Digiday Awards Winner’s Circle: CLICKON and Native Advertising’s Role in Marketing

Digiday’s awards honor the best work across media and marketing. Winner’s Circle is a series that shines the spotlight on Digiday Awards winners: After the ceremony is over and all the champagne is gone, we ask the winners a few questions about the campaign that won them their top honor.

When CLICKON Media teamed up with General Tires for their Anywhere is Possible campaign, the focus was on finding an edgy real-life story that encapsulated multiple brand elements and could be shown in a dynamic way. Enter Andrew Cotton — a big wave surfer from Devon who refused to let an accident that could have paralyzed him derail his dreams. CLICKON knew his story was it: together, they worked through a dreary English January to shoot what would become a documentary centered on perseverance. The documentary racked up over 230k views by week two of the six-week campaign, far outperformed Facebook’s click-through rate benchmarks for Auto brands and won the award for Best Use of Native Advertising at the 2018 Digiday Marketing and Advertising Awards Europe.

Following his win, we had the opportunity to discuss the campaign and its impact with CLICKON CEO Richard Wilson.

Andrew Cotton’s story is obviously amazing, but what in particular drew you to his story?

What drew us in particular to the story was the defiance of Andrew; a strength which came from the foundations of family support. It was, therefore, the human element to the story that we feel gave the documentary its raw emotion.

The surfing challenges he undertakes are without a doubt impressive but it was his journey and determination to get ‘back out there’ and not be defeated by near death and being paralyzed that made this such a compelling story for us and for the client, General Tire.

This campaign lends itself to visuals. What was the most important detail when seamlessly adapting this content to suit each platform?

The sense of courageous adventure within Andrew’s attitude and his lifestyle was the most important factor to communicate on all platforms. Wide landscape shots and 90-foot waves are not something that could have the same impact on all screen sizes and aspect ratios. But the incredible attitude behind his story was something that transcended all platforms.

Our in-house studio teams operate in an ‘always on’ mindset. Whenever they go into production they plan to capture footage that can be delivered across multiple distribution channels. Typically, we deliver over 28 individual pieces of content for every campaign we do.

What are some of the biggest changes this story underwent from the beginning to the end of filming?

The biggest change to the story was the extent of his injuries. After the accident, it was not clear that he would be able to walk or drive while recovering from a broken back. As it was key for our brand partner General Tire to provide a sense of journey with not only Andrew but his car, our narrative had to be fluid with his story. This meant we had to adapt our storyboard and locations weekly, running up to the shoot, which was influenced by his recovery in real time.

Another notable challenge was the underwater sequences which provided a critical narrative to Andrew’s story. The sequence was filmed with our own team working alongside an underwater team from BBC’s Natural History team who delivered Blue Planet.

How do you see the place of native advertising in the marketing industry changing in the next five years?

We believe native advertising will play a more and more important role in branded advertising in 2019 and beyond. We’re seeing brands and clients actively move away from interruptive advertising to formats toward those that add value and depth to the conversation.

The ‘Wavemaker’ campaign and Andrew’s story is a perfect example of how brands can align themselves with cultural relevance: educating, informing and inspiring audiences all at the same time rather than intruding with meaningless ads.

As advertising challenges increase we ensure campaigns like these deliver enough content and supporting assets to power messaging across every marketing channel. Rather than activating a single campaign each year, we provide the agility, efficiency and expertise to run campaigns like this every month. Helping brands become their own original storytellers whilst allowing them to differentiate and build loyal audiences in a crowded advertising space.

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