July 16th, 2013 | Chris Lloyd

The game is changing. Innovators are Winning.

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Well, the Cannes Lion Awards just wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, and the winner of the very first ever Innovation Lion is a coding platform.

Wait a minute, isn’t Cannes the festival of creativity in advertising? What’s a coding platform doing behind the velvet rope?

Indeed, this past Cannes International Festival of Creativity advertising awards – the largest advertising awards event in the world – gave out a new trophy: the Innovation Lion, “designed to reward technologies and innovation.” This ain’t your fathers ad award (that is, unless your father is on the Cinder team).

The definition of “advertising” is getting wider and wider as many agencies are thinking outside of simple promotion, and solving problems instead of selling them. All of this has led to a new focus on entrepreneurship and actual product development.

Agencies like Droga5 have dedicated a subsidiary branch to this trend. The spinoff development thinktank, De-De, has very recently broken into social media-based entrepreneurism with their innovative social crowdsourcing tool, Thunderclap.

Thunderclap is a petitioning tool that does what all advertising tries to do: break through the clutter to reach who matters. Even better, it’s the best way to yell on the internet since the discovery of the caps lock button. The great thing about tools like Cinder and Thunderclap is that, although they might have been inspired by one or two campaigns, they have far-reaching implications and benefits.

Deutsch LA has created a floral delivery service called Bouqs, and MMB out of Boston has created a line of environmentally friendly children’s clothing that donates its profits to animal shelter charities. (Environment + Kids + Animals = charity win)

Of course, one of the best and oldest examples of innovation from an advertising agency is that of the very popular Nike FuelBand and Nike+, thought up by R/GA. Nike+ offers a staggeringly inventive use of digital platforms to provide a personal tool for customers, a win-win for both the brand and the buyer.

Finally, although this is only an example of a useful tool and not an entrepreneurial venture, take a look at McKinney’s project for Sherwin Williams, Chip-It. Chip-It proves that the Internet is a colorful place in more ways than one.

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Whatever the innovation is, advertising agencies are starting to solve problems instead of selling them, and that’s exciting.


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