Madison Avenue's 'Next Big Thing:' Branded Technology

In a sign of just how much the nature of ad-supported media is evolving due to technology, one of Madison Avenue’s most important awards shows -- the Cannes Lions -- has added a new category representing “Branded Technology.”

The category, which is one of three new sub-categories within the festival’s so-called “Cyber Lions,” is part of a progression redefining the meaning of ad-supported digital media, the festival's organizers said.

While the term “cyber” may seem quaint, if not old-fashioned, it's become a catch-all for a constantly evolving category that includes not only online, but other new genres of digital media. 
The festival first introduced a “mobile” category in 2012, and the other two new sub-categories include “social” and “branded games.”



While the organizers did not give details of the new “branded technology” category, it presumably includes things like branded mobile apps, but conceivably could include physical technologies developed on behalf of a brand, not just software.

One of the hot campaigns circulating at the 2013 festival was the “Water Billboard” developed by Interpublic’s Mediabrands BPN network, which processed drinkable water from the moisture in the air surrounding the billboard (see photo).

The important criterion with all of the new awards, the organizers said, is that they “enhance overall brand experience.”

“I'm convinced that this is where the next big thing will come from,” stated Rei Inamoto, Chief Creative Officer, AKQA.

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