The creative brief was to highlight the fresh, local, made-from-scratch food that has transformed the Hard Rock menu over the last few years — and to do so without surrendering any of the brand’s rock edge. The result: “Meet Our Other Rock Stars,” new 60 and 30-second spots, written and created by Duncan/Channon, directed by Henry Hobson and produced by Alive and Well. The media brief was to reach 33 million people in 53 countries — and to do so without surrendering much of the brand’s marketing budget. The result: Hard Rock crafted a partnership with Facebook to hit users while they’re trash-talking with friends before, during and after the first streaming Super Bowl. Betting line: Hard Rock overwhelmingly favored to win.
“This is the toughest award in advertising, because it recognizes an agency’s overall creative excellence,” said Chuck Porter, chairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky. “To win an O’Toole, one hot idea won’t cut it, an agency has got to be the best over and over and over again.”
Duncan/Channon was this year one of only five finalists for the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ O’Toole Award in the Small Agency category, the third consecutive year the agency has been so honored. (See 2009, 2008.) And because, as Chuck said, this so-called “biggest award in advertising” is not just for one client or one piece of work, congratulations are due once more to the entire D/C staff, the best creative, account, media, planning and production team in the business. Or at least top five. And congratulations as well to Mono, who took top honor.
In a well-deserved tribute to the agency’s interactive team, Duncan/Channon is being honored in this year’s Communications Arts Interactive Annual for the Hard Rock Booth Interactive.
Judge Rachel Pasqua pretty much hit the nail on the head when she described the interface, created for the new generation of Hard Rock Cafes, as “an innovative combination of social and touchscreen technology with a tactile twist on the old restaurant booth jukebox that lets users thumb through the memorabilia and cast their vote for the next video.”
Also honored in the CA Annual is the Rock Wall™, a sister project designed and developed by Obscura Digital which, like the booth interface, builds on the D/C-created Hard Rock memorabilia website. Big ups to them, to D/C’s development partners at Vertigo, and especially to Joe Tenczar and the Hard Rock team.
Hard Rock runs a massive video system to coordinate the displays throughout its cafes, hotels, casinos and live venues worldwide. Duncan/Channon collaborated with artist Erik Natzke to create a series of trippy, dynamically-generated animations to display when music other than music videos is playing (live bands, a DJ, etc.). Animations are paired randomly with whatever music happens to be playing at the time and each resolves into a specific visual revelation. Here’s a six-minute sample (you’ll have to supply your own mushrooms).
Music: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Mysteries” / Cut Chemist, “(My 1st) Big Break” / Manchester Orchestra, “The Only One”
“You’re from California, and you came to Nashville for vacation???”
Why, yes. Yes, I did. The cashier at the coffee shop asked that with a note of disbelief. But it’s true. This year vacation took me to Tennessee, namely Nashville, Memphis and whatever towns happened to separate the two (I do remember seeing a sign to turn off for Oakland, and wondered momentarily whether it was all just a dream).
You know those folks who take long vacations and feel the need to explain that it’s their first vacation in five years/ten years/since I can’t remember when/since I started working here/since I got married/since I had kids/since I moved to California/since I moved back to New York. (Or, as the Hold Steady put it in “Chill Out Tent”: “…it was his first day off in forever, man.”)
Well, I won’t put you through that. I was away from the office for two weeks. And fuck it.
I also won’t try to explain that the vacation actually started out as work. Because you’d never believe that attending Hard Rock’s concert series in Hyde Park is work. Certainly not if you were there, what with the amazing VIP tent and free food, booze and service all day, not to mention guys named Springsteen, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and the Killers onstage. Not to mention the after-parties.
Yeah, I won’t even try. It was work. It was fun. And it rapidly devolved into pure, stout-soaked sloth.
This just in: Duncan/Channon has been awarded two prestigious National ADDY Awards, for the much-honored, Deep Zoom-based Hard Rock memorabilia website (plus embeddable widget) and our own new, blogalicious site. Competing against, well, just about every ad agency in the entire ad universe, digital and analog, all of whom had received either silver or gold in regional ADDYs in order to qualify, D/C took home hard-earned silvers in the categories of Consumer Website and Interactive Self-Promotion. Hooray for brilliant ADDY judges.
The groundbreaking, Deep-Zoom-able Hard Rock Memorabilia website and widget – conceived and designed by D/C and built by Vertigo – have been designated an Official 2009 Webby Honoree in two categories: Music and Best Use of Photography.
As the Webby folks explain, Honorees are the “top 15% of all work entered that exhibits remarkable achievement… with nearly 10,000 entries received from all 50 states and over 60 countries.”