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Be weird. Get noticed

The next 100 years will be shaped by screens - as opposed to the automobile which is what dominated in the last century - and the need to be noticed drives everything, says Chris Gotz, Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy & Mather South Africa, reporting back from Cannes 2014.
Chris Gotz: "Our tools are beginning to shape us."
And of course, the advertising industry makes the content for those screens, so the future is looking pretty for this sector. Gotz was addressing staff, clients, and media this past week at the annual Ogilvy Cannespiration report back from the recent global advertising awards and creative festival in Cannes, France, in which he also shared some of the award-winning work.

These were his highlights of trends in the advertising industry:
The future is no longer in the future: Technology is accelerating so fast and people are adopting it so fast that the future has "collapsed" into the future, says Gotz, referencing a Time magazine cover which talked about the "future" smart home, despite the fact that the technology is already all available and being implemented.
It's still all about Mobile: We're talking about devices here, not just phones. It is still the "big daddy" of game changers says Gotz.
Everything is connected to everything: At a Google presentation, it was stated: "This era has been about us talking to the machines - the next era will be about the machines talking to each other".
Sharing is the new media: We know this - from Twitter to YouTube to Facebook, most of us consume and receive the majority of our information via our friends and broader network sharing it with us.
The march of the weird continues... Take the bearded transgender singer who won the Eurovision song contest this year - you need to stick out to be noticed and this applies to brands too of course. "It's a knife fight in the phone booth," quips Gotz. "There is content overload so you really have to work hard to be seen. We only have so much time. The need to be noticed drives everything."
The rise of 'unusualism': The industry is being encouraged to do things that "defy description" says Gotz. New devices and technologies enable that. The trick is to be first. "Being first is the new zeitgeist," he reiterates.

Sharing and caring

Because the need to be noticed drives everything and there is so much content out there, brands have to stand out to be noticed and shared - one of the measures of success these days in creating brand awareness.

Here, Gotz referenced the award winning Volvo trucks Jean-Claude van Damme ad in which the action actor does the splits accompanied by an Enya soundtrack of all things! You've been living under a rock if you haven't seen it yet, given that it was one of the biggest viral successes six months ago.

Of course the copycats that followed were even funnier, as this epic new compilation video of the splits' FAILS demonstrates.

The market for Volvo trucks is only so big, but Volvo has been demonstrating its safety, precision, and various other technological wonders of its driving technology and this brand impression does translate to the rest of the brand and its other cars. Obviously. And now they are also known for making uber-cool ads.

Shared content is the "holy grail" of advertising and the speed at which something can go viral is unbelievable, says Gotz. It took only 48 hours for the Van Damme Volvo ad to go around the world - and a lot less before every idiot was setting up their own 'splits copy' and posting it on YouTube.

In the Cannes show reel shown by Gotz, the Lionel Richie Aussie beer ad has to be one of the funniest recently: he's in a fridge singing "Hello". Epic.

And continuing on the 'weird' theme, UK fast-loan company Nimble certainly hit the money with this ad featuring hormonal pregnant men.

The 'Robocop' ad for the Consulate General of Argentina's New Cinema Film Festival is a 90-second ad by agency Conill and a classic.

And here's how new technologies enable agencies to create different ads, like the charity billboard which enables a donation right then and there by allowing credit cards to be swiped - 'goodvertising' at its best.

"Inglorious" fruit and vegetables is another wonderful advertising campaign from a French Supermarket to discount fresh produce that doesn't meet with European Union standards of perfection. It was also a massive social media smash hit.

Says Gotz: "Technology has revolutionised stories. Storytelling is a huge theme... but the way we tell stories has changed. Really what we are all doing is finding our way back to a screen. 90% of all content viewed on the internet now is film.

"Our tools are beginning to shape us," Gotz concluded.

TRENDAFRiCA is a trend watching portal on consumer insight, research and trends from South Africa and further afield on the continent of Africa. It includes DAiLY trends headlines from around the world, influential Trendspotter columnists and in-depth reports on industry segments. Louise Marsland is the founder and editor.
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About Louise Marsland

Louise Marsland is currently Africa Editor:; a Content Strategist and Trainer; and Trend Curator for and her own She has been writing about the media, marketing and advertising communications industry in South Africa for over 20 years, notably, as the previous Editor of Media & Marketing; Editor-in-Chief AdVantage magazine; Editor Marketing Mix magazine; Editor Progressive Retailing magazine; Editor Business Brief magazine and Editor FMCG Files ezine.