News & Views

What Do They Want? Everything. When Do They Want It? Now.

by Contagious Contributor

Nicolas Roope, Jury Chairman, takes us through the trends and ideas that came to the fore through the winning work at this years' Lovie Awards

From hailing taxis to making restaurant reservations to getting groceries delivered, there are precious few things one can’t summon on-demand from an app these days.

The rise of high-tech service companies in Europe is a trend we’ve spotted here at The Lovie Awards, both in the winner rolls and in our daily lives. That’s why we picked ‘At Your Service’ as the theme for this year’s Lovie Talks tour, in which we visit progressive European companies working in digital to share unique insights into emerging digital phenomena.

‘At Your Service’ isn’t just about the dedicated apps (think Hailo, Jinn, Airbnb and Ocado) that are making things easier for consumers. Existing brands – including those that are not technically “Internet companies” – have caught on to the fact that consumers really value quick, light, seamless, service experiences. The broader community has really woken up to the fact that good experience is good business. As a result, established companies throughout Europe and beyond have been hustling to keep up by hot-housing new offerings that meet these new consumer expectations (including the needs they never knew they had). And the more we at The Lovie Awards have looked into this trend, the more we’ve realised the major implications this has for businesses and consumers alike.

A great example is this year’s Try My Hybrid, a 2014 Lovie Winner for Best Social Media Campaign (Silver). Developed by Saatchi & Saatchi for Toyota in Norway, the service lets users sign up through the Web and/or a mobile app to allow people in their area to take their own Toyota Hybrid for a test drive… for free!

At first impression you might think that no one would volunteer to let a stranger test drive his or her car – especially without any hard incentive. But you’d be wrong: Try My Hybrid was so successful that it resulted in 10x the average amount of test-drive signups for Toyota. Maybe our Norwegian friends are just a lot more trustworthy.

For another example, online retailer ASOS, a Lovie Winner this year for ASOS Google Helpouts (Bronze) – created a service that invited ASOS users to join a video chat session to get style advice from experts brought together by ASOS. This campaign was such a success that it resulted in a 243 percent traffic increase to What’s more, 84 percent of those who came to the Helpouts were new customers which so clearly demonstrates the appetite for innovative retail experiences.

And then there’s All Things Hair, a double Lovie Winner for Best Native Advertising (Bronze) and Best Entertainment (Gold) in Social. Created by Razorfish for Unilever, All Things Hair is a shoppable YouTube channel where consumers can go to get style tips and product suggestions for their specific type of hair from some of the most prominent beauty video bloggers on the Web (European vloggers like Zoella and Holly Samanthaa, for example). This is both a great service for those seeking personalised hair tips and an excellent vehicle to market and sell products sold by Unilever brands. The service also shows a progression from toe-in-the-water content marketing forays into much more significant commitments to content projects, a step which also seems to reward in equally significant scale.

So what does it all mean? As we’ve delved into this trend, one thing we’ve noticed is that the more consumers are given what they want, when they want it, with the tap of a smartphone or click of a mouse, the higher their expectations soar. Rarely has there been an environment when the returns on innovation have been so great AND so immediate.

And while this presents a great challenge for existing companies not established in the on-demand service realm, the opportunity for them to delight users with new inspiring services, attracting a whole new smartphone-wielding, web-obsessed consumer-base, has never been greater. So time to get all our service skates on and there’s no better place to look for inspiration than this year’s Lovie winners.

To see all of this year’s Lovie Winners, check out the Winners Gallery here; and keep up with the Webby Talks European tour on social media with #LovieTalks.