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Here Are the Creative Winners From Europe’s Golden Drum Festival

For the uninitiated, the Golden Drum Festival is an awards program that celebrates creativity in advertising across Europe. In its 26th year, the Slovenian festival recently named its 2019 winners.

You’ll likely recognize some from this year’s awards circuit, like Ikea’s “Thisables” out of McCann Tel Aviv and “The Last Ever Issue” stunt from VMLY&R Warsaw that impressed judges at this year’s Cannes Lions. But others shine a light on some innovative campaigns that made a big impact in their respective countries.

At this year’s festival, McCann WorldGroup was named most successful agency network for the fourth year in a row. Publicis Italy’s Milan office took home the Golden Rose, which awards the best advertising agency of the year, while SOK Media in Helsinki was named best independent agency.

Take a look below at this year’s Grand Prix winners from the Golden Drum Festival.

Print, Mastercard and BNP Paribas: “The Last Ever Issue” by VMLY&R Warsaw

In partnership with the country’s leading newspaper, Mastercard and BNP Paribas teamed up with VMLY&R Warsaw to purchase Twój Weekend, a popular porn magazine in Poland, with the sole purpose of shutting it down. But before saying goodbye, they published one last issue that was unlike any other—instead of objectifying women, it celebrated them and promoted gender equality.

Design and Innovation

Ikea: “Thisables” by McCann Tel Aviv

Ikea’s “Thisables,” a range of products that makes it easier for disabled people to use the retailer’s furniture, was popular at this year’s Golden Drum Festival. The add-ons were created with help from a copywriter in McCann’s Tel Aviv office who has cerebral palsy, and can be purchased in-store or via 3D printing. In addition to taking home the top honor in both the design and innovation categories, “Thisables” also won the festival’s “best of Good” award, which honors work in the social good space. Additionally, it came out as the winner of the show’s “best of Why” category, which awards work based on the following question: Why does this work exist?

Digital and Mobile

Diesel: “Hate Couture” by Publicis Italy

Diesel turned haute couture into “hate couture” by taking hateful comments about the brand from online trolls and slapping them on its clothing and stores. The brand enlisted the help of celebrities including Nicki Minaj and Bella Thorne to promote the effort by asking them to find real insults hurled at them on social media and prominently feature them on their clothes. According to Publicis Italy, the effort managed to reach 800 million people—despite the fact that the campaign was not sponsored on social media. “Hate Couture” was also named the winner of the “best of What” category, which rewards work that is “moving frontiers” in traditional mediums.

Functional Efficiency and Engagement

HOK-Elanto: “Block Wish” by SOK Media

“Block Wish,” a digital initiative created for Finnish grocery chain Alepa, won the Grand Prix in both the functional efficiency and engagement categories. With dozens of locations, Alepa wanted to create something that would let customers access their favorite products at their local brick-and-mortar store. With help from a chatbot, “Block Wish” lets shoppers request items they’d like to see in-store at their nearby Alepa. According to the chain, it is used by every fifth Alepa customer, and helps each store better “reflect the lifestyles and flavor palates” of its customers.


Turkcell: “Unreachables” by TBWAInstanbul

Telecom company Turkcell recently found a way to make the voicemail greeting function on phones more useful. In partnership with The Families of Missing Persons Association, Turkcell made it possible for relatives of missing people to spread the word about their loved ones whenever they missed a call. Instead of just hearing a standard recording before leaving a voicemail, those who called a family member of a missing person would learn more about the individual who’d gone missing and be encouraged to visit the “Unreachables” website to find out more information.


Coca-Cola: “Half Full” by McCann Romania

To try and inject some positivity into the Romanian news cycle, Coca Cola created “half full” versions of its bottles, each complete with a snippet of good news about the country. For instance, one bottle read: “In 2018, the number of tourists visiting Romania grew by 6.3%.” According to McCann Romania, the stats were chosen by a team of journalists and PR people. On Facebook, users could create their own messaging for the bottles, which were displayed in Romania’s capital on out-of-home ads.


Reckitt Benckiser: “Turkey’s Water” by Havas Instanbul

To encourage people to save water (and to stop pre-rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher), detergent brand Finish recently went to Turkey’s biggest economic forum and displayed drinking glasses that illustrated how much water is left in the country’s drying lakes. From there, the brand launched a campaign around the issue, and encouraged viewers to visit a website where they could determine their water footprint and receive tips on saving water. According to Finish, the effort resulted in increased market share for the brand.

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One of the Best Diss Tracks About New York Is Courtesy of … a Cincinnati Agency?

