Commercials 2.0

Most communication professionals don’t skip the commercials. And when we get a chance to binge on them in the name of work, it’s like the computer geek tasked with testing the latest online game. InterCom’s final lunchtime event of the 2015-2016 season was a lot like that.

On June 10 we watched the world’s best commercials from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity at Azon’s international headquarters in Kalamazoo. These mini stories told in creative ways always spark our imaginations with inspiration from great creative geniuses around the world. There were three distinct trends this year that appear to be driving the most successful ad campaigns. These are the lessons we took with us. They’re important for anyone trying to effect change through a marketing or advertising initiative ” whether you’re selling a product, trying to get elected, raising money or raising awareness.

Multi-channel messaging

Commercials are no longer designed for TV alone. The best at Cannes were distributed through social media, web, print and other channels. And each platform required telling the story is slightly different ways.

Great agencies have found that broad distribution combined with engaging creative is a key to audience engagement. (A recent report by IAB, Kargo and? Refinery29 found that nearly three-quarters of marketing and media agency executives believe improving the user experience is a top goal). When the consumer controls his or her experience across multiple platforms ” as they do today in unprecedented ways ” varying placement is the only way to reach an audience. It was clear that the Cannes winners understood where and how to reach their markets in a way that drove results.

The needle moved

Cannes winners provided insight into their campaign goals. They shared their creative intent and talked about how their commercials achieved those ends. This was a nice reminder that even the most ingenious ideas are only as good as the results they drive. Despite the increasing complexity of media buying, ROI remains king.

Innovation and ideation

Most of the commercials featured social and product innovations. They solved problems and addressed needs in creative ways: Making bikes visible at night with a spray. Detecting shark threats with satellite data. Highlighting the lack of blood donors in Romania by deleting the color red from TV news broadcasts. This may be more a reflection of the culture within which the campaigns were judged than the strategy and execution of the commercials themselves. But it’s an interesting theme to note. The audiences we seek to reach are, after all, experiencing the same culture shift

If you couldn’t join us for this year’s encore InterCom lunchtime event, we hope you’ll mark your calendar for June 9, 2017. (Our 2nd Friday events are always free to members. Join or renew your membership for 2016-2017 now!) Thanks to our host Nancy Peterson of Azon for the use of the room, and for providing a wonderful lunch.

See you all Aug. 25 when we gather for Breaking the News Part 2, REVEALED: Best ways to get a story covered in Kalamazoo.