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Daniel Bonner, chief creative officer, AKQA

As dusk falls on a hectic 2010, my tired brain is employing a simple criterion for judging success. I’m moved by work that genuinely redefines, reinvigorates or reinvents the way a brand connects with its audience. It’s that simple.

I‘ll get the first campaign out of the way quickly because it’s always a bit embarrassing evaluating your own work, but the True City mobile app for Nike – which won Campaign of the Month in March (nma 4 March 2010) – redefines how to connect with the cool urban audience. It offered an authentic and real-time format for collaboration between the brand and its followers in six European cities.

Nike used the mobile device to say goodbye to the ‘Be like me’ ad strategy that made it famous. It democratises the city, allowing the crowd to share the hidden gems that define their local areas, while giving Nike the opportunity to release products, have a two-way dialogue with consumers and pioneer distribution with QR codes and social media. It’s a channel that the audience can embrace and contribute to, not a downloadable tannoy system from which to be shouted at.

When considering reinvigoration, few things are going to compete with a good bit of time travel. July’s Ad Watch winner, The Museum of London’s beautifully simple You Are Here campaign, and specifically the StreetMuseum iPhone app, is full to the brim with 200 or so landmark pictorial wormholes into London’s past (nma 1 July 2010).

Merging the magnificent photographic archives with location-based information, the app offers the audience a life-sized museum experience in the real world that was once only available in hallways and corridors with no geographical or modern-day context or relevance.

Taking history onto the streets of London and offering a further dimension with a new way to see is a true redefinition of a tired educational format. Inspiring revenue and commerce by making what would have been previously undiscovered images available to buy online or at the Museum itself rounds off this little campaign nicely.

There’s nothing more refreshing than a pint of Strongbow, apparently, and what caught my attention with October’s winning campaign was that it really walked the walk and delivered on its promise (nma 7 October 2010). The Most Refreshing Pint was refreshingly simple. The art direction and execution were refreshingly single minded. The message was refreshingly obvious. The interaction was refreshingly lovely. And had I seen it at the time, I’m convinced that it would have proven refreshingly addictive.

It’s a give-away-some-prizes-and-product feature, but if you’re going to do one of those, then reinvent it and make it a refreshingly good give-away-some-prizes-and-product feature, I say.

The internet, like life, is full of fashion faux pas – embarrassing gaffes and attempts at getting it right that simply don’t pay off. Fashion marketing and advertising experiences rarely do anything that harnesses technology, creativity and distribution of content socially that isn’t simply copycat or a bit try-hard. November’s winner of Ad Watch from French Connection, however, did (nma 4 November 2010).

The clothing brand’s YouTique platform took YouTube’s storytelling structure and formatting, its interactive annotation tools, the social enablement and a reasonably annoying presenter and managed to curate a show that reinvigorated the campaign site format and added a dimension to the potential role of the YouTube platform beyond the mind-numbing swathe of failed animals-do-the-funniest-things footage.

The winner? It had to be the one campaign that brings technology innovation and the real world needs of the audience together like never before. Congratulations, then, to the Museum of London.

So there we have it, the year comes to a close with campaigns that have us wandering, or running, around London tooled up with our iPhones, shopping for the perfect outfit and taking lots of glugs from refreshing pints. How very seasonal.

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Published 16 December, 2010 by NMA Staff

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