Cannes Lions

Make Boring Less Boring

HEAT, San Francisco / FACEBOOK / 2019

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The very thing that made Instagram famous (highly-curated and stylized photos) was driving teens away. They used to love showing off their #bestlife -- but over time the pressure to impress on social media turned into unwanted stress, driving teens to shift engagement to platforms where communication and creativity were more casual.

Therefore, we were tasked with producing and testing different creative approaches to make Instagram more appealing and drive acquisition and engagement amongst non-users across multiple geographies.


Our idea was to make the routine of everyday life more fun: to make "boring less boring. Creative leveraged “easy to create” Instagram content which demonstrated to teens they did not need to be “experts” in order to post on the social platform. Our campaign was a daily showcase of the cool ways Instagram can make everyday life more fun without being picture-perfect. Whether we were putting eyes on rocks or bologna on faces, running polls and asking questions about mundane activities, we drew from the themes of discovery and creation to give teens the means make “boring” less boring.


We used a number of research methodologies, including interviews, surveys and behavioral analytics, to compile data on our target audience - teens aged 13-17 in 30 markets. From our research, we found that teens labeled Instagram as time-consuming, stressful/intimidating, invasive, anti-social and fake. Thus, our strategic conclusion was to “lower the bar” and shift teens’ perception of Instagram from the “picture-perfect platform” to a safe, everyday avenue for self-discovery and self-expression.

With our creative idea to make “boring” less boring, we doubled down on existing market relevant trends, market specific “boring moments,” and cultural nuances, to produce tailored creative for core markets that gave teens ideas on how to engage, discover, and create on Instagram.

We then targeted teens on Google Display where they are already active, to demonstrate how easy it is to create fun and engagement content to share with friends, on a daily basis.


We designed a bespoke team model that allowed us to combine 3 working days in one. The end result was a steady stream of test assets and the coordination of a global rollout of hundreds of versions and formats. Strategic insight and creative development was led by our agency team. Then our partnering agency in Poland assisted us with ensuring transcreation efficiency, creative resonance across cultures and geographies, and swift post-production turnarounds. This model allowed us to output over hundreds of assets on average per month and offer turnkey scalability as needs changed.

The banner campaign began in May 2018 and ran through December 2018 across multiple programmatic ad networks including GDN and Facebook Ads. When we rolled it out, we did so everywhere. We crafted localization plans leveraging market-level insights in 30 different markets then created thousands of pieces of content tailored in 17 different languages.

The campaign focused on leveraging discovery and creation themes native to Instagram’s core product offering in an effort to get non-users to download and install the app. Ultimately, we needed to speak teen’s language and create ads they can relate and respond to. So rather than hire production crews, the entire campaign was shot on an iPhone through Instagram and used all the in-app features. This allowed us to leverage a friendlier lo-fi aesthetic that’s more in line with teen sensibilities than the typical (and intimidating) high-gloss style. More importantly, it made the ads both accessible and possible for teens to do themselves.


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