DDB's Fun Theory for Volkswagen Takes Home Cannes Cyber Grand Prix

Experiential and Viral Sensation Snags Coveted Honor at Premier International Award Festival

Jun 25, 2010, 10:53 ET from DDB

CANNES, France, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- DDB's "Fun Theory" campaign for Volkswagen has won the most prestigious award for Internet advertising in the world.  The groundbreaking movement created by DDB took home the Cyber Grand Prix at the 57th International Cannes Lions Advertising Festival last night, topping the festival's most celebrated viral campaigns.  The triumph comes on the heels of "Fun Theory's" Silver Lion win in the festival's PR category on Tuesday.

"The Cyber Grand Prix is an enormous honor and I'm incredibly proud of our team in Stockholm and partners at Volkswagen for prompting a movement that people truly want to play with, participate in and pass along," said Chuck Brymer, President and CEO of DDB Worldwide.  "'Fun Theory' is a terrific model for the kind of social creativity that will genuinely move the needle for brands in the coming years – ideas that change behavior and that consumers want to be a part of."

"Fun Theory" was born of the simple hypothesis that fun can change people's behavior for the better.  Last year, Volkswagen asked DDB to generate interest around BlueMotion Technologies, a series of cars and innovations that help reduce environmental impact without compromising performance or the joy of driving.  Recognizing that VW was making it easier to choose an eco-car by making them more fun to drive, DDB created a number of social experiments to test if other behaviors could be similarly changed through fun.  Rather than promote the theory through traditional advertising, the agency generated inventions in everyday settings and encouraged others to put the theory to the test with their own ideas.  

Experiments included initiatives like "Piano Stairs," in which a stairway next to a subway station escalator was rebuilt into a giant piano to test how many people would take the stairs instead of the escalator if the stairs were more fun.  (Sixty-six percent more people chose the stairs over the escalator than on an average day.)  In another test, a bottle recycling station was rebuilt into an arcade game, awarding points when participants tossed bottles into the correct hole when a light appeared.  (Close to a hundred people used the machine one evening, compared to only two people at a normal nearby recycling station.)  Each experiment was filmed, and a website, www.thefuntheory.com, was launched to showcase the experiments and invite people to compete for the Fun Theory Awards, awarded to the public's own inventions.

The campaign created a community and a movement around the Fun Theory, giving the concept a life of its own.  The films documenting the experiments generated over 12 million views on YouTube, "Piano Stairs" has become one of the most shared films online in viral history, and Volkswagen eco-car sales are up year over year.

"At the end of the day, our ambition is always to use our creativity to make ideas that work, that make an impact in people's lives and that meet a business challenge," added Brymer. "'Fun Theory' achieved all of that and found a surprising way to merge the digital with the social and the physical."

About DDB

DDB Worldwide Communications Group Inc. (www.ddb.com) ranks among the top five consolidated advertising and marketing services global networks in the world, according to Advertising Age. DDB also has been ranked as the most awarded agency network in the world by Creativity magazine, the International Advertising Festival at Cannes and The Gunn Report, among others. In 2009 DDB was named Global Network of the Year by Campaign magazine and Tribal DDB won Digital Agency of the Year from Media. With more than 200 offices in over 90 countries, the DDB Group believes that creativity is the most powerful force in business, building enduring and powerful brand experiences that create TalkValue™, influence social communities and drive results. DDB Worldwide is part of Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC).