ET3: Sleeping Flags, Algorithmic Razor Blades, Crazy Dreams


ET3: Sleeping Flags, Algorithmic Razor Blades, Crazy Dreams

October 2019
ET3: Sleeping Flags, Algorithmic Razor Blades, Crazy Dreams

A new perspective on our Executive Time podcast this time, as Account Executive Rudi is joined by Benedict, who was in the London office for work experience. In this episode of the Copestone podcast, discussions turn to the team’s favourite work from Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2019, which is “like the Oscars for the creative industries."

Sleeping flags

The first piece discussed was a winner in the PR category and a favourite of Rudi’s, the entry was a campaign from an Irish charity who fund housing for homeless veterans. The aim of the campaign was not only to increase funding for the cause, but to raise awareness of the issue in a way that would grab and hold the audience’s attention.

The Irish Flag, a national symbol of pride and inherently linked to the military, was the chosen image that would prove to be a powerful emblem for the charity’s campaign. Veterans of Dublin were given sleeping bags specifically created to look like the Irish flag and encouraged to sleep outside key buildings of national importance in Dublin. The campaign carried the message that more was done to treat the flag correctly than to support the people that protected it, emphasised by the impactful image of both the flag and the veterans “sleeping in the gutter."

Rudi and Benedict agreed that the impact of this campaign was so effective because it was a genuine story from a reliable source, suggesting that the advert would have felt disingenuous coming from a larger, for-profit company. The emotion of the campaign came, in part, from the shock factor of seeing the flags in the gutter outside buildings of national importance, and with that the guilt that people had noticed the flag far more than anonymous homeless veterans.

The time we have left

Ruavieja liqueur company absolutely blew Benedict away with their entry, which won gold for creative strategy. The advert for their after-dinner liqueur struck a chord with creators and audience alike, to the point that Ruavieja redirected marketing funds to sponsor people’s travel to visit their loved ones. The campaign had an interesting beginning.

Initiation of the campaign was a shrewd, almost misleading move. In the same way that a magician might misdirect your gaze to perform the act that will appear to be magic, Ruavieja uploaded a post which implied that the digestif liqueur market was dying and their business was struggling. From the get-go they were a step ahead and painting a picture of themselves as a small, honest, family business, an image which they would go on to cement in the main act of their marketing campaign.

Bringing pairs of people together, family or friends, Ruavieja asked them to discuss how often they saw each other and what they meant to each other. An algorithm was then used to predict how many hours each pair had left to spend together. The video shows their reactions to being told they may only have a few weeks left together. After the advert was broadcast, Ruavieja began receiving hundreds of letters from all around the world, thanking them and informing them that family and friends were going to visit each other. 

Ruavieja reminded people to spend more time with family, often showing reunited families talking over a glass of their after-dinner digestif, thereby spreading a true and genuine message. This use of association between the liqueur and joyful family time provided the audience with a more positive view of the drink, rather than just receiving the hard sell from the company. By retaining that image as a small, family business, devoted to bringing loved ones together, Ruavieja improved the reputation of their brand and their product.

Nike: dream crazy, dream crazier

Nike, of course, were a favourite, delivering another of their renowned advertising campaigns. This time promoting equality. Colin Kaepernick was the face of the Dream Crazy campaign, which took inspiration from the recent peaceful protests in America, which he started. Players in the National Football League (NFL) have been kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police violence, which for Colin Kaepernick, meant losing his career as he saw less playing time and, after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers, was not re-signed. 

“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” The tagline of the Dream Crazy campaign, not only encouraging sport and fitness, but also supporting the movement for racial equality, is a bold move by Nike. As Rudi and Benedict discussed, Nike “captured the energy of the moment in a way which felt genuine and human and real”, again highlighting the importance of authenticity in marketing. They acknowledge that Nike can take the risk of using a topic which is so controversial and polarised in America, because they are such a large and established organisation.

They maintained this authenticity in their Dream Crazier campaign, which uses clips of professional female athletes with a voiceover from Serena Williams, discussing the inequality and injustice for women in sports. Serena Williams points out that many of the achievements of women in sports were called crazy until they were accomplished. The tagline, “It’s only crazy until you do it”, connects with the infamous Nike motto “Just Do It”. Nike impressed, managing to take a bold, shrewd step into the controversial, while remaining one of the world’s strongest brands.

The Cannes Lion’s Executive Time podcast took an interesting look at creativity and success in marketing and advertising. Rudi and Benedict compared the power and impact of a large company like Nike, and the benefits of having a reputation as a small, family business like Ruavieja. While marketing is specifically tailored to different organisations and aims, the overarching positive in the three campaigns we covered was the authenticity that both Rudi and Benedict immediately picked up on. Having that immediate impact is essential to ‘grabbing’ the audience, especially in today’s world of quick swiping social media.