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Seamless and socially responsible: great digital work goes beyond technology

Judges celebrate how this year’s Pencil-winners integrated education, storytelling, and brilliant creativity in the Digital category

Journalist Amah-Rose Abrams led a discussion between panellists from the Digital jury. She was joined by Ogilvy Johannesburg Chief Creative Officer Kabza Moshapalo; RUN Chief Creative Officer Raymond Otene McKay; and Cheil Worldwide Global Creative Director Jax Jung.

They discussed how this year’s Digital entries shared new narratives, sparked fresh conversations, and proved that Pencil-winning work isn’t just about embracing the latest technology. 

Great digital work is seamless

Kabza Moshapalo, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy Johannesburg, chose Mojo Supermarket and Girls Who Code’s DojaCode as a favourite piece of work. The interactive experience turned Doja Cat’s Woman music video into a codeable experience, introducing visitors to CSS, Javascript and Python and encouraging girls to learn how to code.

Moshapalo described DojaCode as a succinct and standout idea, amongst a myriad of initiatives addressing female empowerment. More than that, he said, it made coding attractive in a seamless and intuitive way — allowing girls to participate, without asking them to do anything outside the norm.

“It’s attracting young girls who would never consider this before, so for me that’s the neat part of it,” he says. “Things like this have been done before where it’s actually [aimed at] more people already inclined to coding. So [bringing in an audience] that’s never considered it at all, that’s the neat trick here.”

Digital tools can help right wrongs

Dentsu Webchutney’s The Unfiltered History Tour resonated with RUN Chief Creative Officer Raymond Otene McKay, who described it as “hugely game-changing” and said he appreciated it from the perspective of an Indigenous person, as well as a creative.

The experience used augmented reality to show the real provenance of some of the British Museum’s disputed artefacts, with Otene McKay describing it as “a cheeky way to gift knowledge, and be able to tell the true story and the other side of the story”.

“With the swings happening with digital tools, we have access to right wrongs and bring access,” he says. “There’s this whole idea of NFTs within the museum and art gallery space being able to take digital images, and maybe there’s a conversation there between museums and those communities where objects and artefacts have been taken from.”

“Not just a powerful piece of work, he said it provoked feelings of “Oh man, I wish I’d done that piece”.

It’s not just about new technology

The Sick Beats airway clearance vest uses soundwave therapy in combination with users’ favourite tracks, making daily treatment more bearable for children with cystic fibrosis. Jax Jung, Cheil Worldwide Global Creative Director, chose it as one of her favourite Pencil-winners, praising a creative, storytelling-focused approach that more than made up for the fact that it didn’t use new technology.

“The technology isn’t so innovative, but the way they used it for this campaign doesn’t work without the innovation and the tech,” she said. “I thought this was a nice piece that really felt real and honest, and brings good to the world.”

“It doesn’t always have to be the newest thing when you win an award, it’s how you use it and who does it benefit - in this case for kids,” she added.


Digital takes the spotlight

This year’s Awards saw a huge influx of entries to the Digital category, perhaps, as the judges have pointed out, as a result of our greater reliance on technology following Covid. According to Moshapalo this is encouraging brands to connect with consumers in new ways in the digital realm and, as Jung pointed out, blurring the digital categories.

“I think the storytelling aspect has been pushed and become stronger, and I think it’s because during the pandemic there was this need for longer content,” she added.

“A lot of the ideas we’ve seen were very storytelling-driven, which is refreshing to see. [In the the past] you’d do a main campaign and digital was an adaptation and afterthought of that, whereas now you really see the digital campaign being the main source and there’s longer content and more stories to tell.”

This is from our series of Insight Sessions. Watch more jurors unpack the work that captured, provoked and entertained them here, including the Direction Jury here and the Packaging Jury here

Production: 90Seconds

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