Technology can power the next surge in creativity : Facebook 'Cannected' event

Facebook’s recent Cannected event was a celebration of the creativity of the UK’s digital advertising industry, showcasing some of the great work that has appeared on the social media giant’s platforms in the past year.

The event was timed to coincide with the Cannes Lions Festival, where one of the campaigns showcased had already won three awards. But it was about connection in another way too, as it also emphasised the link between creativity and technology, and showed how much of the best work comes from a deep engagement between the two.

This point was made explicit by Adam & Eve DDB’s Miranda Hipwell, managing partner, and Martin Beverley, executive strategy director, when they talked about their “Trolling is Ugly” campaign for The Cybersmile Foundation. The campaign, which won gold, silver and bronze in the Mobile Lions, was based around the Instagram feed of social media influencer and body positivity campaigner Chessie King. Every time she received a trolling comment, the team responded by digitally altering her appearance.

The campaign worked, Beverley said, because not only was Instagram the right medium to reach the intended audience, but also because the team embraced the creative possibilities of the platform.

Another project that allied creativity to the particular qualities of a medium was Grey’s use of Facebook Messenger to encourage people to order their Christmas food from M&S.

“Messenger is a platform for one-to-one conversations at scale,” Sam Gibbs, emerging technologies director at Grey, explained. “Using it was an experiment with a new platform, but we also wanted to reach a new audience for M&S.”

In this case the key was personalisation.

“There’s no point in doing it if it’s not personalised,” Gibbs said. So content was tailored based on people’s response to questions about how skilled they were as cooks, how many they were cooking for, and what sort of meal they were preparing. In the end 60% of the audience received personalised messages, with the real proof of success, according to Gibbs, being that no-one opted out of the messaging.

Alongside the creativity case studies, Facebook’s Jocelyn Rebuck provided some context around the changing use of video. She described the progression of video from its beginnings as a shared, passive, one-way experience in the 1950s, through on-demand in limited situations on computers and personal, view-anywhere experiences on mobile, to where it is now; active, real-time and shared.

“Mobile video is skyrocketing,” she said. “78% of all mobile data will be video by 2021, and people are one-and-a-half times more likely to watch video daily on their mobile than on a computer.”

This massive increase in consumption is mirrored by much greater engagement with mobile video, and more more sharing of it. As a result the new model for video combines the control offered by online media with the togetherness familiar from offline. The opportunity for marketers, she said, is to produce content that is optimised for this new model.

Poke took advantage of social sharing of video in its work for Heineken around last season’s Champions League. The idea was to make the 70% of football fans who watch the Champions League alone at home feel less lonely. So Poke selected highlights from the games based on listening to fans’ comments on social media, then packaged up those highlights as Instagram Stories to be shared by fans.

According to Sol Ghafoor, global digital strategy director for Heineken at Poke, who presented the case study, the beauty of the result was that the highlights chosen reflected what really appealed to fans - including a cat on the pitch during Bayern Munich versus Besiktas - rather than just a standard package of goals.

In an update about Stories across the Facebook portfolio, business product marketing lead James Bennett reiterated the strong desire the company sees for consumers to engage with brands via Stories.

“One third of the most viewed Stories on Instagram are from businesses,” he said.

This engagement was also at the heart of the event’s final case study, also featuring Poke, of the Bafta Star Scanner for EE. Poke’s group creative director Angus Mackinnon explained how EE had been looking for a PR-worthy brand activation idea around its sponsorship of the Baftas.

“They’re always looking for a way to tell an innovation story,” he said.

The unexpected insight was that people aren’t talking about film online around the Bafta awards night, they’re talking about fashion.

“Fashionistas want to create the looks from the red carpet as fast as possible,” Mackinnon said. “So the idea was the Bafta Star Scanner, which allowed people to shop the red carpet looks from anywhere in the UK.”

“We took photos of the stars on the red carpet and in a 360º booth and our design team selected the best ones. Then we used image recognition technology to source retail sites for matches. It took between 60 seconds and two minutes to get them up on Instagram.”

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