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The Influencers

Golden Drum Winners Do Their Best Not to Advertise

Julia Dovlatova, Creative Director at Geometry Global Prague, looks back at award-winning work that's making a difference

Golden Drum Winners Do Their Best Not to Advertise

As Fernando Vega Olmos, Founder and CCO at Picnic Madrid neatly put it during his speech about iconic brands, we work "in the wrong industry at the right time".

The world is inundated by millions of brands nobody needs or cares about. Purpose-driven marketing brings more and more hypocrisy and identical brands spend budgets on media talking about themselves rather than doing meaningful things that can inspire people to buy their products. Sometimes it seems the only right path to take is to forget all about advertising and start fresh. 

This year many Golden Drum winners were honoured for doing exactly that.

Here are some examples from the Best Practice categories.

The Wheelchair Hour so little resembles advertising that many creatives were ready to dismiss it entirely. The idea of adding one extra hour into the driving school curriculum to let young drivers in Poland ride through an obstacle course in a wheelchair seems so basic that everyone should have thought of it. And yet nobody did, so all credit goes to Akademia Auto Swiat, which recruited nearly 100 driving schools in their first month. (Silver Drum Activation, Silver Drum PR).

The Bedtime Storytellers by A1 Telecommunications gets seniors to record bedtime stories for toddlers across Slovenia that can be accessed via an app, and also allows the children to send back thank you drawings. Connecting generations is relevant for the brand and the project is impressive in scale and quality. I only wish the elderly and the kids had more direct contact, but it’s surely still beneficial for both parties. (Golden Drum Grand Prix Activation, Golden Drum Digital, Silver Drum Branded content and entertainment).

Sberbank Neighborhoods looks more like a start-up project than an advertising campaign. They used hundreds of empty shop windows for outdoor ads and geo-targeted banner ads to gather opinions from residents of small towns in Russia on business ideas for the neighbourhood. So instead of just advertising loans they helped entrepreneurs find good locations for their businesses and helped communities decide their future. This is a really good example of a brand creating a legitimate purpose-driven campaign that can inspire people to buy. (Golden Drum Activation, Silver Drum Media).

Smartbell. To highlight their new bike insurance, AXA focused on making cyclists more noticeable in a busy city environment. They created a smart bicycle bell that transmits sound via the car radio so drivers can hear it ring inside the car. This is a genius invention that certainly seemed to inspire Polish bicyclists and supports the brand mission. (Golden Drum Grand Prix Innovation, Golden Drum Grand Prix Radio)

None of these cases are about a brand declaring its mission or advertising their product directly. These brands prove their purpose by doing, not talking. They engage people through experience, establishing a meaningful connection that inspires their audience and prompts immediate behaviour change. 

To sum it up: if you feel your brand is not doing well despite massive media spend you may need to rethink your strategy and identify the best place for your brand to be, and how it can prove its purpose to people in real life – ideally in collaboration with your consumers. 

And if you already hate advertising, you stand a good chance of making a difference.

Genre: Strategy/Insight