McCann takes innovation to new places

For an insight into the changing creative model, it's hard to beat a closer look at McCann Worldgroup's triumph at the 2018 Cresta Awards.

For the third year in a row it took the network agency of the year award. Winning contributions came from 12 offices globally with McCann New York leading the way by capturing agency of the year for the second year running.

While the breadth of contribution and overall points tally is impressive, what stands out most is the breadth of the work that took the trophies.

For a name that was once seen as a great international advertising agency but not necessarily at the creative epicentre, McCann of recent years has transformed into a leader of innovation.

2017's all-conquering 'Fearless Girl' was followed up with two more Grand Prixs in 2018: McCann New York taking top spot in the Ambient Media competition with 'Astronaut Reality Helmet' for National Geographic, while McCann London beat out all-comers in Promotions and Incentives with its work for Xbox Design Lab, 'The Fanchise Model'.

'Astronaut Reality Helmet' created nothing less than a simulation of being in space in order to launch the new National Geographic TV series One Strange Rock, helmed by Darren Aronofsky. The series set out to give viewers the sense of how astronauts have seen the Earth. McCann, working with production company Framestore and post-production specialists Tomorrow Lab, took that one step closer to reality for media and other launch audiences by producing a helmet with compelling internal projections that attempted to come as close to being in space as you can do from the comfort of a theatre seat. For once 'awesome' and 'out of this world' seem like straightforward descriptive phrases.

Reinvention was, literally, the order of the day with McCann London's 'The Fanchise Model'. The multi-platform campaign promoted the opportunity for gamers to generate money from a new Xbox controller by marketing their own bespoke designs.

When other gamers opted to buy the customised models on offer a share of proceeds went back to the gamer-inventor. A whole range of creativity resulted from the global discussion and interaction with the new handset as a tool of personal expression, fashion, loyalty and more. The most popular design earned $1131 back to the creator — giving a profit on their play — while on average participants earned $95.24. Themes touched on everything from unicorns to the Pope, #MeToo to…er, Donald Trump. The power of the idea stimulated media coverage, while a combination of placed media and participant's own powerful motivation to promote their designs rapidly gave the campaign a life of its own. Net result a 350% uplift in the sales of the controllers.

While those two projects led the way, a glance across the other awards in 2018 show that McCann is setting the running on creativity across its network.

View the complete 26th Cresta Awards

Credits 'Astronaut Reality Helmet'

Credits 'The Fanchise Model'