By Susan Twombly, June 2009
The ‘You to the Power of 12 - U12’ competition gave creative people around the globe the chance to develop video ads for 12 of the world’s most popular brands.
Organized by MOFILM, a pioneer in user-generated ‘for the people, by the people’ advertising campaigns and films, the contest was hosted by director Spike Lee at the Cannes Lions 2009 Advertising Festival this month.
HP entrants were challenged to create a video ad showing how HP can help people ‘create the amazing’ to help make their dreams happen. Three contestants won the first round of judging – and the prizes and recognition that went along with that – and became HP brand winners.
Here’s what these winners had to say to HP.com’s Tori Brandow about the competition, their HP videos and the inspirations that drove their creativity. But first, we’ll hear from Jay Dark, worldwide mobile manager for HP corporate marketing, who worked with MOFILM to manage the program for HP.
HP.com: To start off, Jay, why was HP interested in participating in the MOFILM contest?
Jay: Two reasons. First and foremost is that HP is very interested in listening to and participating in conversations with our customers. With some of the newer emerging social networking channels, we have the means to do this to an extent we've never had before.
This allows us not only to extend the conversations to a much broader audience, but also to parts of the business that traditionally don’t get a chance to connect with customers, such as product development, design and, yes, even marketing.
We are very interested in hearing what our customers have to say about our products and brand and how they, in turn, would message and market to their friends, peers and the rest of the world. A message from a customer has the potential to be sincere and something that others can connect to and believe in, relative to something coming out of a large advertising agency.
HP.com: Absolutely. That can be very powerful.
Jay: Exactly. And secondly, the internet is all about democratizing content and talent. It frees up artists and talent from the constraints of agents or middlemen and gives them access to the world.
We've already seen this make a big difference in the music industry and it's progressing in other industries, such as book and magazine publishing, and with great new capabilities and business models supported by services, such as HP's MagCloud.
HP is a huge proponent of user-generated content and is excited to participate in an event where we can democratize advertising and give aspiring talent the opportunity to create amazing work and be seen and heard.
HP.com: And speaking of amazing work, let’s hear from our HP winners. Let’s start with Giovanni Caporioni of Italy.
Giovanni: Hello, everyone. That’s ‘ciao a tutti!’ in Italian.
HP.com: Hello, Giovanni, thanks for joining us. Giovanni, your video ‘Dream out of the Box’ won first place in the HP brand contest – and a trip for two to a future Sundance Film Festival. 1 Why did you choose to do an ad for HP?
Giovanni: I feel more clarity when I am under pressure, when there is a real challenge. So, I was sure that the contents of the HP brief, ‘Create amazing, realizing dreams,’ was something that would be possible.
“With technology from HP, a big agency and an individual can have almost the same opportunities.”
- Giovanni Caporioni, Italy
It was inviting a lot of international talent to participate and compete, so I was sure HP would receive a large amount of videos. I thought the HP brief would be a catalyst for creative energy for artistic expression all over the world. It would be a call to action for a lot of video artists, creative directors and photographers. So, I would have a lot of competitors. And then, I thought, ‘Good, let’s start to work and try to beat them!’
Also, I have to say that I really liked the nature of the contest. I liked the fact that, in phase one, everyone could participate. I also liked that there was a phase two, which was a professional evaluation of the results.
HP.com: I loved the message in your ‘Dream out of the Box’ ad: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Turn a bad situation into something great. Where did you get the inspiration for that, Giovanni?
Giovanni: The inspiration for my video was the difficult times our societies are living in right now – the economic downturn, the fear over the future. We feel that we are under pressure like never before. But, at the same time, we are living in a technological growth explosion. We know that this technology can make us free – our creativity, our human potential.
I chose to do an HP video because HP is one of the few global presences that is going in that direction. There are solutions for video creation and editing, digital printing and online publishing. With all these tools, everyone can finally free his or her inner creativity and abolish every barrier.
So, the magical box in my video starts as a problem, then it’s a solution. In the second part, it’s a symbol of HP as an ‘out of the box’ solution for creative needs. So, our box is a tool to make everybody creative, to help creative potential grow from a problem to a solution. And with HP, the creative part of yourself, which everybody has, is possible to develop. So these were the main elements of my inspiration.
HP.com: Well, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I definitely enjoyed the video you made. Giovanni, you were also one of the top 12 finalists in the MOFILM contest, which means that your video will be shown at the Cannes Festival. What will it be like to have your work seen by so many in the ad industry?
Giovanni: It’s a fantastic opportunity to compare yourself, a single creative individual, with the world’s best creative talents and organizations worldwide and in the industry.
With technology from HP, we all have almost the same opportunity, a big agency and an individual. So, I think it’s a democratic moment that the industry and an individual can compete in a worldwide contest. I am proud to be seen by so many big creative talents.
HP.com: Well congratulations, Giovanni, you’ve certainly earned it. We’re also here with Vineet Sawant of India. Welcome, Vineet.
Vineet: Hello, Tori. Namaskaar, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Vanakkam, Aadab. That’s ‘hello’ in the five languages of India.
HP.com: Well, thank you and welcome. Vineet, your ad ‘HP Couple’ was a great example of how people can use technology to connect with what’s important to them. It was very imaginative. How did you come up with that idea?
