I was way up on the balcony tweeting away when the Titanium winner was announced, Twelpforce, and as the applause began I clearly heard several audible "What!?" from the people around me in the audience.
It didn't take long before all of twitter was aflame with people wondering what the hell happened. Has Titanium become the "twitter award"? The Cannes Titanium Badlander is but a distant memory, everyone recalls Obama's win last year, and even that confused half of the Croisette.
I don't envy the judges - even though it seems like fun to look at ads all day while having access to lovely french food, so I'd say hells yes if anyone asked me - as they scan through thousands upon thousands of entries with a infrared-gun, robotic as supermarket workers for days to whittle down the entries. What floats to the top is what everyone understands, what cuts through the clutter, what has impact, and more often than not what is familiar. If you've seen the twelpforce in action, you know what it is. Twelpforce are the Best Buy Blue shirted geek squad people reaching out on twitter with their geek-skills to reinforce the brand that is Best Buy. Not that you'd ever be able to tell from the name Twelpforce, which seems to be branding twitter more than Best Buy. Like those ads of yesteryear that spend valuable adspace stating "AOL keyword is..", but I digress.
Another entry in the Titanium category was Hippo - the brand that used twitter as a crowdsourced inventory crew for their product, which is brilliant. But Hippo didn't even reach the shortlist.
Why the hell not? Both are doing something extremely clever with twitter, and in Hippo's case they even use the brand name in their twitter name. Hippo set up a task-force that descends into the shops and offices where the help-me-hippo tweets come from, to deliver the needed snack, and with the help of tweeters they identify where stock is low and where salespeople need to get the product out. Not only are the snack-hungry actually doing Hippo's inventory check for them, they're identifying markets where there is no Hippo snack. That's pretty clever. Hell, it's even a breakthrough idea, which is the criteria for a Titanium, right?
Twelpforce - Best Buy Blue Shirts Twitter case study
Another breakthrough Idea that did win, and I am glad it did, was Forsman & Bodenfors' sneaky use of Facebook's phototagging to launch the new Ikea here in Malmö where I live. Sucks for facebook as "paid media" though, as this doesn't use any of their paid media space, instead it's a profile page and lots of FB photos. Very clever (and I totally called it).
Ikea - Facebook Tag - (2009) 1:35 (Sweden)
Then there's Nike "Livestrong" campaign. This consists of many media components, but the kicker is the "chalkbot" which you could tweet messages to, and then it would write these messages on the tour de France trail. We're all fighting cancer. We're all sharing messages of love. We're all tweeting again.
Nike - The Chalkbot / Tour de France - (2009)
Anyone who has paid attention knows that there's been "stencilbike" (several) before, with Joshua Kinberg getting in trouble for his since it used Bluetooth tech and their trademark, so that people could beam him messages as he biked along the streets of New York. The breakthrough part of Nike's chalkbot seems to be the use of twitter.
Does this mean that the Titanium award is now the twitter award? Not if you're from India.
Is it possible that Hippo case study did not make the cut because they jumped the gun on it a bit too soon? I agree it is a fantastic idea, but did they really pull it off as claimed in the case study? I don't intend to demean Hippo's efforts and I am glad that an Indian campaign has got the necessary attention at an international event. But, on the claims made in the case study, I blogged about it when I noticed the case study online - When should a brand/agency carve out a social media case study?
Possible, I think case studies have everything to do with it (which is why I tweeted "there should be an award for case study films..." how meta!), but there were winners (not Titanium) in Cannes that had some very small samplings/results so I don't think the numbers themselves were the turnoff. At the speed these people need to judge things, they're not out checking everything, they just look at the case studies. Perhaps it wasn't a "verified account" on twitter (but then, The Ikea Facebook thing is totally under facebook's official radar), perhaps it was simply too soon for Hippo to be in Cannes judging by your post, perhaps it was just unfamiliar.
If you don't mind, I've un-shortened that link to your blog. This is not twitter, you want the googlejuice here, god knows spammers do anything for it. ;)
Would love to hear what other people think. Especially from anyone of those folks who gasped "What!?" when twelpforce won. ;)
Thanks for the un-shorten!
I really feel like the Titanium lion lost its way this year. It's supposed to, according to its description when it first launched, "honour work in any category that causes the industry to stop in its tracks and reconsider the way forward". None of the ideas in the final group were risky enough to even qualify, in my opinion. Apparently, the judges know so little about social media that the inclusion of SM elements qualified as "risky," especially when we're talking about such a blah campaign as Twelpforce. It's THAT fact that should cause the industry to stop in its tracks and reconsider the direction we're headed.
It is 2010, using social media is not breakthrough even if it is clever. These case studies should have been awarded in Cyber, not Titanium.