How the world’s most boring brief won triple gold – live from Cannes Lions

Even your humble email marketing program has potential, writes Rob Morrison, creative director of OgilvyOne Sydney.

Last year I was on a presentation panel talking to young marketers and advertisers. At the end of the session the MC threw the floor open to questions and a young lady asked; “I’m working on an email loyalty program and it’s really boring. What should I do?”

My reply was; “There’s opportunity in everything. Make it the best damn loyalty program you can.”

I was shouted down. Others on the panel thought I was delusional. The quote thrown which stayed with me is: “I hate it when Creative Directors say that, it’s not true.”

Well now I have Cannes as proof that it is true.

One of my fist-pumping moments in the judging room this week was awarding a Cannes Gold Lion to a subscription form.

No, that’s not a typo.

A subscription form won the biggest gong on the planet. In fact, it went on to win three Lions in total.

It was for the French cable TV company, Canal+. Their subscription form used to look like everyone else’s – perhaps even yours. White text boxes. Option buttons. Credit card details. ‘I’ve read the terms and conditions’ check box. Submit button.

But look what happens when the brief to re-do it is given to a creative team with the right attitude.

The idea? As an entertainment brand, their form needed to be entertaining.

So they filmed two of their on-screen stars (think French Kath & Kim) looking direct to camera and box-by-box walked you through the online form. Capturing the information. Making jokes at what you put in the ‘Name’ field. It was funny. It was playful. It was perfectly aligned with the brand. And it killed their ‘abandon form’ rates.

Best of all, it closed the loop on the customer journey. Now every single touch-point is a brand experience.

Of course the lesson here is pretty simple. If you own and control a brand, look beyond the obvious moments to give your customer a smart or funny or intriguing experience. Is there an opportunity lurking in your terms and conditions? Or is there a human way to do a mandatory mailing? What about your hashtags?

Even your humble email marketing program has potential. And if, by chance the girl who asked the original question gets to read this, I stand by my answer; “There is opportunity in everything.”

Rob Morrison
BY Rob Morrison ON 25 June 2015
Rob Morrison is creative director of OgilvyOne.
  • Graham Robertson

    Your title is wrong.

  • well done, great story, prime example of never give up hope and the truth of creativity about operating inside the box – constrained and critical thinking.