As the industry navel gazing and back patting that marks 2011’s advertising awards season approaches full force, the digital zeitgeist appears to increasingly favor creative work that blurs the line between entertainment and marketing.
“[Advertising] is all about not just these sort of discrete campaigns, but it’s all about how all these different things touch each other–the way that advertisers are trying to earn consumers’ attention by creating great content and having great writing and using celebrities and social media to get it out there,” said David-Michel Davies, executive director of the Webby Awards, which announced Tuesday its nominations for a range of online categories – including 90 in interactive advertising.
The industry’s been trending in that direction since about 2004, Davies said. “When I look at this set of nominees it’s very obvious that’s where things are going," he said.
Rei Inamoto, chief creative officer at digital shop AKQA and one of the judges who'll ultimately decide which ads win, also suggested that the best creative reaches beyond advertising traditionally conceived. "Whenever I look at the work nominated at Webby Awards, the first thing I look for is how it can influence our culture at large," he said. "Webby does a good job of not being siloed into the small industry of ours, and the work does reflect that nature."
Indeed, the top nods were no-brainer examples. W+K’s Old Spice campaign, which tapped social media to crank out a flurry of personalized messages from former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa, earned three nominations in the interactive advertising category.
Davies praised it as “one of the most entertaining things on the Internet this last year, forget that it was actually advertising.” Also honored three times in the category: French agency Buzzman’s write-your-own bear-and-hunter adventure video for Tipp-Ex whiteout. (In keeping with its penchant for the bizarre, the shop recently released a spot for BIC razors, starring a fully shaven human puck sliding across the ice in a curling competition, and paired with a game. It’s also been accused of spamming comments sections on articles about its prior work to pump up exposure of its latest campaign.)
Goodby Silverstein & Partners landed the most nominations for an agency–10 across all categories (not just interactive). RG/A was a close runner-up at nine. Ogilvy and Wieden + Kenendy tied for third with eight each.