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FB’s Mark D’Arcy on top trends from Facebook Awards 2015

As Facebook announces the winners of the Facebook Awards 2015, new trends come to fore highlighting the evolving consumer and the changing marketing business. In its fourth year, the Awards registered nearly a 50 per cent increase in entries and participation from 160 countries, which is twice the number of previous year. The growth is primarily driven by videos, which was in turn impacted by the growth in mobile. A large number of entries made their way from emerging markets including Asia showing the role that mobile, and digital media, is playing in these markets.

Awarding a world class body of work
Mark D’Arcy, Chief Creative Officer, Facebook is “ecstatic” with the overall quality of work this year. In a conversation with DMA, he said, “People are interested in what people are doing, and they are learning from the work that stands out. We are very appreciative of the creative community and the marketers around the world for the kind of work that has been entered this year. The quality, the diversity and the brand building examples reflected in the entries point out to some great work.”

Another factor that stood out for Mr D’Arcy was that 70 per cent entries were based on video. “Video is arguably very new and it appears to have become the primary way of connecting. We saw enormous growth in videos with 4 billion video impressions from the 1 billion impressions a year ago. Much of this can be attributed to the explosive growth in mobile. While this means new talent is exploring this medium, there is a large set of creative professionals, who grew up making stories and narratives and understand the craft involved in the different screens,” he explained.

One factor underlying all winning entries was the manner in which they connected with people, creating work that people wanted to take hold of.

The growth of social
Asia Pacific agencies brought home two Bronze metals (J. Walter Thompson/ Mirum Singapore & McCann/MRM Singapore) and two shortlists (Colenso BBDO New Zealand), which Mr D’Arcy describes as ‘no mean feat’. Asia also had one of the highest number of entries sent to the FB Awards 2015. “Our jury comprised an extraordinary group of people, who were looking for the best work. The objective was to celebrate world class standard, while setting a high benchmark,” Mr D’Arcy explained, adding that in 2014, a market as sophisticated as the United Kingdom did not see any wins in the Awards.

The increase in the number of categories was prompted by the different kind of work that the social platforms are witnessing. “We wanted to keep it as simple as possible. Some of the best works that you see are not necessarily executed on Facebook alone. Facebook’s discovery platform is greatly valuable but people live in multiple touch points and great work integrates these. Each category was added factoring this in.”

The Media category had two big aspects in which people leverage the planning side of a platform like Facebook. Social Technology celebrated the new tools coming in play in the way people were using the platform, which also included examples of lining the real world with the mobile world. New Frontiers celebrated the work in emerging markets, where Facebook had taken special initiatives such as the Creative Accelerator Programme for feature phones in the Middle East and Africa. Finally, the Craft category recognised what it takes to create the quality of work that will resonate with people.

Of driving business objectives
The entries also indicate how more geographies and industries are leveraging both Facebook and Instagram for their communication today. Mr D’Arcy reiterated that one of the most important driving factors for Facebook was to work with companies to achieve business objectives. “That is the goal of the Creative Shop. We push the creative aspect, and in the course of doing that, we focus on the narrative of emotion, that people wake up to and interact with every day. There are different kinds of work that clicks in different markets. The creative that will work in India and Indonesia will be different from the United States – our goal is to look at every way of connecting with people,” Mr D’Arcy stated.

The Facebook team is approaching the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity with a similar mindset this year. FB’s Cannes Lions theme is ‘The Hacker Way’, which builds on the conversations that the social media platform had with agencies and marketers in 2014.

The ‘hacker’ way
Basing on the theory of building, hacking and learning through doing, one of the things that Facebook will focus on is the explosive growth of mobile. There is also an important role that measurement plays today in creative and media, bringing about significant change. “We intend to bring that to Cannes Lions with an idea to build with people. Just the sheer change that we are seeing in mobile and videos in the last one year reiterates the need to accelerate. If we don’t design things of relevance and value, we are missing an enormous opportunity,” observed Mr D’Arcy.

Mr D’Arcy reminded that with digital platforms allowing for a distribution platform for great ideas, scale and measurement becoming a reality, and contribution of emerging markets was poising the business for a huge movement in performance based brand building.

“We are going with a focussed track, sleeves rolled up, to share our enthusiasm on important aspects of the creative industry,” Mr D’Arcy concluded.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.
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