Sunday, 22 June 2008

THE ARTISTS VERSUS THE ENGINEERS IN DIGITAL CREATIVE

Would Batman beat Spiderman in a fight? Or a lion beat a crocodile? Or an engineer beat an artist? It depends on where they fight. At Cannes Lions this year the artists beat the engineers to win the Cyber Lions. Tokyo based agency Projector, won for its Uniqlock, click here for more details. Uniqlock is firmly in the edgy, cool artistic side of the digital creative space, when compared to last year's brand utility idea Nike+ - a creation of engineering excellence in my mind - here for the details. What does this year's win suggest for the future of digital creative?

Projector describes it as " a fusion of dance video routines, time signal music and clock utility.The video sequence and the clock display intervenes one another every 5 seconds,while the time signal music seamlessly connects the two."

When I originally heard it had won I was sceptical. Particularly after all I'd heard about brand utility and advertising as a service in the seminars, this seemed like a step backwards. The authorities had taken back control of the asylum. It was well shot, imaginative, but still struck me like it was a little like old school TV advertising. But then I started to check out what type of buzz the campaign had created and found videos like this on YouTube. See below and click hear to see more.



But what was perhaps most interesting was its highly influential and networked presence on the web. I was surprised it had a Google PageRank of 7 out of 10 (Yahoo Japan has a 8 out of 10). And it has 915 backlinks based primarily out of a network of bloggers linked (mostly in Japan) to it using its clock on their site, and others using it on Facebook, Myspace, etc. Not a bad digital strategy to use bloggers to build advocacy and also exploit social media.

Google (the archetypal engineering company) beat Yahoo (as its strayed from straight engineering into entertainment arts). We will see the nature of digital creative evolve over the next few years but my view is that those engineering brand utilities will be the future for a while yet. It's hard to do, and there are still too few case studies out there. Uniqlock was great work, but for me the standout piece that combined the best of engineer and artists this year was Billion from Droga5. It wasn't a web idea, but uses technology in a refreshingly innovative way. Expect more battles between engineers and artists, as the likes of Google move further into the world of advertising, and expect more like Droga5 and RGA to use the best of the engineer's and artist's crafts to prosper.

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