The Digital Media Awards will be handed out in a ceremony this evening at the Digital Asia Festival in Beijing. We'll post the list of winners shortly afterward at the Festival coverage page. [Update: Winners announced.]
Today's panel moderated by Atifa Silk, editorial director of Campaign Asia-Pacific, comprised Amy Chen, director of digital marketing for Coca-Cola China; Benjamin Condit, digital partner, Mindshare China; Susana Tsui, regional vice-president, growth and strategic partnerships, OgilvyOne Worldwide Asia-Pacific; and Rudi Ramin, platform lead Asia-Pacific, Kraft Foods Asia-Pacific.
While the overall quality of the digital submissions was “pretty good” and most entries had a social element to them, said Tsui, the disappointment for the judges lay in the mobile entries.
“Agencies were submitting apps for the sake of apps,” Condit commented. “Apps were the entire strategy, without integration. There were a few standouts, but overall I was pretty disappointed in the category.”
Another problem with the entries that didn't do well, said the judges, was a tendency to be, as Ramin put it, “channel driven rather than insight driven”.
“You will see with the awards we've given out that those entries were very clear, and with a human strategy and execution,” Ramin said. “Those who have spent lots and made it really complex may be surprised not to win gold — but it's not about the technology.”
Big ideas are really not dependent on budget, the judges agreed. “Sometimes I feel that when faced with a smaller budget, we think simpler — when faced with a huge budget we tend to overcomplicate things,” said Tsui with a laugh.
“Give me a big idea and I will fight for more budget,” said Chen. “But I need a great idea. Without one, how can I go to my boss and ask for a huge big budget?”
Sometimes though, clients can become overly focused on business measurements and miss the heart of a big idea, admitted Ramin. “That's when we need agencies to fight for a great idea. Base it on real insight and we will listen.”
Returning to award entries, Condit pointed out that agencies shoot themselves in the foot when they head off a case study video with bad voice overs (the panel felt that only one out of 105 videos had a good voiceover) and cheap insights.
“Judging can be quite a painful process," Condit said. "If you don't catch me in the first three lines of text, you may have lost me. Honestly, if I see another case study from India that starts with 'Indians love Bollywood or cricket', I'm going to shoot myself!”
Presenting the problem, solution and idea simply and clearly within the first minute is crucial, the jury panel concurred. “Many case studies drown out the core idea with the sheer amount of detail they try to cram in.”
Not measuring the right things was also a negative strike against many case studies. “Some are still measuring CTR, but we know it's not the number of clicks that matter — it's the engagement time,” said Tsui.
“There's also too much emphasis on gaining large numbers of followers," Condit said. "Who cares? I could buy 50,000 new followers today, with one email, for 4,000 yuan. What does that mean?”
Ramin added that often the data don't seem to correspond with the purported goals of the campaign. “About 10 to 20 per cent of entries weren't providing anything meaningful," Ramin said. "They didn't tie up at the end, and we have to ask. 'Did it do its job?'”
Finally it's important for agencies not to lie, said Tsui. “We were planners too," she said. "We know when results have been reengineered and goals changed.”
“There were scenes in some case studies that looked staged,” commented Ramin. “It's so obvious and it puts you in a negative light — just tell us the idea next time.”
The jury panel then shared four award entries that really stood out for them:
Share a Coke, Australia
Coca-Cola broke the golden rule of branding and replaced their logo on hundreds of Coke bottles with Australia's most popular names. The campaign drew 25 unique crowd-sourced TVCs in 17 hours and generated 12 million earned media impressions.
“It wasn't the results that really got us excited," said Condit. "It was the fact that it's Coke, and they're changing the logo on their products."
Added Tsui: “It's the big idea of 'Open Happiness' for Coke and personalising that, not relying on the logo but on everything else around the brand, the product and sharing with friends.”
Table booking app for New Town Plaza, Hong Kong
New Town Plaza mall decided to turn the time that consumers were using to wait for a restaurant table into shopping time by creating an app that would allow users to take a number for a restaurant and keep shopping. The app would alert them when they were 10 numbers away from getting a table. The mall saw a 30 per cent increase in shopping time.
“I would love to have this app in Singapore,” said Ramin, and Tsui added: “Out of all the mobile entries, this stood out because it's useful, not a gimmick, a nice-to-have or an afterthought.”
Bury the past, The Philippines
The Philippines is one of the world's top countries in terms of internet searches seeking sex scandal videos, and the women in such videos live in shame in the predominantly Catholic country. The campaign asked Facebook users to add “-Scandal” to their names, with the aim of burying scandal video sites in search results. Within two weeks of the launch, scandal video sites were buried 30 pages deep on most searches, leading to 14 per cent less traffic to the country's top scandal video sites.
“Whoever thought of this is genius," said Ramin. "It's simple, easy and viral.”
Added Condit, “One of the most elegant solutions I've seen to a problem. You just add the word 'scandal' to your name on Facebook and it kills search — completely new and innovative.”
Coke the OFW project, The Philippines
Based on the insight that one in 10 Filipinos has family members working abroad. For its OFW (overseas foreign workers) project, Coca-Cola flew several workers, some of whom had spent years away from family members, to the Philippines at Christmas time for surprise reunions.
“It's going back to basics, taking the insight that every overseas worker, no matter what nationality, misses their family,” said Tsui. “The brand supported and realised the dreams of bringing these people home, creating a social video at its best. They could have made a film instead, but it would have been more contrived and not authentic.”
“It was the realness that allowed this campaign to spread,” Ramin said.
Chen added, "The case goes back to consumer insight. What's the most important thing for people? For Coke, it's happiness.”