When it comes to technology, there is a distinct fascination with faster, better, newer. The best mobile marketing effort of the last year, however—as declared at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity—is decidedly low tech. "TKTBKS" from Smart Communications and agency DM9 Jayme Syfu in Manilla, the festival Grand Prix in the Mobile category was awarded to a campaign that turned those ubiquitous but unsmart feature phones into mobile textbooks for students in need in the Philippines.
Recognizing that many in the developing world don’t have regular access to educational materials, Smart Communications condensed the information of traditional textbooks into SIM cards that could then be loaded onto feature phones, many of which were discarded by owners who’d moved on to newer models. The work demonstrated that mobile technology, when applied well to a real-world problem, is a means to an end rather than and end in itself, and was lauded by the jury members for being clear, smart, and useful. "You don’t have to use flashy tech to execute a great idea," says Rei Inamoto, the Mobile jury president and chief creative officer of AKQA.
Determining which mobile ideas were world-leading was a point of great debate, but Inamoto suggested the criteria in determining winning ideas were about portability, connectivity, and pervasiveness. Juror Justin Baird suggested that the winning piece needed to be a combination of "creativity, idea, execution, and mobile relevance" in a way that could only be achieved through the mobile platform.
Gold winners included Google’s World Wide Maze, which incorporated Google’s Web GL, Web Sockets, and Tap Sync technology to turn a website into a 3-D game space and a mobile phone into a gaming controller.
As well, Reborn’s "Second Life Apps," from Duval Guillaume Modem in Belgium, received Gold for turning disused, single-use event apps into a vehicle to promote people to sign up for organ donation. Other Golds included "Scrabble Wi-Fi," which turned the point of Wi-Fi registration into a game, and "Missing Children" for Baobeihuijia.com in which facial recognition technology was used to identify lost or stolen children.
For the Lions, the world’s largest celebration of innovative ad ideas, the Mobile category is still being defined. As juror Gaston Legorburu, worldwide chief creative officer of SapientNitro, says, work stood out when "you saw something that was a creative use of mobile tech to solve a problem or create a business opportunity." The best mobile work, he says, was "a creative use of technology to solve a problem."