No, Cannes Should Not Be Canned

With Cannes Lions a week away, the usual debate surrounding the merits of the festival are making their annual appearances. The latest in the annual salvo of discontent comes from Avi Dan who, writing for Forbes, asks: "Should Cannes Be Canned?" Cute, Avi. Cute. It's the usual tripe about how the awards focus too much on creativity and not enough on results and how Cannes "diverts attention from servicing the clients and building strong brands and, instead, much too often it’s about self-importance." Well, of course it's about self-importance, Avi. Where else do you think the industry's creative babies are going to to get a pat on the back and a new binky to place in their crib? Certainly not from their clients who make it their business to dumb down and kill every great idea with CYA committee-led approval processes. As long as awards are offered and as long as agencies can afford the entry fees and as long as creative egos need to be stroked, Cannes ain't getting canned.

This past weekend, Arnold Worldwide won an Emmy for its work on the introduction to the Boston Bruins' "Behind the B" show at the Boston/New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Saturday, June 7. Produced by Travis Robertson and Greg Almeida of Arnold Worldwide and the Bruins Digital Entertainment Network, the “Behind the B” show intro was nominated in the Musical Composition and Arrangement category. The intro was created using still photography and then converted to a grainy/gray scale in order to create a raw look. Each photograph was treated with a combination of 2D, 3D, and After Effects Parallax to create moments that appeared to be frozen in time. 

Agencies go to Cannes all the time. It's not news. But one agency, 123w.ca, is really, really excited to be going. And well they should be. The agency was founded and launched just one year ago in a suburban Vancouver garage. They then moved to office space in an industrial laundry facility, seemingly for the low rent. They've done work for 7-Eleven and Mercedes and have no problem tapping talent to help create the agency's gloriously kooky Web site. The agency is out with a video it will use to introduce itself during an appearance it will make in Cannes next week. 

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  • 10 Books Every Agency Person Should Read

    Well, at least according to Strawberry Frog Founder Scott Goodson, who has compiled a list of ten "mind-altering business books from 2014." He acknowledges that most business books simply repeat what many of us already know but these ten books (and a few honorable mentions) will truly shift your thinking and open your mind to new possibilities, according to Goodson.

    His list, compiled in a piece for Huffington Post, includes CREATIVITY INC: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, THE HARD THING ABOUT HARD THINGS: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers and Sally Hogshead's HOW THE WORLD SEES YOU: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination, among others.

    Check out the full list and get smarter. Because the last thing this industry needs is more of the same. We already have that is spades. Let's be different, Okay?

  • This Canadian Agency Used Airbnb to Raise Money For the Homeless

    In acknowledgement of the 3,500 homeless and 15,000 at risk households in their area, Calgary-based Trigger Communications decided to tackle homelessness in Calgary this season with what they are calling "The first-ever airbnb PSA." 

    The "PSA" which the agency created for Alberta charitable organization, The Mustard Seed, consists of airbnb listings that document what it's like to be homeless. Through social media, the agency encouraged people to book a night at one of these listings for $20 -- the same amount a person in Alberta receives for social assistance. 

    To further promote the fund-raising effort, the agency placed cardboard signs around the city promoting the listings. Now isn't that better than a bunch of agency employees tossing on some Christmas costumes and prancing around the office sharing their poor acting skills? Yes. Yes, it is.

  • Agency's Bitmas Pudding Mobile Game Awards Bitcoins to Winners

    London-based WCRS decided to marry the Bitcoin trendlet with some Christmas spirit. The agency has created Bitmas Pudding, a mobile game that takes its origins from the traditional practice of placing silver coins inside a Christmas pudding. The game, just like the tradition, has players eating their way through the pudding to find the bitcoins.

    The agency sent the game to clients, prospects and friends of the agency awarding winners with various prizes including a bitcoin worth $349. Players could also choose to donate their winnings to the homeless charity St. Mungo's Broadway.

    Of the game, WCRS Head of Technology and Innovation Dino Burbidge said: "Most people have heard of Bitcoins but almost all are totally baffled by them too. The simple idea of transforming a Christmas tradition was a great opportunity for our in-house creative and digital innovation teams to have some fun and demystify Bitcoins a little. At least it'll spark an interesting conversation over Christmas dinner when the pudding come out!"

  • Agency Enlists Christopher Walken to Help Sell Holiday Cheer in A Can

    Boston-based Small Army is out with a new product it hopes will help everyone spread holiday cheer far and wide. They have put holiday cheer inside a can. Which anyone can order. No, really, it's true. And the agency will donate 100% of net proceeds to the Boston Medical Center's Preventive Food Pantry.

    As explained on the Web site, which is filled with hilarious videos including a Christopher Walken impersonator hilariously touting the product, Holiday Cheer is "a fine paste packed into the most technologically advanced chemical processing plants in all of East Asia. This paste is fused with active cultures and injected into fermented eggnog batter, which is then aged to perfection inside casks of hollowed out fruit-cakes. This process results in a smooth, buttery cream, packed with patented Festive Pheromones which saturating your synapsis with cheer and general merriment."

    So how does one use a can of Holiday Cheer? Simply spread a liberal amount on your entire face, wait until the "active ingredients" absorb into your skin and you are guaranteed cheeriness. Well, at least until January 1.