Agencies and, by extension, markets outside of the biggies work tirelessly to explain how talent can have a more balanced life. Don’t want to spend $4,000 a month on a 200-square-foot studio in San Francisco? Come to Portland. Dropping a bunch of cash to huddle with seven of your closest friends in Los Angeles? Why not consider Knoxville?

Then there’s New York, the poster child of stressful—and expensive—living. While getting to experience one of the world’s great cities is undeniably amazing, there are plenty of people who might prefer to be in second gear (with a little more money in their pockets) a bit more frequently.

Sensing an opportunity to highlight its own city, agency Empower in Cincinnati created a video that serves both as a recruiting tool … and a diss track (albeit a good-natured one) about New York.

The film, which has a Lonely Planet vibe, clocks in just over 2 minutes and covers the typical things that markets outside of New York tout like affordable housing, easier commutes, leaving the office at 5 o’clock and the ability to raise a family in a more low-key environment.

But the kicker in this upbeat song and video is its position in the hook: It’s the city that sleeps, playing off New York’s long-standing nickname, The City That Never Sleeps.

According to Tinus Strydom, Empower’s CCO, it’s not just about attracting talent to the Queen City, but also a chance for the agency to stretch its wings a little more.

“Empower was started as a media company,” Strydom said. “More recently, there’s been a push to put creative and media together. We needed a bit more clarity on the creative side of the business.”

While the video is an obvious showcase, it also works to debunk the myths around where great creativity can come from—and the perception that brands have to look to the Big Apple for reliable work.

“[I was] working at ad agencies in Cincinnati on some project work for national brands, and when it came to shopping for an AOR I’d hear the phrase, ‘We’re looking for a New York agency,’” said Terry Dillon, a creative director at Empower who spent time at agencies in Los Angeles earlier in his career. “It wasn’t a fantastic world-class agency … fill in the adjective … they would look to New York. Without any qualification, they would dismiss Cincinnati.”

Strydom, who grew up in South Africa and has lived and worked in Singapore and New York, pointed out that despite a concentration of clients in specific markets around the world—and Procter & Gamble, the world’s second-largest advertiser is in Cincinnati—there is a roadmap pointing to more nontraditional markets making an impact.

“Wieden Kennedy started in Portland and put the best creative people into a place where they do the best possible work, and CPB went to Boulder,” he said. “It’s down to who’s inside the walls [of an agency] at the time and how well they’re jamming together.”

Dillon, who wrote the lyrics and is a Cincinnati native, wanted to ensure that the video, with animation from 4Humans in Argentina and music from Fuse in Singapore, made its point in a more fun way without seeming too mean-spirited.

“We kept it deliberately self-deprecating because we’re not knocking New York. It’s a fantastic place with tons going on, but we have things to offer here,” he said. “This is a diss track, but I think everyone can get in on the joke, even New Yorkers.”

Out of the 90,000-plus views, a relatively large proportion of views have come from New York, according to Strydom. And perhaps the non-rested residents of the big city see something they might like.

“The truth is the thing that communicates best,” he said. “The way we always joked about this idea is that if New York is the city that never sleeps, Cincinnati is the city that goes to bed at a reasonable hour.”

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Facebook Provides Its Latest Update on Efforts to Safeguard the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a press call Monday updating the social network’s efforts to protect the 2020 U.S. presidential election from interference via its platform that some 35,000 people are now working on security, with an overall budget in the billions of dollars.

“We have a long way to go before Election Day,” he said during the call. “We have a big responsibility to secure our platforms. Personally, this is one of my top priorities for the company. Elections have changed. Facebook has, too. After 2016, there’s just much broader awareness that this is an issue.”

Zuckerberg, vice president of integrity Guy Rosen, head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher, director of product management Rob Leathern and public policy director for global elections Katie Harbath detailed several product and policy updates during the call and in a Newsroom post.

The social network rolled out Facebook Protect as a way to further secure the accounts of elected officials, candidates, their staff and other people who may be frequent targets of hacking or other attacks by foreign adversaries.

Administrators of pages fitting that description can enroll here and invite other members of their organizations to do so, as well.

Participants in Facebook Protect must enable two-factor authentication, and their accounts will be monitored for suspicious activity that could indicate hacking attempts, such as login attempts from unusual locations or unverified devices.

Facebook said that if an attack is discovered against one account, all other accounts affiliated with that organization will be reviewed and protected, as well.

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Netflix’s Cindy Holland Relies on Data and Gut Instinct to Disrupt the TV Industry

Holland, now vp of original content, joined Netflix 17 years ago and has seen it through several different phases.

