Brandon Doerrer
Jun 23, 2023

Behind the scenes of BBDO’s creative sprint with Meta’s Reels

EXCLUSIVE: CEO Andrew Robertson shares what it looks like when 24 agencies around the world compete to create the best Reels campaign.

Behind the scenes of BBDO’s creative sprint with Meta’s Reels

BBDO and Meta recently partnered on a six-week sprint to explore how different brands can innovate with Reels ads.

Twenty-four agencies around the world produced 96 Reels campaigns for more than 70 clients to discover what the best one looks like.

The rules of the competition were simple — make an actual brief for an actual client using Reels, the short-form video product offered across Meta’s Instagram and Facebook. Meta gave each agency a two-hour introductory training session and continued to assist teams that had questions about what was possible with its toolset.

After judging wrapped in May, eight Reels were shortlisted and one was declared the winner.

BBDO Dublin nabbed the win with its campaign that judges books by their covers. Looking at nothing more than a page or two, the team created trailers for what they assumed the book to be about.

“In the world of Reels, we literally can make a trailer for every single book we choose to make a trailer for,” said Andrew Robertson, CEO of BBDO. “We can fill it with sound effects that we generate using AI and edit it — we can do all of that stuff and bring that idea to life.”

BBDO aims to make the campaign live “as soon as possible.”

In another shortlisted campaign due to go public in Q3, Chep Network made a brief for Samsung earbuds. To demonstrate the importance of having earbuds when out in public, the team created a campaign that uses geotargeting to identify where a user is. Audio plays by default when scrolling through Reels, so embarrassing ads will play out loud in certain locations if that user’s phone isn’t silenced or connected to headphones.

Andrew Robertson, BBDO CEO (left) and Jimmie Stone, Meta's VP, head of creative shop in North America (right) talk about the sprint at Cannes Lions. Photo: BBDO

BBDO undertook the challenge to immerse itself in a learning process that Robertson compared to riding a bike or learning a new language. While Reels isn’t the only short-form social medium and BBDO and Meta aren’t “exclusive — in the language of Tinder,” as Robertson put it, he explained that it’s worth knowing how to create native campaigns with the budding toolset.

“For us, it’s a way to get from zero to pretty damn good on a platform that’s mattering more and more every day,” he said. “You just can’t do that, in my view, with a couple of ‘lunch and learns’ and some workshops.”

Meta is trying to get more advertisers on Reels to have the product break even by the end of the year. The video format has sapped revenue from other Meta products in recent quarters as time spent outpaces monetization. On its Q1 earnings call, Meta stated that users spend 24% more time on Instagram since Reels first launched. 

The sprint with BBDO also taught Meta what’s possible for advertisers on Reels, said Jimmie Stone, Meta’s VP, head of creative shop in North America.

“We wanted to connect with an agency of such a caliber of creativity to explore the outer edges of how to use our platform,” he said.

Robertson and Stone took to the stage at Cannes Lions on Thursday (June 22) to talk about the Reels produced in the sprint, which they hope to make “as many as possible” live in the coming weeks.


Campaign US

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