Yalta Digital Forum

On the way back from three days in Yalta for the Yalta Digital Forum, courtesy of Rostislav and his team. As usual, these trips confirm the feeling that the perceived difference in market maturity between western Europe / U.S. and the rest of the world is mostly a figment of imagination supported by a scarce command of english.

I sat on the jury of the PROpeller Awards, combing through over 60 shortlisted campaigns coming from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, most of which could have been well considered in most other international awards I have been a judge of.

And, exactly as I find in western Europe, if there is perhaps a common shortcoming, it is in the lack of front end and back-end homework, i.e. relevance targeting and conversion.

Front end relevance targeting

Most campaign designers did not really spend much time to consider how their campaign connected with their target audience BETTER than with the average consumer. They all talked about their Target Audience, and never about their Target Consumer, the difference being that the target consumer is one likely to purchase the promoted product in the near future.

Back-end conversion

Again, most campaign designers did not focused too much on how the awareness or engagement they generated converted into actions they could follow throungh until completion. Yet it is a well-known fact here as it is in the rest of Europe that until your money is in my till, I may well be working… for my competition!

Having duly concluded my ISOC rant, you can find the full shortlist on the PROpeller website, but let me spend a few words on a couple that really hit me.

My favorites: English speaking police viral video

The first is captured in this video, and is the work of Liquid7 agency:

The purpose here is to promote english language literacy among “hospitality” ukrainians in the eve (and possibly, in the wake) of the Euro2012 football Cup; the plot is simple: two young russian visitors want to poke fun at non-english speaking ukrainian police by pretending they are englishmen only speaking english and betting they can get away without paying the fine for their infraction. At first their joke seems to work, as the first policeman is clearly embarassed, but he calls out for help to a colleague who speaks perfect english and exposes the two pranksters.

The campaign was a huge viral success, because it latches on a number of local and global quirks: the self-deprecating nature of ukrainians, but also their rivalry towards russians, the stereotype of englishmen only speaking english, the happy humorous ending, down to the fact the episode is filmed through one of thosee onboard cameras we learned about in the recent russian meteor incident.

My favorites: Korthytsa ICE vodka

The second is this campaign for Korthytsa ICE vodka by Aimbulance agency, where the unique feature of the bottle which changes color with temperature is supported through a simple game where you blow on your mobile’s microphone to turn the bottle blue.

In its simplicity, this is an excellent way to etch into the consumer’ memory a feature that is totally unique and helps differentiate an otherwise rather undifferentiated product, to the point it propelled the brand sales to #3 among Korthytsa’s vodkas, well ahead of the forecasted #6.

Both entries got Gold in their categories, but did not get the Grand Prix, which was instead awarded to the Pepsi Retro pix campaign, also by Aimbulance, which was a little less novel IMHO, but I was vastly outnumbered by other judges who felt it really connected.

Summing up, one more confirmation creativity flows strong here, and if agencies can learn to better connect it to their campaigns’ front- and back-ends, we will see world class work!

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