There can be few campaigns in the past 12 months that have galvanised public and professional opinion quite as extensively as Fallon's work for Sony Bravia. If you enter the word "advert" into Google, Sony's bravia-advert.com site pops up as the second result. It's not a paid link, merely a measure of the brand advertising's popularity.
Competition from Wieden & Kennedy's "Joga Bonito" for Nike and WCRS's "118 team" ads for 118 118 was fierce, but great creative work, proven sales success and a glittering array of awards means Fallon has scooped a rare double this year - Campaign of the Year and Agency of the Year.
The past year has presented a number of challenges for Sony Electronics as City analysts questioned if the company would ever recover from the crisis caused by a sharp drop in its share price last year.
Sony had already lost the portable MP3 player market to Apple, so it was vital for it to be strong in what will be the biggest consumer electronics battleground for the next few years - the high-definition LCD TV market.
Bravia's launch needed to drive strong sales in a market that lacks differentiation: the key players still all offer comparable quality and strikingly similar design features. A fierce price war meant that Bravia televisions were at least £200 more expensive than the competition when the brand launched.
The marketing tasks were simple but challenging: make Bravia famous and establish it as the leading TV brand. The strategy? Own the high ground, avoid any technobabble, establish Bravia as the ultimate consumer LCD TV and offer a short-cut to the benefit of the brand over its competition.
The "colour like no other" campaign broke in November 2005, but the strategy only really came into its own this year. "Balls" garnered a string of awards and was eventually given a sequel - "paint". Bravia's ownership of the high ground - both in advertising and the TV market - has been unassailable over the past year.
"Colour like no other" was developed as an integrated idea by Fallon in conjunction with Sony's media agency, OMD, and the communications planning outfit Naked.
The simple message was designed to work across territories and media. It launched with a teaser campaign, followed by TV and cinema spots, and was backed up with print, PR, an online "making-of" film, digital escalator panels and point of sale materials.
In both of its executions, "colour like no other" was launched in three phases. First came hype. Amateur footage taken of the paint detonation in Glasgow was posted on websites, including Flickr, YouTube and Google Video.
Next, the launch. Both TV ads broke in the half-time break of Champions League games. The launch spots were spread online and then backed up with a showcase phase in which the ads ran in "sit-forward" TV shows and films.
The results were almost instantaneous. In the six weeks that followed the launch of the "balls" ad, Sony's share in the LCD TV market was the highest it had been in two years. In April, five months into the campaign, the Financial Times reported that the Sony Electronics business was starting to turn around. The paper cited the Bravia campaign as one of the key factors.
So far, "balls" has been viewed more than four million times on YouTube, making it the most popular ad in the history of the site. OMD estimates that the total number of views of the ad online as more than seven million. "Paint" appears to be emulating its predecessor's success, with Sony now the leading manufacturer in the LCD TV market and still charging a premium for its sets.
Nike The company had it all to do for its World Cup effort. Over the years, it has achieved a number of successes, despite not being an official sponsor. The objective in 2006 was to reinforce Nike's position as the leading football brand in Europe, and boost its credentials as a defender of the beautiful game.
The problem MindShare, the company's media agency, had was that the message had to be simple enough for football-crazy kids here to identify with, while still delivering on the objective of shifting perceptions.
Titled "Joga Bonito" (Portuguese for "beautiful game"), and revolving around a series of expensive-looking TV spots from Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam, the campaign spawned some clever ideas that helped amplify above-the-line spend. First, MindShare created the Joga 3 football tournament, pitting two teams of three against each other on a small pitch and using the harder Futsal ball. The agency then worked to build interest around the culmination of the event - a live final at the then home of Arsenal football club, Highbury.
From running bespoke poster ads near the schools of regional tournament winners, to having a voicemail from Wayne Rooney sent to participants' mobiles, interest levels were boosted by clever media planning. To cash in, MindShare also struck a deal with Sky, which saw the broadcaster produce a series of DALs (digital advertiser locations) via its red-button technology, to broadcast the Joga 3 final live and run some great branded content.
More than 40,000 kids took part in Joga 3, more than 500,000 people watched the core piece of branded content (a show about the soul of Brazilian football), 300,000 visited the DALs and 900,000 viewers watched the final.
118 118 The major challenge facing WCRS for 118 118 has changed dramatically since the launch of the company three years ago, when two geeky runners captured the interest of the general public.
Mark Horgan, the chief executive of 118 118, says: "Competition has re-intensified, and the national interest in the deregulation has decreased. The 118 numbers are no longer new - they are maturing businesses."
This means fresh communications are more essential in a low-interest, low-outlay area.
WCRS's strategy had to change to reflect the fact that the brand was not a new-starter, but was now a market leader. It did this by extending the creative idea while exploiting different media channels.
The 118 118 boys went in a new direction with the creation of the 118 Team (including an ad with a junior Mr T having his hair cut).
However, the brand was also extended to incorporate a viral - a hilariously funny spoof of the Honda "choir" ad, which was seen by more than 1.2 million people.
Part of the strategy was to invest in idents, putting the brand next to Lost, one of Channel 4's most popular programmes at the time, and giving it the chance to deliver more than 50 separate product messages. There was also a media-first of six sonic bus shelter posters that had the boys talking to anyone who walked past.
The campaign has succeeded in pushing the company's preferred choice status from 37 per cent to 57 per cent, while BT has gone from 27 per cent to just 29 per cent. It achieved this by refusing to conform to the established norm of over-spending on its marketing communications strategy.
Recent winners: Stella Artois (2005); Honda (2004); 118 118 (2003); John Smith's (2002); ITV Digital (2001)
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2006
- February: 2006 "Balls" makes its debut on London Underground digital escalator panels. A 30-second bespoke ad runs on a 60-second loop at Tottenham Court Road.
- March: "Balls" wins a gold at the BTAAs and platinum at the Creative Circle Awards.
- May: The awards success continues with two D&AD silvers. Clemmow Hornby Inge launches a spoof of the ad for Tango, using fruit instead of balls.
- June: "Balls" walks off with two film golds at the Cannes Lions.
- July: Jonathan Glazer is lined up to direct "paint", the sequel to "balls". He shoots the ad in Glasgow later that month.
- August: YouTube, Flickr and Google Video feature amateur footage of "paint"; Sony posts more footage on the bravia-advert.com site.
- October: "Paint" launches in the Champions League football match between FC Copenhagen and Manchester United.
This article was first published on Campaign