Lion’s share

Loading screens

Robin reports today on the announcement of the Cannes Cyber Lions winners.

In terms of the top “Grand Prix” category, Nike+ gets another mention (after it’s D&AD black pencil success) as does the marvellous Dove Evolution viral film, and Diesel’s underwear thing.

But once we get past the top category, where I agree we’re seeing some interesting thoughtful creative (or insight-led) work, we start to see lots of flashbacks from the late 90s. Yes, they’re beautifully done. But almost all of them are the Flash-only sites that advertising agencies love because they are not limited by practical considerations, replete with a sequence of absolutely massive embedded videos that require 2-3 minute loading screens, “click here to open full screen” messages (which I thought had been made illegal in the late 60s), beautiful TV-style graphics, unusuable interfaces and interactions as pointless as they are lovely to watch.

I feel like I’ve spent longer watching “movie loading” screens this afternoon – while reviewing the work – than I have in the last five years put together.

This isn’t just people who are SOOOO excited by creativity that they just can’t stop themselves ‘creating’ this nonsense, these are people who regard their audience (these people that stand in the way of their pencils and golden lions) with such contempt that they completely ignore any matter of user experience or usability in the name of gloss and glam. And then a bunch of judges that reward them for it.

Is this stuff really back? Or perhaps only in the world of advertising award shows?

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D&AD in the water

Yellow Pencils 

Quite funny to see the polarity of views about digital at the Design and Art Direction (D&AD) awards – the most respected forum for rewards creativity and craft in the advertising industry.

On the one hand, you got Jeremy Garner from LBi waxing lyrically about how exciting it is that both Nike+ and Leo Burnett Canada got black pencils (the top award), and for very different styles of work. And then there’s the other bunch quoted by Robin Grant here, who are traditional advertising people saying that the work simply isn’t very good, it’s not of a very high standard and the D&AD judges are getting carried away by the tide of digital.

I think Nike+ is brilliant. Like Run London before it, it’s a brilliant piece of lateral marketing. Does it deserve a black pencil for creativity and craft? Nope. It’s fine but it’s not beautiful.

What about the Leo Burnett site? Well it is – as Jeremy says – an absolute treat. The craft skills are incredibly evident. And yet the site itself feels a little bit like a party trick, but a good trick at that.

So (imo) Nike is brilliant but doesn’t really deserve the award, Leos might deserve the award but is kind of irrelevant.

And, true enough, The banners and buttons that have been awarded do seem to fall short of their offline competitors. Actually, I think that’s simply because digital craft skills are a long way off their traditional counterparts. And, of course, so are budgets. But it must also be at least in part that effectiveness is no longer so closely tied to creativity, and that (deep breath) the primacy of the “big idea” is in doubt.

Is the real loser in all this actually D&AD themselves, are their criteria for success simply less relevant today?