I was very happy to see the Nike/Apple running site done by R/GA win big at Cannes. It's a great idea because it actually provides the consumer with something of value that they can't get elsewhere on the web. The much ballyhooed "community-building" aspects are nice, but I suspect to the average user the best part of the site is that it's actually something they want to use. That's something most advertisers seem oblivious to. They're constantly creating sites that are either useless or that duplicate something available elsewhere in a more inviting format (which makes them doubly useless.) Because as with their advertising, they start off with "what do I want to say" rather than "what does my customer want to hear?" (On the web that translates into "what do I want to build" vs. "what might my customers like to have.")
What's interesting about the site is that it's something the client might have thought up themselves- it's a marketing idea as much as an advertising idea. So the fact that they are turning to agencies for ideas like that is a sign of our potential future value.
And now for the other side. The Tide campaign from Saatchi. Which won P&G it's first gold lion. It's a very clever campaign, unique idea, doesn't need words, nicely art directed. So what's my problem with it? Well, I just don't think most people are going to take the time necessary to get it. It's laundry detergent, a very low interest category. And you have to study the ads for a bit to actually get them. (The one above, for instance, if a mob of white-ish robots surrounding a smaller group of black-ish robots. I think.) Otherwise they look like a blow-up of fabric. And I suspect most people will leave it at that: blown up fabric with ketchup trapped inside. Got it.
It's the same problem I have with a lot of visual campaigns- the one for Bic with the inifinity symbol comes to mind. When you get it, there's a big "ah-ha." But most people won't be bothered to get it because most people actually try and avoid advertising. Now I'm sure the agencies argue that when people do figure it out, they tell their friends and it goes the offline equivalent of viral. But somehow I don't see that happening with a Tide ad.