Ford, CNN mix awards with results

04 October 2010

NEW YORK: Ford and CNN are among the brand owners showing how to combine concrete results with award-winning ideas, a panel of experts speaking at Advertising Week argued.

A discussion at the event – covered in more detail by Geoffrey Precourt, Warc's US Editor, here – aimed to distil the essential qualities of high-quality entries from the annual US Effie Awards in the eyes of past judges.

Shiv Singh, head of digital, PepsiCo Beverages America, suggested successful marketing initiatives must "getconsumers to take deep action."

"Building awareness is going to happen. In fact, there are so many actions that it's all but certain to happen," he said.

"But to drive – to actually drive deep change – is the new frontier. A great ad has to so something, not just change perceptions."

Singh cited the City of Detroit School System's campaign responding to budget cuts during the recession and giving the surviving educational establishments a unifying "badge of honour", as an example.

"Not only did enrolment increase, but kids who already had dropped out came back to school. It became cool to go back to school," Singh said.

"This was more of a story than a case study. It didn't impact millions or get people to go on Facebook or turn their light off … It is the story of what's going to be happening in this country for the next 100 years."

Todd Cunningham, MTV Networks' svp, strategic insights and research, took a granular approach, stating planning was key.

"No ad can do everything. A good piece of advertising has to be focused, with clearly stated objectives," he said.

Bryant praised an effort by Ford promoting its latest Fiesta, which began a year before launch, and recruited 100 influential bloggers to test the car for six months, with the ambition of engaging younger consumers.

"They re-wound the program," Cunningham said. "They needed to reintroduce the product – and themselves – to a whole generation that didn't know the, that didn't know what they liked."

"This really was a seminal moment in marketing ... It's all about accessing people, driving awareness for the product and handing the baton of control off to the consumer."

Mark D'Arcy, president/coo of Time Warner, presented a communications platform delivered by the company's CNN unit as demonstrating a broader shift.

"There's a real need for people to come together around shared experiences or products," he said.

"You have to be careful that you're completely authentic. We can't have a thousand teary-eyed brands … But some brands have earned the right to be noble and passionate."

CNN's coverage of the presidential election in 2008, including a pioneering tie-up with Facebook, evidenced this in practice.

"Even though it seems incredibly out of date just two years later, CNN changed the way people consumed information. A partnership with Facebook was, at the time, groundbreaking," he said.

To read Geoffrey Precourt's coverage from Advertising Week, click here.

To access award-winning papers from the US Effies, click here.

Data sourced from Warc