Ad Agency Wins Top PR Prize at Cannes | Special: Cannes – Advertising Age

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne Takes Grand Prix for National Bank of Australia Campaign

What it is: National Australia Bank is one of Australia’s four big consumer banks and it wanted to differentiate itself from the other three, as big banking had gotten a bad rap in the recent economic meltdown. So it staged a public “break up” with the other three through a 24-hour PR blitz. The blitz actually kicked off a few days early with a tweet meant to look accidental, suggesting that NAB was “stressed” and weighing an important decision.

Jury president: Dave Senay, president-CEO, Fleishman-Hillard.

Why it won: This campaign did superb job of positioning its concept as a bank while de-positioning its competition, said Mr. Senay. He also praised the sophisticated use of Twitter to launch the product, playing on the often inadvertently embarrassing and accidental nature of that social-media channel. “The first reaction of that tweet by the competition was ‘Oh goody,’ Mr. Senay said. “It happened on a Friday and percolated over the weekend, then on Monday came this huge offensive move to declare a breakup. ‘Dear other banks, I’m very sorry to tell you we are going to break up.’”

He described the campaign as “sort of like a conceptual jujitsu. Take the power of the competition and use it against them.” The jury also appreciated the integrated aspect of the campaign, which involved paid media, earned media, shared media and owned media.

Controversy or clear winner? Not so clear cut — it took two rounds of voting to settle the Grand Prix winner. Adding to potential controversy, this is the second year in a row that a traditional full-service ad agency won the PR Grand Prix — last year TBWA won for Gatorade’s “Replay.” When asked about that two-year trend, Mr. Senay said the jury went into the competition with the belief that “excellence and creativity in public relations doesn’t have an address. We’re in an era where the labels matter less and less.” Still, he said, this may serve as a wake-up call to the PR industry. “There’s a certain amount of isolationism in our industry,” he said and the winners will be the ones, no matter what their label, who “reach across the disciplines and grasp hands.”

Total number of Lions awarded: Of the 819 entries — up more than 40% from last year — 39 were awarded Lions. This is the third year Cannes has offered the PR Lion.

Who else did well: Several other campaigns were praised during the press conference. Christopher Graves, CEO of Ogilvy Public Relations, praised work that had distinctive results, such as “Shine a Light on Opportunity” for Durand Academy by Political Lobbying & Media Relations (PLMR), London.

Richard Millar, CEO of Hill & Knowlton, London, praised ideas rooted in a brand story or truth, such as Gold Lion winner “Tram a Benz” from Jung von Matt, Hamburg, Germany. The client was Mercedes-Benz and the agency organized a campaign in which a man hitchhiked across Europe by only getting into Mercedes-Benz vehicles and telling the stories of their drivers. “It supported the brand proposition of ‘the best or nothing,’” Mr. Millar said.

And Karl-Heinz Heuser, CEO of Burson-Marsteller, Frankfurt, Germany, talked of a strong crisis-communication entry, “The New Voice of Aflac Duck” from Kaplan Thaler Group, which won a Bronze. “We had discussions of whether crisis could be solved by a piece of humor and ultimately we decided, yes,” he said. “Maybe something we’ve learned from the advertising industry.”

What they didn’t like: “We saw far too many entries that begin and end in the results section with publicity and ad value, as if that was it,” Mr. Senay told the media during the press conference this morning. “That’s the lowest-common denominator among all awards here.” He then unfolded a giant piece of paper on which the jury had drawn a pyramid. At the top was behavior change, which he said was the most important effect of a campaign. In the middle were attitude and belief change through some form of engagement. At the bottom were the words awareness and publicity, which were important, but can’t be the ultimate end goal. “I’d like to see more of [behavior change], in terms of bottom line of results,” Mr. Senay said.

Looking to next year: Watch for more entries from corporate categories, after a plea from the jury. “Entries from corporate categories, which are the bread and butter of many PR firms, were weak,” Mr. Senay said. “Public affairs, crisis issues … I know there’s better work out there, I’ve seen it in other competitions, regional competitions, but you have to enter to win.”

via Ad Agency Wins Top PR Prize at Cannes | Special: Cannes – Advertising Age.


Clemenger BBDO Melbourne wins Cannes PR Grand Prix with Break Up campaign – Campaign Asia-Pacific

CANNES – Clemenger BBDO Melbourne has clinched Australia’s first Grand Prix at the 2011 Cannes Lions in the PR category with its ‘Break up’ campaign for the National Australia Bank.

The campaign also won a Silver PR Lion for the same campaign for ‘Best use of Media Relations’.


Australians have always believed their 4 biggest banks, Commonwealth, Westpac, ANZ and National Australia Bank (NAB) work together fixing fees and eliminating competition. The reality however is the opposite. NAB had in fact spent two years making dramatic changes, abolishing fees and lowering interest rates, all to be considered fairer and more competitive by customers. But due to this perception of being ‘together’, people had almost refused to notice. Instead of fighting this perception of the banks being ‘together’, we instead decided to embrace it by letting the public witness NAB break up with the other banks.

Consumer research had told us again and again how much people disliked and distrusted the four big banks. More specifically why – they were annoyed how the big banks pretended to be competing when they were in fact in bed together trying to make a profit. Regardless of the truth, the perception of big bank collusion was clearly deeply imbedded in their minds. So much so, we knew our goal had to be: Overcome this perception barrier, so the public would finally acknowledge the two years of change NAB had undergone to become more fair and competitive

Every moment of the break up was orchestrated to be both shareable through social media, as well as a potential news grab for the media. It began with the bank posting a simple tweet about ‘hurting feelings’ that everyone immediately assumed was a mistake and therefore spread, starting huge online chatter about NAB. Next a very personal break up letter to the other banks appeared in every major Australian newspaper, while simultaneously online, people discovered 60 films of NAB bankers breaking up with the other banks nationwide. Both immediately generated enormous news coverage. Soon the media was struggling to keep up, as NAB then ambushed the other banks with break up messages on the streets and in the sky. As the media story exploded as planned using all our created content, it made people visit an online ‘break up blog’ that let them finally discover all of NAB’s changes.