Courtesy of Netflix

For Netflix’s Cindy Holland, overseeing original programming at the biggest streaming service in the world wasn’t always part of the plan.

Holland, who joined Netflix 17 years ago and is now vp of original content, has seen Netflix through several different phases, arriving when the company was a DVD-by-mail business and helping it evolve into a streaming-centric giant in its ongoing quest to build a massive customer base. “The only thing that wasn’t in our core initial strategy was that we would be in the business of producing original content ourselves,” says Holland.

That all changed, of course, when the company began investing in original shows like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards, both of which premiered in 2013. Six years later, the company is an entertainment empire on par with established Hollywood brands. At last month’s Emmys, Netflix walked away with 27 wins, second only to HBO among all outlets.

“We certainly couldn’t have imagined that this would be the journey we were on when we started with original content,” says Holland, Adweek’s TV Creator of the Year. “It’s just really an exciting time.”

Holland, who began her career in the film business working for producers at Warner Bros., is now seated at the crux of entertainment and technology, heading up Netflix’s English-language scripted, unscripted and documentary programming. With an estimated $15 billion for original video content this year, she has an abundance of projects to oversee.

“My days have mostly to do with helping support the teams that are supporting the artists that are bringing all of the content to life for us around the world,” she says. “There definitely is no typical day.”

Long the dominant subscription video-on-demand service, Netflix will soon be facing a number of deep-pocketed competitors, as rivals Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia roll out new streaming services over the next several months. Those companies are pulling their IP from Netflix, snatching up streaming rights to popular programming and producing their own original content, all in an effort to unseat Netflix from the streaming throne. Earlier this year, Netflix lost the rights to both The Office and Friends to NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, respectively; meanwhile, ambitious originals like CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery and Amazon Prime Video’s Fleabag are enticing consumers to other services.

To beat back the competition and continue to grow its 151 million-plus subscriber base, nurturing her original programming pipeline is crucial. “We need a very eclectic, wide and diverse range of titles available on our service in order to attract and retain that level of membership,” Holland says.

That’s no easy task. While Netflix relies on data about what its users have enjoyed in the past to make decisions about which programs to greenlight, “there’s definitely no formula for success,” she says. Instead, she and her colleagues often go on gut instinct. “It’s like when you meet someone new and you have this feeling that they might be a lifelong friend or someone who is really interesting to you. It’s after that point of interest or excitement where we look at the information we have to help support the decisions we make.”

That approach is paying off big time. This year, Netflix released hits like Russian Doll and Ava DuVernay’s miniseries, When They See Us, while producing additional seasons of popular series like Stranger Things, The Crown and Glow. The company has had the industry on its heels as it continues snapping up top TV creators in exclusive mega deals—“a mix of people we’ve worked with and want to continue working with for a long time, and folks that we have admired from afar,” Holland says, including Kenya Barris, Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes and, more recently, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

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An AI’s ‘Dreams’ Become an Immersive Art Exhibit That Reimagines New York

Abstract jargon like “deep learning” and “neural network” often fails to capture the mind-boggling complexity of the self-learning systems they describe.

That awe-inspiring quality was part of what Turkish new media artist Refik Anadol sought to spell out—in a medium of appropriately grand scale—with his new exhibition. The installation, put on by experiential art organization Artechouse, is a two-story empty room in Lower Manhattan bathed from floor to ceiling in high-resolution, laser-projected video.

Through reality-bending graphics that ripple across the walls, Machine Hallucinations traces Anadol’s own process of training a machine learning system, from data collection to image recognition to a point where the neural network can create its own art, of sorts.

“We use this algorithm to narrate the story,” Anadol told Adweek. “My personal challenge was, ‘How can we learn what machines learn?’ So this was a way of putting a camera in the mind of a machine and finding the memory points and connecting them to create a dream.”

Founded by art advocates Tati Pastukhova and Sandro Kereselidze, Artechouse opened its first exhibit in Washington, D.C. in 2017 followed by another in Miami last year. The group chose Anadol for its latest project based on his previous work with data and AI, which he first began to explore about five years ago.

painting that sold at Christie’s last fall for nearly half a million dollars—the synthetic skyscrapers have a surreal quality. Anadol said he hoped to accentuate that otherworldly look in his exhibit.

“I’m always feeling that machine dreams should be very fluid—like in flux, in motion, like water,” Anadol said. “They feel like something that doesn’t fit inside a physical world. It’s very watery and dreamy.”

Anadol isn’t the only one tapping into the creative side of neural networks. Agencies and brands have also begun to experiment with AI generation, including AI-designed chairs, deepfake ad campaigns and AI-created sports logos.

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