Not all newsrooms are dying off. Along Madison Avenue, the concept of the brand newsroom has ascended to the center of many social marketing strategies. And now it’s won Mondelez’s Oreo brand and agencies 360i and Draftfcb a Blue Award, the top honor in Facebook’s second annual Studio Awards.
“The Blue Award is a way of showing a piece of work independent of whether it was just good. Did it tip the direction in what they’re doing?” said Mark D’Arcy, director of global creative solutions at Facebook.
360i and Draftfcb drew much attention on Facebook (more than 1.3 million likes, comments and shares) and in the press (more than 2,600 articles) for the hundred-day “Oreo Daily Twist” campaign that began with posted image of a rainbow Oreo to celebrate gay pride and ended with a live campaign production conducted for all Times Square to see. And for all the industry to see what a brand newsroom looks like.
“If you orchestrate around creative and content … and design the marketing structure in keeping pace with the way the world works, it’s a far more in-tune, dynamic, exciting media relationship and far better [positions] that brand to do better at everything,” said Facebook’s director of global creative solutions and member of the 14-person Studio Awards judging panel Mark D’Arcy. He called the campaign “the most high-profile example…of putting a newsroom environment at the heart of a brand’s thinking.”
Fellow judge Rob Feakins, chief creative officer and president at Publicis Kaplan Thaler, credited the Oreo/360i/Draftfcb newsroom for the brand’s ability to notch more than 60,000 shares. “Yeah, it’s a brilliant piece of creative and [gay rights] was a hot topic during that time. But it’s a cookie. That’s cultural timing meets really smart creative,” he said.
However being able to time creative to culture is tricky. Brands like Kenneth Cole have been burned by wading into too-hot waters, and many marketers must navigate labyrinths of legal approval before publishing to their social channels. “You can’t have a conversation [with your social community] if you have to go through legal approval every time you talk to them,” said 360i president Sarah Hofstetter, whose team sat down with Oreo and Draftfcb before the campaign to hash out guidelines. “A combination of agency partners, brand stakeholders and legal agreed on a couple different directions to develop the image and copy,” she said.
“Our metaphor was operating like a newsroom, having qualities like a media company by constantly publishing, looking for different angles, holding edit meetings,” said Hofstetter, a former New York Times Company employee.
Oreo’s campaign signals a larger trend apparent among the 37 Studio Awards finalists of brands’ Facebook strategies pivoting toward publishing. “Very clearly the trend from last year was from people doing one-off apps to use social technology to do something cool to now how to use that to create a story that deepens,” D’Arcy said.
While Facebook’s Creative Council members appraised campaigns according to criteria such as what aspects of the Facebook platform it incorporated and how deeply, did it scale and how did it drive business metrics (which D’Arcy called “arguably the most important” criterion), they were looking for something less clearly defined and in keeping with Facebook’s wishes for brands to function as friends on its platform.
“Whenever you go out to [meet with] Facebook, their favorite phrase is light interaction,” Feakins said, who harped on the importance of a brand’s social voice (Hofstetter described Oreo’s as “witty culturephile”). “It’s not about apps and complexity, but are you just present, continuing the conversation and making the conversation interesting. That’s why we relate to friends anyway. They’re interesting, funny and we want to be around them. I think that for me was the ultimate goal versus complexity and technological innovation, though there were tons of great stuff on that as well.”
Assuming Facebook runs the Studio Awards next year—D’Arcy suggested it will—more recognition may be doled out. D’Arcy is considering the possibility of awarding campaigns in specific categories such as media strategy, targeting and in-store promotions. “People are using the platform in so many different ways. We want to make sure we’re celebrating the right things in the right way,” he said.
Here are this year's gold, silver and bronze award winners:
AT&T and BBDO for “You’ve Got a Case”
Graubunden Tourism and Jung von Matt/Limmat for “A Little Village Goes Global”
Allstate and Leo Burnett for “Mayhem 2012”
Nike and AKQA for “Nike Academy”
Turner Network Television for “Dallas on TNT”
Frito-Lay and OMD/Energy BBDO for “Do Us a Flavor”
Grey Poupon and Crispin Porter+Bogusky for “Society of Good Taste”
Intel/Toshiba and Pereira & O’Dell for “The Beauty Inside”
Universal Studio for “Ted Facebook Page”
Ford Motor Company and Team Detroit for “2012 Mustang Customizer”
AirAsia Australia and Publicis Mojo for “AirAsia Friendsy”
Adam Tensta and R/GA for “One Copy Song”
Heineken and Droga5 for “No Bollocks”
Heineken Nederland and TBWA\NEBOKO for “Heineken Squad Numbers”
AkzoNobel and Reason Partners for “Paint Chip Names for Men”
Nike and R/GA for “1thology”
Parmalat and The Monkeys for “Reverse Robberies”
P&G and Wieden+Kennedy for “Proud Sponsor of Mom”
And below is the list of this year's judges:
Mark D’Arcy, director of global creative solutions at Facebook
Rob Feakins, chief creative officer and president at Publicis Kaplan Thaler
Toshiya Fukuda, founder, CEO and creative director at 777 Interactive
Rob Reilly, partner and worldwide chief creative officer at Cripsin Porter+Bogusky
Michael Lazerow, CMO at Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Colleen DeCourcy, global co-executive chief creativer officer at Wieden+Kennedy
Rob Baird, global creative at Mother
Ari Halper, executive creative director at R/GA New York
Nils Dohrin, executive creative director at Jung Von Mat
Christine Yu, executive creative director at Red Urban
Duan Evans, co-executive creative director at AKQA
Nuno Ferreira, executive digital director at Leo Burnett
Jeff Benjamin, chief creative officer at JWT