CAMPAIGN-I PERSPECTIVE: Lions are proof the digital industry has finally come of age

When the first Cyber Lions awards were handed out in Cannes in

1998, breathless digital commentators proclaimed that online advertising

had finally come of age. They were wrong. Recognition at the

International Advertising Festival was a step forward, but in reality

online advertising was not sitting at the top table with its offline

peers. Online was largely misunderstood, and the talk of technology

threatening to most in the ad business. People across online and offline

industries had not figured out where "digital" fitted into the mix. And,

with its roots in technology and hype rather than marketing, online made

a poor job of selling its potential to both the offline ad world and

blue-chip clients.

This year's Cyber Lions show there are very real signs that a young

digital marketing industry has grown up fast and is close to producing

the levels of creativity of its offline cousins. 2001 Cyber Lion

nominees and winners are a list of the great and the good in marketing.

Fresh thinking from leading creative marketers Sony, Adidas, Nike, IBM

and Absolut is proof we are seeing a growing sophistication in how

clients view online media, matched by a growing willingness to build in

rather than bolt on strategic online creations into integrated


Speaking to the judges, the step forward is shown in an overall shift in

the production quality of digital creativity. The "traditional" front

line tools of online communication are still with us. For a select few

such as the Grand Prix winning work for Nike and Milko Dairy Products

you don't even think about the medium. Milko's ads allow visitors to

interact with their animated brand character, a hilarious dancing cow,

and create and send their own Milko-branded video e-mails. The work

falls into the "beyond the banner" category and shows exactly how

digital ad formats will shake up the industry in the coming year.

At the heart of this year's Cyber Lions is an underlying and refreshing

"joined up" approach to digital communication. Online consumer, media

insights and digital creativity are converging with offline brand

thinking and are starting to show the real unique creative potential of

digital interactivity.

Most significantly, the best interactive agencies and clients have

proved they now have an experienced understanding of how online

creativity builds brands through the most creative consumer


Creativity and consumer planning are the drivers of the most effective

offline advertising. As these become the driving disciplines of online

marketing, we shouldn't be surprised to see the "them and us" mentality


It's this proper merger of disciplines that will allow digital

communications to mature to the next level of creativity and relevance

in the communications mix.