  • This Agency's Santa App Aims to Bring Christmas Magic to Children

    Agencies, it seems, are really amping up their holiday card efforts this year with many going the mobile route. Spanish agency Shakleton Group has developed SantApp, a mobile app which creates the illusion that Father Christmas or the Three Kings are moving around in one's living room to enchant the little ones. To get it to work, you enter the name of the child or children, place the phone in the room with the presents, close the door, turn off the lights.

    According to Juan Silva, executive creative director at Shackleton: “People say that technology is robbing children of their innocence. We believe that, for once, we are actually helping to give it back to them.” That's all well and good -- but a video explaining the app leads on to believe all it does is play various Santa voice and flash light. But, hey, sometimes that's all kids need.

  • AKQA Creates Awesome 3D Snowglobe For Your Phone

    AKQA decided to go mobile with its holiday card this year. The agency has introduced Winterlands, a mobile messaging site that lets you send this season’s greetings in a 3D snow globe experience.

    If you visit snow.akqa.com on any mobile device running iOS 8+ or Android 4.3.3+ and choose one of the snowscapes and write your personal message that when opened by a recipient will reveal a message inside a virtual snow globe. And shaking the phone will make it snow. The experience is really quite cool and makes use of the phone's gyroscope and accelerometer.

    Winterlands launches with one wintery and five city-inspired snowscapes including London, Paris, Portland, Tokyo and Washington DC, more cities to be added in the coming days. So grab your phone, head over to the Web site, create your own snow globe extravaganza and shoot it over to a friend.

  • Creative Agency Wants To Know Whether Or Not You Eat Reindeer

    Hanson Dodge Creative has stepped up the holiday card/video/charity thingamajiga with the launch of Global Gift Project, Inc. Its mission is to bring complete joy and wonderment to every child in the world by providing each child with a gift. And the agency is asking for the industry's help.

    Explaining the efforts, the Web site reads: "Trying to give a gift to every single one of them [kids] is really freaking difficult. And it gets harder every year. That's why we've started our ‘Yes, I'm Officially Representing Santa, He's Real and Gave Me the Power to Give You a Gift’ Team. We call it Team "YIORSHRGMPGYG" for short." YIORSHRGMPGYG aims to entrust the non-elven population with the power of good ol' Santa Claus and empowers people to become official members of the Global Gift Project Team.”

    If you click the Apply Now button, you are whisked away to a virtual human resources department where Helen will administer an interview to see if you're up to holiday snuff. The choose-your-own adventure-style questions begin simply enough and then progress to such oddities as how crying babies make you feel and whether or not you like to eat reindeer. It's amusing enough to click all the way through at which time you can download your YIORSHRGMPGYG membership card.

  • Study Predicts Increased Creative Hires in 2015

    Well, here's some good news regarding the outlook for 2015. The Creative Group is out with a piece of research that takes a look at what 2015 has in store in terms of employment. According to the research, one-third of advertising and marketing professionals plan to expand their creative teams in the first half of 2015. That's up 21 percent from six months ago.

    In addition, 56% plan to maintain their current level of staffing within their organizations with just 5% planning to freeze hiring. Forty-one percent of advertising and marketing executives noted that it is challenging to find creative professionals today and hiring managers at large advertising agencies expect the greatest difficulty, with 59% of respondents reporting it will be somewhat or very challenging.

    In terms of the areas which marketing organizations plan to expand, web design/production, social media, content marketing and brand/product management top the list. The Creative Group has produced an infographic summarizing this outlook with addition data points as well. You can access that here.

  • MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER Solves Oxford Comma Conundrum With Browser Bookmark-Let

    In an ingenious, holiday-themed effort designed to call attention to the importance of the Oxford comma in certain situations, San Francisco-based MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER has launched a browser bookmark-let that will automagically add missing Oxford commas.

    A video accompanies the effort with clear examples as to why you really should employ the Oxford comma at times. The video says "Missing Oxford commas ruins Christmas." It then cites some unintended results such as "I was shopping for your Christmas presents, toilet paper and prunes," "We went caroling with our dogs, grandma and grandpa" and "Merry Christmas from your parents, Santa and Rudolph." Images accompany the statements to illustrate just how wrong those sentences are without the Oxford comma.

    So if you're ever confused as to whether or not the Oxford comma is necessary, you can recall the awkward examples given in the video.
  • Deep Focus Pays Homage to Classic Console Games With Holiday Charity Effort

    Like the holidays? Like games? Then Deep Focus has something you might like. The agency has developed an old school interactive game called #DeepSnow. The agency developed it from scratch using Google Maps, HTML5, WebSockets, SASS, OpenLayers, and custom animations.

    The aim of the game is to steer a snow plow through the streets of New York City and rescue Deep Focus employees and toys spilt by Santa from the grasps of a winter snowpocalypse. In tandem with the web experience, players use their mobile device as a game controller. Data from the phone’s gyroscope is used to power the steering wheel for the snowplow as it maneuvers around angry Yetis and actual NYC landmarks on the computer screen.

    And, of course, there's a charity element to the game. Because, after all, agencies need to somehow make up for their self-centered, egotistical outlook on life they vamp the rest of the year. Virtual points earned during game play will be turned into physical toys donated to Toy For Tots.

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