MITX awards and the “digital” agency
Happy Ice Cream Machine, from a pure digital agency, won Best of Show, but lots of other awards
went to hybrid or integrated agencies, including Mullen.
Last night MITX put on its annual award show ceremony, celebrating the best digital and interactive work in New England. It’s always fun to be there as the show attracts everyone from ad agencies to digital shops, production companies, start-ups, VCs and social media agencies. Boston has a big, healthy and still growing digital community and folks come from all over the region. All the way from Burlington, Vermont, in fact.
Besides being the oldest interactive marketing association in the country (I think), the MITX awards is definitely the largest regional show in the U.S. It’s been held annually for 15 years – since the days of CD-ROMS – and attracts well over 1200 attendees who either pat themselves on the back for winning or applaud politely as their competitors walk to the stage.
I was obviously pleased to watch the Mullen gang take home numerous honors, including Best Brand Campaign, Best Cross Media Campaign and Best User Engagement (all for Olympus); Best Mobile App for Lumber Liquidator (the second year in a row we grabbed that one); and Best Use of Mobile (for Timberland, which also won Digital Marketer of the Year.)
As is often the case at these events, more than a few people asked how it is that Mullen, once a traditional advertising agency known more for ads than digital ideas, managed to “transform.” Once upon a time the companies that won at award shows like this were the digital pure-plays.
But clearly everything is digital now and every agency needs to be (and can be) digital (and social). Not just in its tech group, but in creative, planning, media, production and account service. So my answer is simple.
- Change your mindset. Tell yourself that it’s time to make things that are useful rather than craft messages that people will simply consume.
- Put technology and IA and UX in the middle of the creative department so that they’ll learn more about storytelling and creativity and creatives will learn more about technology.
- Start every idea session with the question: what do consumers need from this brand in terms of content, functionality and utility?
- Make ads last. First come up with something more experiential that in and of itself might be worth advertising.
Granted it’s easier said than done. As this week’s Fast Company piece suggests, you have to change your DNA and make some tough decisions about everything from staffing and processes to clients and compensation.
And admittedly we’re not totally there yet and don’t always get it right either. (Few really do have it all figured out.) But when we do, it’s actually good for everyone — our clients, their customers, and even the egos of the teams that walk up to the stage at MITX.
Congratulations to all the winners and all the agencies. Especially all those who’ve had to work extra hard to get there.
hello dude! lovely as always. this reminded me of
i guess for me it's that last question - how we do add value to consumers and brands at the same time?
or - the measure of greatness being - would people elect to spend time with this content/idea/experience...
rock ON FX
faris Faris, you offer a more thorough take on the topic and clarity on why it matters. The dual benefit is key. Sometimes the solution is easy and staring us in the face. For our winners last night, such was the case. We want a consumer to buy a camera, they would love the chance to try it out and learn about it before they do. So a truly useful AR application/add benefits both. User gets free demo, brand gets real attention. Same for Timberland. We want to sell boots to workers and have them be loyal to us. Workers want jobs and employment. We came up with an app that listed jobs for them and at same time convinced them that boot was the right one to wear for the job. Did similar for urban dwelling hiker. A reminder that one way to get to the answer is via context and user's use of media and technology.