Thursday, March 30, 2006

L.A. Online Advertising Creative Review

Went to the OMMA "Online Advertising Creative Review" last Tues. night, held at the Universal City Hilton in the pouring rain, and it was... interesting. A little of what I expected and a little of what I didn't.

My first observation is how far interactive has come in showing their work in montages. I don't think I've seen so many flashing images of websites and online ads in a span of an hour ever. Well done... well, kind of. I mean, does 134 0.5 second snippets of interactive work really convey what interactive can bring to the marketing party? Not really, but I guess the point was to make it sexy and it did, so I'll just shut up now.

So, since I don't have too much time and because I was advised by my trusted colleague to write blogs "like rain" here are a few of my favorites of the night:

  • TEQUILA\: I have to give props to my former colleagues at TEQUILA\ for the expansive experience that they created for the video game, Shadow of the Collosus (this link is not the experience, btw). They created an expansive network of sites, even with foreign domains, that document the existence of giants that roamed the earth way back when. They created video clips of foreign news reports, "scientific" footage of archeologists in the arctic uncovering huge remains and linked them all together through blogs. Very reminicent of the effort created for the movie A.I. a while back, but this effort was impressive. Most impressive were the results. They received millions of posts from gamers comparing the storylines and the artist-renderings to the characters in the game. Even if they knew that the effort was a hoax, they appreciated it, some even creating fan blogs to discuss it.
  • Exopolis: Exopolis, who I had never heard of before that night, showed a great montage of their work, although maybe it being only the second of the night, I was easily impressed. Anyway, they had a few pretty cool examples of creative work. I can't remember the others, but I do remember the Hitachi example. I thought it was a great piece of animation work and it merged well with the photography that was also included. As I navigated through the piece for myself, after the show, however, it was a little too one-way and took a while for the animations to complete. Anyway, good eye candy stuff. You should check it out when you have some time.
  • Red: Although somewhat basic compared to much of the work shown, Red's units for Americas' Next Top Model and some cheerleader show were pretty good as far as basic units go. If I were looking for a shop to outsource to (since that's where it seems to get most of its business), I'd definitely look them up. In fact, I am in such a situation and did try to look them up. Do you know how difficult it is to find a company named "Red"? Excrutiating. If I had been a normal Joe, I would've given up after my first 10 failed tries. I ended up finding them via paid search on some term I can't even remember. Their URL ended up being the hex code for red. Go figure.
  • Basement: Basement's president Doug Schumacher talked about their effort in doing creative testing for Sugarshots, a liquid sugar. Although I had read the case study in iMedia Connection, I still found it interesting. But I'm an interactive marketing strategy guy, not a creative, nor a client. Although I'm still very impressed with the case study (and the extent of the effort that went into it), I think it was a little too much of a departure for many of the audience, which seemed to be aching for another montage video. Too bad, it's good stuff. I encourage you to read about it and try your own such testing.
  • Tribal DDB: I just mention these guys because their presentation was horrible. The first 10 minutes were a commercial for them, touting all their awards and how great they are and what value they bring, etc, etc. They finally get to the creative, a unit for Aquafina and the video sticks. Yes, that's the Internet and that's why online video's going to suck for a while. Anyway, no props for them.
  • RPA: The best piece RPA (I guess they were formerly RPI and are now integrated back?) showed was their soon-to-be-released house website. It took a timeline approach and made it 3-D, tracing from present day all the way back to the founding of the agency. What was cool though, was that apparently every person who works there and when they started are logged in that timeline and they show up on the timeline. They joked that they check the website first thing in the morning to see if their picture is there to make sure they still have a job. The other cool thing was that according to them, every piece of work the agency ever did was on that site, be it TV commercial or print work. Now, I doubt that that's true, but even if most of their work is on there, it's bound to be a great piece of work and I can't wait until it's live. The other piece they showed was their Element and Friends website. I don't know about you, but I think this is good work. Not really the website, in which you drive an Element around an island in almost a video game-like experience, but the interchanges between the Element and their animal friends. If you haven't heard or seen the ads, check out the site. They're good and they effectively tell stories about how to think of the Element and how it can be used.
  • Zugara: C'mon guys, a powerpoint for this crowd? They showed a bunch of screenshots, for goodness sake. Then the one example they do show, they choked on, not being able to enter some code for a Jelly Belly sweeps or something. I know they do some great work for PlayStation, so I don't mind calling them out on this. They need to take these things seriously.
Anyway, it was a good night for L.A. creative overall. Although it was somewhat painful to drive to Universal City in the pouring rain and sit through the montages, I'm glad I went. We can be proud of the creative coming out of this city.

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