This week’s wallpaper serves as a rallying cry for those of us who, too often, lose sight of where health, joy, and happiness truly reside. Thanks, Mr. Sheen.
Yes, it’s a pickle.
What we should have done:
There’s been a lot of discussion lately about Travel Manitoba’s 2011 campaign themeline/slogan/tagline “It’s Manitoba Time.” Released in a PowerPoint presentation last week and causing a stir in Manitoba’s advertising community that hasn’t been seen since SpiritedEnergyGate, it seems this campaign is already being led to slaughter before we even know what we’re slaughtering.
The death knell for this campaign was sounded long before last week though, reaching back to August 2010 with the news that the Vancouver offices of DDB Canada, an agency owned by one of the largest advertising holding companies in the world, was chosen over a Manitoban agency. (“They took our jobs!” sums it up fairly well.) Travel Manitoba, a Crown corporation, had broken an unspoken contract. If an account funded by taxpayers isn’t safe, then what is? The assumption we’d held dear for so long had crumbled.
Velocity Branding was one of the agencies that bid on this campaign— twice, because we’re just that nice — and while DDB winning the account caused a swarm of complaints around our office, we now see this “debacle” as a strong lesson for not just our agency, but for every agency in Manitoba. Advertising is a global commodity, and we need to learn how to compete on a global scale. If we don’t, the corner office may soon be a cubicle.
Creativity, not postal codes
If we’re judging strictly based on merit, DDB won the account fairly. Our industry isn’t based on who’s geographically closest, but who does the best work. DDB Canada has produced a staggering amount of innovative work over the years, even earning last year’s “Agency of the Year” award from Strategy for the second year in a row. DDB consistently pushes boundaries for their clients— just look at their excellent “Locals Know” campaign for the Canadian Tourism Commission— and it would have been a mistake for Travel Manitoba to dismiss DDB’s creative capital because of geography.
Clients should be concerned about how an agency’s work will create a return on investment. Travel Manitoba may be a Crown corporation, but its most important stakeholders aren’t advertising executives. It’s the people involved in Manitoba’s tourism industry— those whose livelihoods depend on a steady flow of tourists— that have the most at stake. Travel Manitoba saw an opportunity in DDB to deliver significant results for Manitoba’s tourism industry. Manitoba’s ad executives may have felt entitled to that opportunity, but that entitlement was baseless.
Tick tock, you’re on the clock
Many agencies in this province have been built on one thing: the billable hour. For years, creativity has been second place to how many ticks on the office clock. The final destination— that is, effective creative — has taken a back seat to how long it takes to get there. If Manitoba’s agencies aren’t willing to take on some of the risk involved in producing outstanding creative— basing our effectiveness not just on the hours worked but on the product delivered— how can we expect clients to believe in us?
Does DDB bill by the hour? Probably— there are very few major ad agencies that have a value-based compensation model (though clients like Coca-Cola have been slowly adopting the model; so has agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky). It’d also be foolish to think this isn’t the industry standard. But DDB’s campaigns for Volkswagen during the 50s and 60s— created on an incredibly limited budget by today’s standards— weren’t the result of billing out hours; they were the result of brilliant creative that no one else was producing.
It’s time, Manitoba
Will DDB’s “It’s Manitoba Time” be successful? It’s far too early to say; the only creative most of us have seen consists of preliminary sketches and a tagline. But even if it isn’t an effective campaign, even if it doesn’t bring in the number of tourists Travel Manitoba is hoping for, Manitoba’s advertising agencies have to realize that this is all besides the point.
As long as we continue to believe our worth is measured by hours instead of quality, larger agencies like DDB will continue to encroach on our “territory.” It’s up to Manitoba’s agencies to start taking risks that produce superior work so we can stop larger agencies from taking what is (apparently) ours. Because as we’ve seen, even “safe” accounts are no longer safe.
Could Velocity have done better a better job than DDB? It’s hard to tell. They say your first idea is always the worst, and we were probably on idea seven or eight by the time we delivered our first bid. But we have no doubt that DDB deserved the account. For years Velocity’s been moving toward a better agency model— one that sees equal value in output (creative) and input (hours). But getting there is a journey.
It’s time, Manitoba.
Judging by the abundance of exclamation marks, I must be wanting to leave the office!? This one’s from our handy intern, Rachel. (She did last week’s too!)
Like every year at Cocoon, our highlights are the outcome of projects that enable us to create more engaging brands – and our employees believing there’s always a better way.
Here’s a look at some of our most memorable moments from 2010.
During almost 40 years in business, Custom Castings built a strong and successful reputation locally for manufacturing high quality aluminum and zinc castings using the permanent mold process. But their brand identity did not reflect the internal culture and external perception earned by Custom Castings over their many years of experience. They came to Cocoon to revitalize and create a brand identity that could help them win new business, rally employees, and attract new talent. The solution builds off the equity in their symbol of a shield, since it shared a history with the company from the very beginning. The revitalized shield symbol provides a dynamic shape that echoes the two C’s of Custom Castings and integrates the mold and casting process used to create almost everything they produce. The rich, bold colour palette reflects the company’s pride and confidence, and pulls in a literal reference to the heat source used in the manufacturing of every casting. The new brand and its positioning have been widely accepted internally and the client is excited to see the new brand continue to rollout in 2011.
