life’s for Sharing” came in at #2 with 26 million plus views (#1 was Evian’s Babies from BETC Euro RSCG with a staggering 55 million views).

What did we learn?

  • Nine of the top 10 campaigns in the Won awards relied on direct consumer input and involvement. There is still a bit of life in “selling by yelling” – but the stretcher is on the field. Consumers won’t ever be passive recipients of broadcast messages ever again. Involvement and participation are vital.
  • Great ideas are coming strongly from outside the NYLON mainstream, from the edges – Brisbane, Auckland, Sao Paulo, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid, Lisbon.
  • The blur between TV, Digital, Direct, PR, Media etc is now absolute. Winning ideas can be driven from any quarter. Game on for the creative departments in every “advertising agency”.
  • Stunts were common, light heartedness reigned, and overall the most successful campaigns instilled a sense of wonder, had humor at their core, and raised a smile on the dial or a tune in the head.
Susan Boyle was “Queen of Viral” with over 85 million pageviews; and of the self-produced videos, the effort from animator Tomas Redigh takes my prize. He spent 1500 hours combining Lego, stop motion animation and a song by Daniel Larsson to create a tribute to 8-bit video games (Pong, Mario Bros et al). Bring back the 80s!

We’re probably still in an adolescent phase with viral, full of rampant experimentation, crash and burn muddled with excessive success. Avatar shows us what mature rebellion looks like; DC Shoes’ seven minute burnout “Gymkhana” (below) is pure screenager.