Grey Promo, Case study FAMOUSILY EFFECTIVE CANNES BANNER by Grey New York

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FAMOUSILY EFFECTIVE CANNES BANNER

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Industry Advertising agencies, Business equipment & services
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Grey New York
Producer Sophia Pellicoro
Editor Alex Cohan @ Grey
Released June 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Corporate Communication
Advertiser: GREY NY
Product/Service: GREY NY
Agency: GREY NEW YORK
President/Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren (Grey NY)
Executive Producer: Bennett Mccarroll (Grey NY)
Assistant Creative Director/Copywriter: Mike Lichter (Grey NY)
Producer: Sophia Pellicoro (Grey NY)
Editor: Alex Cohan (Grey NY)
Graphics: Tyler Sparks (Grey NY)
Vision Producer: Michaela Moriarty (Grey NY)
Voice Over: Bennett Mccarroll (Grey NY)
Media placement: Live Event - Cannes 2011 - 24 June 2011

Summary of the Campaign
Nothing excites the ad industry like another agency’s screw up. So when a big global player hired a plane to buzz its party at Cannes, trailing a banner with an inadvertently misspelled tagline, the twitterverse and blogosphere exploded with tweets and pictures of the mistake.

The agency was at the mercy of social media. So rather than fight it, they added fuel to the fire. Within hours, a fictitious administrative assistant, complete with fake Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, was created to take the fall in a leaked internal memo. The agency bought the misspelled key word, driving people to its website that now featured the misspelled word and its Cannes wins. Memes featuring the word were added to the ones already in the blogosphere. The blitz ended with a repeat flyover of the misspelled banner as everyone gathered at the Palais for the final gala.

The social media tone shifted from ugly to puzzled to congratulatory, and within 3 days the program generated 300,000 tweets, 130,000 Twitter pictures and nearly 1m media impressions.

By owning the error and using their knowledge of human nature and social media to their advantage, the agency neutralised a potential disaster and turned it into a positive. Within the industry and, more important, inside its own walls, the agency demonstrated that not only can it take a joke, but it also has the strategic and creative fire-power to stand up for itself against internet bullies, and win.

The Situation
This is likely the most meta submission this year and possibly ever. Normally, a set-up would be required explaining how Cannes is the most important event of the year with all eyes of the industry upon it. But you judges already know that.

So:
A global advertising agency hired a plane to buzz its party at Cannes trailing a banner displaying its tagline, and a major typo. Within moments, social media buzzed with tweets and pictures of the mistake, turning what was to be a proud and dramatic moment of glory into a rapidly unfolding PR disaster.

The Goal
Nothing excites ad industry colleagues like another agency’s screw-up, and this one was “the mother of all screw-ups”, according to 1 blogger who was not entirely wrong. The agency was at the mercy of their social media posts. Any attempt to control what was clearly out of its control the moment the plane took off would only inspire more abuse.

The conversation would continue, with or without the agency’s input. The goal was to turn the tenor of the very negative conversation within the industry press and social media in a more positive direction.

The Strategy
Though it was tempting to ignore the mistake and even more tempting to say it wasn’t a mistake at all but an intentional stunt to get people talking, the agency took a third tack and owned up to it. It couldn’t get any worse, so the agency made the decision to see how it all played out in what would be the ultimate social media experiment.

As soon as the first tweets appeared, they were re-tweeted without comment as the agency prepared to add major fuel to this already blazing fire.

Execution
Within hours, a complete program was deployed. The agency:

• Created a fictitious administrative assistant, complete with fake Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, to take the fall and leaked an internal memo identifying her as the culprit. (Her name, Holly Eve Dewares is an anagram of another famous pawn, Lee Harvey Oswald.)
• Bought the misspelled key word which drove people to the agency website, now featuring the infamous misspelled tagline and a list of the 18 Lions the agency would win by week’s end.
• Altered its Wikipedia page to include the misspelling
• Added the misspelled word to urbandictionary.com
• Sent the mistake to 'FAILblog'
• Added to memes already created with some of its own

The blitz ended with a repeat flyover of the misspelled banner as everyone gathered at the Palais for the final gala.

Documented Results
It wasn’t long before the climate began to turn, with the social media tone swiftly shifting from ugly to puzzled to congratulatory.

Within 3 days the program generated:

• 300,000 tweets
• 130,000 Twitter pictures of our tag
• Nearly 1m media impressions
• And zero media dollars

By owning the error and using their knowledge of human nature and social media to their advantage, the agency neutralised a potential disaster and turned it into a positive. Within the industry and, more important, inside its own walls, the agency demonstrated that not only can it take a joke, it has the strategic and creative fire-power to stand up for itself against internet bullies, and win.