Free Santa (Kildonan Place) – Campaign Of The Year
Every mall has a Santa. But not every mall will let you visit him for free. Kildonan Place was offering free photos and videos with the big guy and Cocoon helped them make a big fuss about it so every parent in Winnipeg would know that it’s naughty to pay for it. This multifaceted campaign included a guerilla ‘protest’ near the mall in addition to outdoor billboards, bus benches, radio, PR, online video, social media integration and presence in the Santa Claus Parade. The result? Many smiling faces (and maybe a few classic screaming-toddler-in-Santa’s-lap photos). Many more candy canes were given out this year compared to previous years, representing an increase in traffic – thanks in part to some significant earned media on the 6 o’clock news. This campaign won the Signature Award for the Best Campaign of 2010.
Save The Potatoes (Potato Coalition of Manitoba)
This past summer, Cocoon was approached by a number of Manitoba potato farmers, farmers market organizers, restaurant and store owners, and other concerned citizens about a new law that threatened to put the province’s small potato farms out of business and compromise the local supply of potatoes available to purchase. We worked with the new coalition’s organizers to put together a campaign that included PR, a blog, and outdoor advertising. In just three weeks, the campaign helped create enough pressure to get the law changed in favour of Manitoba’s small potato farmers.
Canadian Sponsorship Forum
In March 2010, Cocoon travelled to Whistler to attend theCanadian Sponsorship Forum – on the heels of the Olympic Winter Games and integrated with the Paralympic Games. Cocoon had an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the world’s sponsorship activation thought leaders. In attendance were recognizable property and sponsor brands including the NHL, Scotiabank, Kraft, Virgin Mobile, Canadian Tire, and Visa. Cocoon is excited to attend this year’s conference – happening in Montreal in June 2011, integrated with an F1 race. If you’re interested in learning more about maximizing your sponsorship dollars, this is great event to mark on your calendar.
Scotiabank – CFL Grey Cup in Edmonton
Scotiabank is a proud sponsor of the Grey Cup, and Cocoon is proud to work with them each year to help activate their sponsorship. Many event sponsors do little more than wallpaper their logo wherever they are allowed to, but Cocoon has worked with Scotiabank to maximize the value of their sponsorship, by incorporating creative ideas that make the brand more engaging, more memorable, impactful, and buzzworthy. Some of the activations integrate with television broadcasts to maximize related sponsorships or create photo opportunities for fans – ending up in their own photo albums that are shared online.
Oi Furniture – Top 100 Package Designs For 2010
Oi is a furniture system that fits in a 30” x 30” box – a pretty unique selling feature – so its box needed to be something special and reflect the product’s quirky style. Cocoon wanted new Oi Furniture owners to get to know their furniture better through the packaging, so the box was designed to be full of interactive messages (that also emphasize key product benefits). This unique packaging was named one of the Top 100 Package Designs of 2010 by TheDieline.com, the world’s largest packaging website.
Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones. While developing the brand and package design with Gorp – creators of an all-natural clean energy bar – Cocoon realized that many people eat part of an energy bar before an activity and save the rest for later. But traditional packages aren’t designed for this type of split use. Cocoon developed a simple resealable sticker system that lets consumers save part of the bar for later – without having to clean pieces of it out of the bottom of their gym bag. Cocoon is excited for the complete rollout of this new brand in 2011.
Applied Arts Magazine – Awards Winners
Cocoon’s work for both Oi and Gorp was recognized by Applied Arts Magazine’s Design Awards.
Oi Furniture is an example of how innovation can spark an idea into something bigger than the initial project scope. Originally, the brand and design prototype for Oi Furniture was intended to promote Cocoon’s brand-centered product design capabilities. Oi Furniture took on a life of its own, having a preview in-market at the Vancouver Winter Games and then it was officially launched at ICFF in New York (May 2010), followed by Neocon in Chicago (June 2010). Oi has received praise from interior designers, architects, and editors from countries around the world and has been covered by local media – including the Winnipeg Free Press and Manitoba Focus, the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce publication – and international media including Western Living, Elle Decor, Playboy, and popular design blogs like Apartment Therapy. In December 2010, WIRED Magazine featured Oi in their WIRED Store in New York and online. Learn more about Oi Furniture atilikeoi.com or on Twitter or Facebook.
This week’s wallpaper, courtesy of our newly-minted intern Rachel, is a modern-day version of the cover for GnR’s 1993 release “The Spaghetti Incident?”
OK, that’s not exactly correct; I just wanted to write about GnR— it’s Friday. Anyway, enjoy. Rachel will be here for four months-ish, so look for more awesome stuff!
Pick a size:
Wednesday – January 5, 2011
Today we kicked off a Rebrand Project with the 3rd year graphic design students at Red River College.