Best Display Advertising Campaign: CM.com
We are pleased to announce the latest winner of Bannerflow’s quarterly best display campaign competition for 2020. Our competition highlights the very best display campaigns out there, focusing on the use of technology, design, and overall impact of an ad.
This quarter’s campaign is a great example of a strong message and animation combining to make something even more powerful. And the winner of the best display advertising campaign of summer 2020 was by conversational commerce company CM.com.
CM.com is a global leader in cloud software for conversational commerce and it’s winning display campaign was designed to help launch its latest mobile marketing platform.
Extraordinarily this winning campaign was CM.com’s first campaign built in Bannerflow! We spoke to CM.com Graphic Designer, Davey Vos, and Creative Director, Paul Moelands about the campaign. Plus, Anneloes van Vugt Content, Team Lead at DEPT Agency about developing the concept.
What was the purpose of this campaign and how did this translate into design challenges?
Paul Moelands, Creative Director at CM.com: The campaign was for the launch of our Mobile Marketing Cloud and we wanted to hit the ground running with an ad that would resonate with our target audience.
Our concept was turning an anonymous profile into a person with preferences and habits – moving from just a random data profile with nothing, to a real person.
Our audience knows data platforms, and assumes that marketing platforms are mostly anonymous – it’s point and shoot at a million people. We wanted to highlight this as a problem – one that our Mobile Marketing Cloud solution could solve.
Afterall, that’s the purpose of our platform. Mobile marketing cloud makes it possible for you as a company to talk to people with preferences – create mobile marketing campaigns that are relevant, personalised, and contextually make sense.
And that is basically the entire base of the campaign: going from old to new, going from anonymous to personalised.
Can you describe some of the technical details of this particular ad set?
Paul: For us it was important to have an attractive visual that would attract attention – and instantly be understood.
We also decided to animated the banner in such a way that the viewer would understand the steps towards personalised mobile marketing. It’s a 15 second storyline and visual approach explaining how you can go from this to that.
Essentially, we go from a flat stylistic shape to a human profile. And the little bit of animation we use helps to explain that process more clearly. In the past we’ve used animation for specific high profile projects but it was never really a first choice because of production times, costs and effort.
Which design challenges were the most satisfying to solve? How did Bannerflow help?
Davey Vos, Graphic Designer at CM.com: Paul firstly created the master creative in Bannerflow and then I created all the sizes and variations from there. We then scaled the campaign to multiple languages, including language variations in Dutch, English, and Spanish.
In total we made around 30 variations. We have from “Data to Diane”, “to Dave” and “to Danny”, etc. So we have three sets and Diana is one part of it.
In the past I only created static banners and this was my first time trying animation in Bannerflow. I didn’t have a lot of animation experience. Fortunately, the program was fairly easy to use and it didn’t take too much time to produce the animated banner set.
This campaign was the first project for me using Bannerflow. In fact, in our product demo we actually practiced using Bannerflow for the campaign. Looking back on it, this was quite helpful because we were able to quickly create and be more efficient when making all the different sizes of the banners.
Wait, this was your first campaign in Bannerflow?
Davey: Yes! In the beginning it took some getting used to, but like I said, it was a good exercise to go live with a big campaign in a new tool we hadn’t quite mastered yet. It was a great choice, but it took a lot of effort!
Paul: I almost cried a couple of times in the beginning from pressing the wrong buttons! But from then on it was an easy process. I think Davey really picked it up and made it work – now we’re happy using the platform.
It really eliminates the process of having to make all the different versions within Photoshop. It makes everything scalable and translatable, giving us more time for creativity than just the factory work.
What did you use for your display campaigns before Bannerflow?
Davey: Well, I started two months ago at CM.com and then we already used Bannerflow. Before then CM.com used Adobe Photoshop and every banner had its own Photoshop documents. With Bannerflow we can now work a lot faster and more efficiently. This allows us to focus more on the context of what we want to tell the audience.
Are the assets for this ad set custom built or are they part of a bigger media campaign?
Paul: We worked with a creative agency called ‘DEPT’ to help generate the campaign concept. Together we workshopped how we would talk about all the pains and needs. Including how we could hit our message with the target audience.
Anneloes van Vugt, Content Team Lead, DEPT Agency: Together with CM.com we aimed to create a campaign which catered to the needs and wants of the target audience, in terms of design and messaging.
Through quantitative and qualitative insights we tried to get inside the heads of the target audience, thinking about how the Mobile Marketing Cloud could really help them excel in their work. We then translated this into a striking pay-off and corresponding assets.
We’re super proud of this strong campaign we created together. 100% on point from a brand and audience perspective!
Paul: From there we created a basic visual, which we then translated into our new visual language. This is an extension of our new brand identity we developed in the summer together with ‘Studio GAAR’ and will be embedded across all marketing campaigns and throughout the entire company.
In general, how do you tackle the design process of building display campaigns?
Davey: We have a team focused on the Mobile Marketing Cloud. All Mobile Marketing Cloud’s visuals are created by our team. I am the Graphic Designer for this team and I work in close cooperation with our Creative Director, Paul. He is our final design check before we go live.
When working on the design process which other tools, beyond Bannerflow, do you use?
Davey: Apart from Bannerflow, mostly Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign – but now it’s mainly Bannerflow for display ads.
What is it about the Bannerflow platform that makes designing ads easier?
Davey: At the beginning it was a struggle because our initial ad designs were in Photoshop which we then needed to push to Bannerflow. Plus, they were of course animated, and the software was still new to us. However, now we start building out ads straight in Bannerflow and import the different graphical elements to bring the ad to life. Importing the assets is pretty great.
We did push some changes to the live ads too and that was pretty easy. I just made the change and Bannerflow republished to all the different sizes, instantly to Google.
Paul: I think we’re working much more efficiently now – especially in terms of localisation. We’re a global company, with offices across the world. Therefore, we need to produce campaigns that are sensitive to cultural and gender differences.
Using Bannerflow it’s much easier to duplicate a campaign, change the imagery, or message, to match cultural preferences. Today, I think we save roughly to 50 to 70% of the time it normally took to build a campaign – just by using Bannerflow.
Are there any particular favourite features in Bannerflow that have helped you take your ad designs to a higher level?
Paul: It’s a flexible system that gives you a lot of room to be creative. The production part lets you think more creatively and act faster. I think the widgets are good too and that’s something we still need to dive more into.
In the long term it would be great to engage viewers with interactivity in our ads – maybe even incorporating elements of our own products into our banners.
As a designer, how do you continue to find inspiration for your work?
Davey: That’s a good question. I think my creativity mostly comes from my environment, from talking to people or watching how other companies design something. It gives me a lot of creative input, and I use it to think about how I can create something, and just how I can implement those choices in my work.
Paul: For me, it’s very similar. I’ve always had a visual mind, and I dream of pictures and solutions to problems. But it always comes down to how can I get my message across? How can I take the exact points I’m trying to make and put them into a visual?
And that could literally happen when I’m driving down the street and see a building that has a specific architecture – and that could trigger my creativity. The same goes for our new visual language and how we’ve been working with an external agency, turning an idea, into a concept, and being inspired by each other to take it to the next level.
How everything comes together and works as a whole, from all the angles, from all perspectives – everyone and everything building together – that’s magic. And If we can achieve that with the people in the team, with people like Davey and our design team, that inspires me. And if we can work on something together and make it grow then I’m a happy camper.