Editor's Note

By Published on .

Welcome to the second Creativity Ad and Design Annual. The Annual is a showcase of what we consider to be many of the highlights of calendar year 2004 in commercials, print advertising, graphic design, photography, corporate ID, web design, online films and other formats and combinations thereof.

You may notice that the book is divvied up into three handy sections, named Broadcast, Print/Design and Interactive. Those titles are handy catch-alls for a diverse array of work but many of the featured campaigns span media and often defy categorization. For instance the HP Hype campaign from Publicis London incorporated short films made by artists and designers, a real live art gallery, a digital art gallery, posters, pavement art and other elements. The Mini "Men of Metal" campaign is featured in the Print section and the project did feature innovative use of print-in the form of booklet-sized magazine inserts-but its components also included robots, pseudo scientific websites, a mysterious Doctor Mayhew and, by extension, a whole lot of message board buzz. Such audience participation figured prominently in the '03 hit Sega "Beta 7" and is a feature of some of the interesting new-model campaigns of '04. Community engagement and alternate reality chicanery were at the heart of "I Love Bees," the campaign to promote the release of the much anticipated video game Halo2. Cute campaign name, but its results couldn't have been more serious. "I Love Bees" centered around a Halo2-related radio drama disseminated over thousands of payphones to legions of people who spent countless hours engaged with the game and recruiting others to play it. The campaign also included a cinema trailer, blogs, audio files, live chat, embedded HTML messages and other components. This sort of community-driven campaign clearly works in the game world-Halo2 accounted for $125 million in sales in a single day-but is growing in importance beyond that ever-expanding market as well. "With the internet's growing reach, the power of word of mouth becomes amplified, "says Chris Di Cesare, the marketing maestro for Microsoft Games, the parent of Halo creators Bungie Studios. Understanding how to tap in to online communities to help spread the word can be incredibly powerful if done right, says Di Cesare. His summary of the impact of "I Love Bees"? "In addition to the immeasurable office cooler buzz and the countless message board posts, the site received over 80 million hits. It also mobilized a fan base to go out into the real world and promote the product in unusual ways. We've received pictures of fans recruiting strangers on busy streets, pictures of fans answering payphones dressed in full scuba gear, and we've even seen fans waving ILB banners on CNN at the presidential debates. While the exact breakdown is difficult to determine, interest in ILB clearly extended beyond traditional Halo fans, attracting a broader base of people intrigued by its sci-fi storyline."

Such campaigns will likely appear in new variations in next year's annual, alongside as yet unimagined entertainments, but we won't offer new "alternate reality" or "phone booth based advertising" categories. As the Creativity Annual evolves along with the industry, we'll aim to focus less on categorization and more on the big, un-siloed, un-pigeonholed, un-upfronted, unbridled, glorious idea.

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