Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cannes: Day 3

I swear to god I was about to give up. I thought I might just catch a train and find a quiet beach far away from the adness of Cannes.

But then I heard a whisper of hope.

Nike global director of digital media Stefan Olander made a speech where he said that he doesn’t see the web as a new advertising medium. It’s a place to provide Nike customers with new services. Pretty simple idea, huh? Instead of advertising on YouTube and Facebook, why not BECOME YouTube and Facebook?

For someone who has spent the better part of a decade plastering banner ads all over the web, this attitude came as a breath of fresh air. It almost made me want to believe again.


Wednesday night they handed out the Cyber Lions. Projector Tokyo took home a GPL for "Uniqlock,” an odd “webclock” that promotes the clothing retailer Uniqlo. The site has achieved the holy grail of digital advertising, it has gone viral. (I’ll even give it a helping hand.)

I liked the site. I even showed it to a few people. But then I noticed that everyone seemed to have the same reaction, a sort of half-laugh. I decided that what makes the site appealing is that it is kind of, well…stupid.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Let’s face it, there are a lot of reasons why something hits big on the web. It might be nudity, or conspiracy or even brilliance. But most of these things only appeal to a small section of the community. The one thing that seems to appeal to all demographics is really, really stupid stuff. From chanting badgers to dancing chickens to lolcats, it’s the one thing that unites us.

Which is great if your But is it good advertising? (That’s not a rhetorical question. I really don’t know.)

Let’s say an international investment firm produces a huge viral hit featuring dancing potatoes and a smart-talking Jamaican beach ball. Will this make their brand cool? Will it make people switch their accounts? Or will it make them think that someone in the corner office got talked into producing someone’s passport to The Family Guy writing staff?

Like I said, I don’t have the answers. These are deep questions, and Cannes is defiantly not the place for deep questions.

Tomorrow, Friday Fun, en Francé!


Joker said...

Honestly, I think the latest trend has strayed away from what should be an ad agency's Northern Star. Brand awareness, brand cultivation and well pretty much anything with the word brand has been kind of warped in its meaning and expression.

In short:

It's become more important to be seen than it is to be remembered.

Anonymous said...

That was the most boring site I have EVER had to sit through. I just kept waiting for the punchline to come and it never did .....