The problem about chasing metals is that it is often given to campaigns that were done precisely to win metals. Often, this means clients allow agencies to do the campaigns for the sole purpose of winning awards even when the campaign is inconsistent with their brand positioning.
The Hidden Sound campaign, winner of the Cannes Advertising Festival Gold Lion in the Direct category for, is not one of those campaigns. Leo Burnett HongKong did the campaign for independent music store, Zoo Records.
It’s pretty straight up. Images of animals, which are actually QR codes, are scattered around HongKong. People point their phones on any part of any of the animals and they will receive songs by an independent artist. In addition, they can share these songs and buy directly from their phones.
Hongkong’s TV, radio, print, and other media are dominated by giant record labels. Needless to say, independent artists hardly stand a chance. This, however, doesn’t mean unsigned artists are taking it in stride. They are around. They are small, they powerless but they are not giving up.
Zoo Records is one of the few who are still fighting. As part of their effort to keep the music fight alive, they decided to come up with a campaign that would create buzz about the music and artists behind it…. without spending a lot.
The Greatness of the Campaign
The greatness doesn’t lie in the execution. Theirs is nothing new about QR codes and certainly nothing new about putting ad materials around the city. The greatness lies in the cause behind the technology. Technology has been used against music. Napster, Limewire, Torrent, and even emails, have all been used for piracy. This time, technology was used to serve music.
The victory is really about the cause more than it is about the execution or the technology. It’s a simple campaign that serves a monumental cause, promote alternative music, fight the big guns, and give artists a chance.
It’s a welcome change in an advertising world dominated by burgers, shoes, and cereals. Music, I’m sure we will all agree, could use some guerrillas to its side.
Well done Leo Burnett.