Cannes Lions

GREY NY

GREY NEW YORK, New York / GREY / 2012

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Description

Nothing excites the ad industry like another agency’s screw up. So when a big global player hired a plane to buzz its party at Cannes, trailing a banner with an inadvertently misspelled tagline, the twitterverse and blogosphere exploded with tweets and pictures of the mistake.

The agency was at the mercy of social media. So rather than fight it, they added fuel to the fire. Within hours, a fictitious administrative assistant, complete with fake Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, was created to take the fall in a leaked internal memo. The agency bought the misspelled key word, driving people to its website that now featured the misspelled word and its Cannes wins. Memes featuring the word were added to the ones already in the blogosphere. The blitz ended with a repeat flyover of the misspelled banner as everyone gathered at the Palais for the final gala.The social media tone shifted from ugly to puzzled to congratulatory, and within 3 days the program generated 300,000 tweets, 130,000 Twitter pictures and nearly 1m media impressions.

By owning the error and using their knowledge of human nature and social media to their advantage, the agency neutralised a potential disaster and turned it into a positive. Within the industry and, more important, inside its own walls, the agency demonstrated that not only can it take a joke, but it also has the strategic and creative fire-power to stand up for itself against internet bullies, and win.

Execution

As soon as the first tweets appeared, they were re-tweeted without comment as the agency prepared to add major fuel to this already blazing fire.Within hours, a complete program was deployed. The agency:•Created a fictitious administrative assistant, complete with fake Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, to take the fall and leaked an internal memo identifying her as the culprit.

•Bought the misspelled key word which drove people to the agency website, now featuring the infamous misspelled tagline and a list of the 18 Lions the agency would win by week’s end.•Altered its Wikipedia page to include the misspelling •Added the misspelled word to urbandictionary.com•Sent the mistake to 'FAILblog'•Added to memes already created with some of its ownThe blitz ended with a repeat flyover of the misspelled banner as everyone gathered at the Palais for the final gala

Outcome

It wasn’t long before the climate began to turn, with the social media tone swiftly shifting from ugly to puzzled to congratulatory.

Within 3 days the program generated:• 300,000 tweets• 130,000 Twitter pictures of our tag• Nearly 1m media impressions• And zero media dollarsBy owning the error and using their knowledge of human nature and social media to their advantage, the agency neutralised a potential disaster and turned it into a positive. Within the industry and, more important, inside its own walls, the agency demonstrated that not only can it take a joke, it has the strategic and creative fire-power to stand up for itself against internet bullies, and win.

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