News & Views

Susan Bonds / Interview

by Contagious Team

Contagious speaks to Susan Bonds, co-founder of 42 Entertainment and Cannes Cyber Lions juror, about the category

The two Cyber Grand Prix winners this year (Intel - The Beauty Inside and Oreo - Daily Twist) were both content-rich, social pieces. Did the best work you saw fit into this trend of creating longer interactive projects, rather than one-off campaigns? 

People are getting more grown up in the digital age and they realise that the relationship with the consumer - even though they might want to start and stop campaigns - is pretty much an ongoing thing. With the advent of social networks and feedback loops, it's more advantageous for brands to think with a long term view. What's the conversation that I want to start? Brands need to try to strike a tone with consumers that's playful, relevant and fun. Skittles did an amazing job with that [see Contagious case study, below]. 

In terms of creating more added value, there's no greater example than Nike. They're putting their consumers in an ecosystem where the lines are blurred and they're adding value to their lives on a constant daily basis where they're surrounded by the world of Nike. Nike+ Kinect [a Cyber Gold winner] was a great addition. 

What other trends or ideas impressed you in the Cyber work you judged this year? 

It's great to see brands investing in things that have a high entertainment value, such as storytelling, and the quality of that is just amazing. There were a lot of things that were just beautiful and experiential, such as the Geox site and Lincoln's Hello Again. So it's exciting to see what we were talking about five years ago - the pull of entertainment, the idea of building a two-way conversation and investing in that - paying off for brands. 

We've always really respected the audience, and thought that they're smart and savvy. The whole idea of what you can use the web for in terms of immersive storytelling has been strongly led out of entertainment and that was really to reach the marketing-averse. 

You had a lot of work to cover in the Cyber category, which spanned the whole context of 'online' work, but that must have made it hard to compare one piece with another. How did you deal with that? 

We had quite a bit of discussion about if banners belong, and what are the new categories? There was discussion around whether we need to restructure the categories, especially for the Grand Prix. It felt like we needed to think through those because there were a lot of Golds that were deserving in themselves. Dumb Ways to Die is very shareable and viral - we gave it five Golds. It's well-crafted and we all had a great reaction to it. But then you look for things that are risk-taking. 

In terms of work using social platforms, besides Oreo, what else impressed you? 

McDonald's Our Food, Your Questions, was brave to go out to consumers and tackle their questions and be transparent in their answers. They were asked a question about why the food in the pictures looks different from the food that you get, so they had one of their marketing reps go into McDonald's, buy a burger, walk into the studio where they were doing the photoshoot and explained how they're trying to show all the ingredients that are in a burger - something consumers wouldn't necessarily consider. It's just a really smart campaign. 

There was a great video called The Truth where Bodyform addressed a question from social media with a video response. It was both well scripted and produced and it was funny. Looking at the immediacy of Twitter, everyone talks about the Oreo tweet, but there was another tweet by Smart Car, where they took a negative tweet about their car frame and did such a graphic, thorough and pithy response that it just turned it into a huge positive for them. 

Those are the things that you're seeing smart people doing, who are really aware of their own conversation and its tone and what it is that they're trying to express.

Contagious Skittles Case Study