In a single day the public’s perception of the bank was absolutely transformed. By actively harnessing the Australian media across multiple channels simultaneously, NAB’s changes were given an immediate credibility traditional advertising simply could not deliver. People now see the bank as not only different, more fair and competitive – but also much more relatable and human. The break up itself generated US$5 million of earned PR media in a single day. It was the most discussed topic on Twitter in the country. Positive online posts about NAB have increased 320 per cent. While the original objective was a 15 per cent lift in loan and credit card enquiries, since the break up there has in fact been a 79 per cent increase week on week in NAB home loan enquiries. A 50 per cent increase week on week in NAB credit card applications and finally – a 20 per cent increase week on week new transaction accounts being opened.


Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
Chairman James McGrath
Executive Creative Director Ant Keogh
Creatives Juliain Schreiber , Tom Martin, Rohan Lancaster, Darren Pitt
Executive Agency Producer Sonia Von Bibra
Print Agency Producer Sharon Adams
Account Management Team Simon Lamplough, Tim McColl Jones, Kelly Richardson, Kate McCarthy, Tanya Garma
Planning & insights Director Paul Rees Jones
Digital Production Eaon Pritchard, Sasha Cunningham

Other companies
Director The Glue Society
DOP/Cinematographer Danny Ruhlmann plus 63 x field DP’s
Executive Producer Michael Ritchie – Revolver
Head of Projects Josh Mullens, Ian Iveson – Will O’Rourke
Production Company Will O’Rourke

via Clemenger BBDO Melbourne wins Cannes PR Grand Prix with Break Up campaign – The Work – Advertising – Campaign Asia-Pacific.


How Apple’s Reputation Survives Jobs’ PR Faux Pas – Ad Age

Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ latest round of off-the-cuff communications raises some great questions for communicators. Chief among them: If a CEO screws up but no one seems to care, does that have any effect on the company’s reputation?

Jobs coolly brushed aside concerns over revelations of Apple collecting iPhone and iPad users’ location data. Many say that approach works only if your company is the most valuable brand in the world, which Apple happens to be, with a brand value of $153 billion, according to BrandZ.

For the rest of us, however, there are key lessons to be learned from Apple’s bizarrely successful style of communications.

Apple has largely eschewed the decade-long push for companies to communicate every second of every day with their customers. Not only that, it is often secretive and does little to temper media reports and wild speculation over forthcoming product launches.

Yet it remains widely successful. Doesn’t this fly in the face of all communications counsel?

Most brands are committed to engaging customers across a variety of communications channels. From Tweets, Facebook updates and email messages, we’re bombarded with communications from our favorite and not-so-favorite brands, whether we like it or not.

Apple, on the other hand, hasn’t given in to the peer pressure to do the same. Why should it?

Of course, this hasn’t always worked out in the company’s favor. And examples abound of Jobs’ predilection for handling PR issues himself getting the company into hot water.

From telling a college student who was seeking insight for a paper to “please, leave us alone” to threatening a multitude of lawsuits against tech blog Gizmodo after it published photos and a review of an iPhone 4G prototype in 2010, Jobs comes across as an egotistical entrepreneur concerned only with the success of his company’s products.

He is not much different than the average entrepreneur, one might think. But it’s this distinctly anti-PR stance that oddly works in Apple’s favor. And, let me add, only works in Apple’s favor.

That is because Jobs’ dismissive attitude stands in sharp contrast with the average customer’s experience with Apple. Anyone who has been to an Apple store and experienced its phenomenal customer service knows that the employees, who are a huge part of the company, care deeply about its reputation. Its employees embody the modern notion of brand ambassadors.

There are two key lessons we can take from Apple’s point/counterpoint style of public relations.

For one, we shouldn’t be so quick to prescribe one-size-fits-all marketing or public relations strategies. In an increasingly global business landscape, what works best for a company in one market rarely translates well when taken outside the friendly confines of home.

Jobs surely understands this, which is why he has built Apple into a customer-service-centric powerhouse, chock full of employees who are well versed in the one universal communication principle people all over the world understand: empathy.

Walk into any Apple store and you immediately feel welcomed, not overwhelmed with sales people looking to make a quick commission, but a knowledgeable workforce which lives and breathes the company. The kind of true brand ambassador money rarely can buy.

Secondly, Apple’s employees demonstrate that the success of a company, even at the point-of-sale level, extends to how well it relates to its public — a business’ literal “public relations.” Furthermore, the company’s five-fold increase in share price since 2006 adds credence to the growing belief among researchers that reputation and trust have a direct impact on profitability.

But that doesn’t atone for the fact that Jobs’ documented communications with customers remains the antithesis of what many consider good public relations.

Apple should consider itself lucky that its external-facing employees have so fervently bought into and embraced open and earnest communications with customers. Just imagine if Steve Jobs was the guy who greeted you the next time you walked into an Apple store with a complaint.

Jobs’ flippant communications style may not adversely affect Apple’s reputation or brand value, but a front-of-store employee telling a customer to “Please, leave us alone” surely would.

via How Apple’s Reputation Survives Jobs’ PR Faux Pas | Guest Columnists – Advertising Age.