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Inspiration from Cannes – The New Ecosystem in Practice

August 24 2009, 13:28pm

Posted by adrien

Obama for America (Winner Integrated Grand Prix)

Ironically this year, the most prestigious prize was not won by an agency, instead, it went to the Obama presidential campaign. It offers a fantastic example of how successfully integrating the elements of the new advertising ecosystem can have an enormous impact.

By using a strong social networking web experience the campaign gave people the power to participate like never before. The website connected 13 million Americans with the campaign. Users could choose to start online discussions and events and submit their own videos. The campaign made use of text messages, email, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to involve supporters. It provided content that impacted the daily news coverage. Artists, musicians and documentary makers were involved to spread the Obama message to millions of people.

The Obama campaign has very successfully embraced the concept of the new advertising ecosystem. It utilised a wide range of channels and content hubs to establish its brand, built momentum by distributing content through partnerships and paid media and it empowered people to act as ambassadors for the brand in multiple ways on This created an ecosystem specifically designed to empower the users with politics and participate like never before. Overall, the Obama presidential campaign has mastered the three critical aspects of owned, paid and organic media resulting in an extremely well-orchestrated and highly effective campaign.

Click here to watch.

Burger King - Whopper Sacrifice (Winner Titanium Lion)

An outstanding example of the impact organic media can have, came from Burger King. Its winning campaign consisted of a Facebook application that users had to add to their profile. If users sacrificed ten of their friends, Burger King would reward them with a free Whopper. The campaign took off on January 5th and in only ten days over 80,000 users added the application to their profile. The idea proved to be a huge success. But after just ten days Facebook ordered Burger King to take down the application. Ultimately, 233,906 friends were sacrificed in exchange for 19,236 free Whopper coupons. Burger King proved that Americans love the Whopper, more than they love their friends.

The strength of this campaign was that it challenged the very concept of Facebook and the value of “friends”. It created a race to dump friends before being dumped by them. Each deleted friend would receive a notification, thus maximising the spread of the application. The unprecedented approach of the campaign also attracted a lot of attention from the media. After the application was taken down on request of Facebook, the number of media impressions kept increasing further. Reporters, Facebook users and bloggers were all asking why it had to be taken down. Eventually, the campaign had generated a staggering 32 million impressions.

Instead of focusing the campaign on a destination page or mainstream media, Burger King utilized an entire social network to spread and redistribute its message.

Click here to watch.

T-Mobile - Dance (Winner Film Gold)

This perfectly choreographed flash mob video by T-Mobile has resulted in an incredible 16 million views on the Web and another million or so for the making-of video. A group of 300 dancers gives an unexpected performance at Liverpool Street Station in London. Hundreds of unsuspecting passersby find the whole dance so contagious that they decide to join the performance spontaneously.

With this video, T-Mobile has managed to reach a massive audience and spread its message of ‘Life’s for Sharing’. The event was covered live by 6 TV news stations. The video was re-cut for TV, digital outdoor, online advertising, radio ads, print, poster, direct press and retail P.O.P. A branded YouTube channel was created where people could learn the dance, add their faces to it, or watch the many tribute dances from both the public and celebrities.

Click here to watch.

Philips - Cinema 21:9 (Winner Film Grand Prix)

Philips’ ambition is to own the idea of a cinematic viewing experience at home. With this very impressive frozen film about an armed robbery gone badly, it certainly seems to be making a step in that direction. The audience can explore the main features of Philips televisions by interacting with a website on which the film is hosted. Philips has managed to actively interact with the audience by allowing users to control their own viewing experience and see the differences with their own eyes. In combination with an incredibly powerful visual impact that has resulted in this very strong content.

Although it seems that the spread of the content has not reached its full potential. The amount of views for this campaign does not come close to that of the T-Mobile one, even though the content is of no less quality. More emphasis on distribution would have increased its impact nonetheless it is amazing in terms of creativity.

Click here for the website.

Diesel - XXX SFW (Winner Cyber Gold)

You can just imagine how many hilarious moments the makers of this cheeky campaign for Diesel must have had. The film was created to promote the brand’s 30th birthday party called XXX. Diesel shows a good understanding of the internet audience by using the abbreviation SWF (safe-for-work). The video was viewed over 4 million times during the first week and has now achieved over 14 million views. The controversial edge of the campaign has also generated extensive press coverage. The campaign is humorous and well-aligned with Diesel’s brand image and has resulted in more than 25,000 positive viewer comments.

Click here to watch.

In sum, we have seen that the concept of the new media ecosystem is starting to gain popularity. The days where simply being present on social media channels were enough to succeed are long gone. Many of the most effective campaigns at Cannes have managed to plan and execute the right combination of owned, paid and organic media, thereby maximizing the opportunities of the ‘always on’ user to their fullest.