Case Study stuff

This being the week of Cannes, many creative people are on the continent who would not otherwise be.

Last week I caught up with a couple of good friends who are now Aussie CDs. Coincidentally both of them did the same thing that I found odd’n’interesting: the work they mentioned having been part of or impressed by was the kind of thing that you would only have seen if you found the time to watch case study films.

I won’t use the real names (combination of anonymity and can’t quite remember the details and don’t want to get them wrong), but as they said, ‘Have you seen Persil Island?’ or ‘He did Smarties House Party’, I looked a little blank. This is not in any way to denigrate these fine achievements, but it’s an interesting illustration of how diverse and award-centric these conversations have now become.

Back in the day you would see a TV ad, or maybe a poster, in real life, then when someone mentioned it you could have a chat about its merits.

Then both scam advertising (no way you’d see that on real TV) and the rise of international work (ditto) meant that you’d have to seek out the work in Lürzer’s or wait for the D&AD annual/One Show to come out (and there were still no case study films to watch). But the number of ads you ‘should’ have seen was still manageable.

Then blogs (such as this one) showed the best ads in the world as soon as they became available. In fact, part of the PR machine for ads feeling big and known deliberately includes these channels, so you might well see the award-y work well before it actually wins anything.

But now we have the rise of the case study film, where so many award schemes require the two-minute explanation of the campaign for it to be successful in any way. Several categories (Branded Innovation etc.) need such films, while categories that never used to (Outdoor) now routinely give explanations about posters that power villages or elaborate stunts that take over a Danish square with old ladies dressed as bikers.

All well and good, but when do you watch them? I assume other ad blogs etc. show these films, but I never really come across them (nor am I particularly keen to do so), except over the next fortnight, when I’ll watch the absolute best on the Cannes website. Then that’s it for another year, and I will be condemned to offer further blank expressions when told about Nike: Project Frottage or Uniqlo Tramp Wank Week.

Apologies in advance.