This article is part of CMO.com’s December series about 2018 trends, predictions, and new opportunities. Click here for more.
No matter the multitude of changes around us, one constant remains: the desire among brands to push the boundaries of creativity to produce unique and memorable campaigns. And isn’t that what makes this field so exciting?
But it takes a lot more than a golden idea to execute a successful campaign–yet alone win awards, as all of the examples we present, below, have. They also make clear the campaign paradigm is shifting; brands and agencies have gone to extraordinary lengths to collaborate with artists, architects, and athletes to craft unique stories.
We love the following five award-winners from the APAC region for their emphasis on originality and quality execution, and their ability to connect to the human experience.
Shoes Kick Off Online
With a highly saturated market of celebrity-fronted products in China, it was a tall order for Nike to turn basketball star Kevin Durant’s new kicks, the KD9, into the fastest-selling shoe in the sportswear maker’s history.
So instead of the average press junket, Nike collaborated with global media agency Mindshare and came up an innovative way to connect Durant and his new line of footwear with fans in China. The result? The “Play KD Show,” a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a Chinese fan to play basketball with Durant both virtually and in real life. The virtual one-on-one took place via the biggest basketball video game in the world, NBA2K.
In all, 1.8 million people watched the final showdown between Durant and tournament winner Gao Yang, who beat 463,000 other NBA2K players for the opportunity. It became the most-watched program on Tencent NBA for two weeks following the event, amounting to 33 million views in total.
Winning the gold at the Festival of Media Asia Pacific Awards in 2017 for best event/experiential campaign, the KD9 did, in fact, become the fastest-selling shoe in Nike’s history.
Love Will Find A Way
Oh, to be bright-eyed and open-hearted. On Valentine’s Day 2017, dating site eHarmony Australia launched a campaign that encouraged singles to be brave and share their feelings with a secret crush.
“The best way to do that was to show Valentine's Day through the lens of children,” Nicole McInnes, former managing director at eHarmony, told CMO.com. “In doing so, not only did we discover the wonder of love again but also the absolute joy of not taking the whole thing too seriously.”
The “Be My Valentine” campaign won a silver at the Media Federation of Australia Awards in October. The campaign drove a 118% increase in subscription conversion rate year-over-year, over 800,000 organic social views, and a unique reach of 2.8 million.
“Be My Valentine was the incarnation of both a true state within the singles community and eHarmony’s brand purpose of delivering happiness through finding someone made for you,” said McInnes, now head of marketing at Woolworths’ online store, WooliesX.
Meet Graham, the human so evolved he can survive a car crash.
Graham was the face of the “Meet Graham” campaign for the Transport Accident Commission in Victoria, Australia. The government agency decided to take a new direction to tackle road safety education. Its objective: for people to learn of their vulnerability on the roads rather than ingest the same, old messaging about speeding or drunk driving.
The commission tasked agency Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne with a tricky brief, resulting in the elaborate union of art, science, and risk.
“Our hope was to create something that would make the community stop, reflect, and be open to learning about their vulnerability on the roads,” said Evan Roberts, the agency’s executive creative director.
Within 10 days of Graham’s introduction in July 2016, he was featured in 150 broadcast news stories, 700 online articles, and had reached almost 9 million people across social media. The TAC continued to roll out the campaign this year, resulting in headlines around human vulnerability and traffic safety in Australia, as well as garnering ongoing media attention as a piece of boundary-breaking work.
Another reason we cite this campaign: It also took home the Grand Prix in the Health and Wellness category as well as a gold Lion, three silvers, and a bronze at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity Awards. Not a bad outcome for an organic campaign.
Funny-Shaped Fields Win Out
In one of Bangkok’s busiest urban districts, Khlong Toei, development company AP Thailand and digital ad agency CJ Worx joined forces to turn strangely shaped abandoned lots into soccer fields. They called the project “The Unusual Football Field.”
The project’s power to impact the experience of Thai youth in such a positive way landed it a Grand Prix in the design category at this year’s Cannes Lions awards–the first award of its kind for Thailand.
“The vision is to break the norm of what is possible with an abandoned space. It’s very clever,” Sandra Planeta, Cannes Lions design category jury president told Adweek. “It’s breaking the grid, it’s doing something unusual, it’s so smart, it’s simple, it’s human, it’s bold.”
Committing To The Cause
Ranked as one of YouTube’s most-watched ads in 2017 is a spot by Samsung India Service (SVC), titled “We’ll take care of you, wherever you are.”
The artfully produced advertisement tells the story of Amit, a Samsung serviceman, and his commitment to supporting one of his customers in rural India. Along his journey, Amit is confronted by some of the obstacles rural life presents, including herds of sheep interrupting traffic and a lack of infrastructure. But it is not until he arrives at his customer’s home that the importance of his commitment and journey is realised.
The touching tale was viewed more than 35 million times in under two weeks, a result Samsung India CMO Ranjivjit Singh, said he was thrilled about.
“Our new initiative of expanding to rural India, right up to the taluka [small village] level, helps us in taking care of our valued customers, wherever they are,” he told Adweek.