Vineet: Tori, I was actually in the process of connecting with a couple of people using email, text messages, phone calls and webcam chats and trying to meet people using a GPS and maps over the internet. I was wondering how could I possibly be able to incorporate everything under one roof, use everything at one point. That was actually when I read the HP brief and it all clicked together. I thought, ‘Why not use this idea, and execute it, and see what turns out?’
“Technology makes it possible to collaborate on projects. I can have someone doing music in Italy, someone writing my script in L.A., someone doing the animation in Tokyo. And I can shoot the entire film at home in India.”
- Vineet Sawant, India
HP.com: That’s great, Vineet. What was the one thing you were trying to convey about connecting?
Vineet: The HP brief was about ‘creating the amazing.’ For me, reaching people, connecting with people on a personal level – whether it’s keeping in touch meeting them physically or it’s travel – all of that is something that is extremely amazing. And technology would be a means to create the amazing. So, that is exactly what I was trying to portray through this film: that you have various technologies you can use to create what is amazing for you.
HP.com: Vineet, do you have an example in your life of how technology helped you connect with someone where, perhaps it was difficult before, and it made your life easier to be able to connect in this way?
Vineet: Tori, its’ really funny that you asked me this. Because the film I’ve just done is exactly what I went through a few days before I actually made it. I was in touch with someone through emails and we decided to meet. And we switched to keeping in touch via phone calls and sending text messages, saying, ‘OK, this is where I am.’
The thing is, we were meeting at a place where neither of us knew the area. That’s why we were using maps to figure out where each of us were. And in the end, we just gave up and went back and talked via video conference. So, when I was writing this down one day, I thought it would be a really nice way to put across an idea, and that’s when the HP contest happened.
Being able to speak to a person who is across a totally different continent was not possible earlier. And to have a very clear video voice chat wasn’t possible earlier. Being able to get in touch with them instantly, at the click of a button wasn’t a possibility. That’s something that technology has been able to do and something all of us should be really glad about.
HP.com: I agree, technology giving us the ability to collaborate is just amazing and it really brings us all closer together.
Vineet: Yes, technology – especially for people like me who are from the television or video production area and even fields across all industries – makes it possible to collaborate on a particular project. I can have someone who does the music in Italy and someone who is writing my script in L.A. And I can actually have it animated by someone sitting in Tokyo. And I can shoot the entire film back here at home in India and put the entire thing together in one day sitting in my house. That’s something that was not possible a few years back, like it is today.
HP.com: That sounds amazing that you have the ability to do that now. Vineet, why did you choose to do a video ad for HP?
Vineet: Amongst all the briefs that were there, for me, HP gave me the widest creative license possible. The HP brief only said, ‘create the amazing,’ that’s it. And I really liked that, it is very rare that you get a brief that is so simple from a client, I could interpret it any way I wanted to. That’s the reason I really enjoyed working on it. I had no limitations, it was a lot of fun.
HP.com: That’s great. And, what do you plan to do with the HP TouchSmart PC you won?
Vineet: Tori, I am really looking forward to using the TouchSmart technology. For quite a few years I used a mouse, then I switched to using a tablet and working with that. But now, being able to do stuff right on the screen, is something that is really exciting for me. Not just from a professional point of view, but in general, being able to surf the internet, find or browse stuff on the computer, play videos, listen to music – it’s a whole new visual technology and a whole new visual experience that I’m looking forward to.
HP.com: And, I’m looking forward to seeing what else you create. Thanks very much for the interview, Vineet. Now, I’d like to introduce our third winner of the initial HP judging, Filipe Mederiros of the U.S.
Filipe: Hello, everybody.
HP.com: Welcome. Filipe, your video ‘Dream the Amazing’ really drew us in with the beautiful shots of children dreaming. How did you come up with that creative approach?
Filipe: Well, after reading the HP brief, I really tried thinking about ad campaigns that HP had in the past. Usually, you see something that is out of the ordinary, with people pulling out things that have to do with their lives or what they create. To me, it seems like you have infinite possibilities with what you can do with your computer. So I tried to relate that to something else.
When I was thinking of this contest, I was at home with my brother’s baby, who did nothing but just look around. And I kept wondering, ‘What is he thinking about?’ Because, I go to art school, and sometimes I find myself just looking around, too, trying to come up with ideas. And, with this baby, I thought, ‘Wow, I’m sure he’s having thousands of thoughts in his head. If only he had the ability to use a computer.’
Because we are born with this great imagination, this great power. And as we grow and we learn about things out there, it starts to fade away. And that’s the point of the ad, which is: Sometimes you need the help of a machine, and this is the machine to help you imagine and create all that you imagine. And that’s what attracted me because, that’s something I’m so passionate about.
HP.com: So, it’s almost as if technology is a partner that helps express the creativity, the dreaming that was going on inside the individual all along.
Filipe: Yes, you can dream, and some things seem impossible. And in a literal way, it might be impossible. But you can bring those kind of things to life, whether you’re making a movie, a video or just editing a picture, and that’s something HP allows you to do. So, I thought it was a pretty cool idea to bring all of those together.
HP.com: What made you choose HP technology as the focus of your video?
Filipe: Ever since I was young, I always had an HP computer with me, it was always something that I worked with and something that I felt passionate about. Out of the 12 companies to choose from, I wanted a company that I had experience with, so the video wouldn’t feel forced or something I had never known, for credibility.
“Ever since I was young, I’ve always had an HP computer with me. It was always something that I worked with and something that I felt passionate about.”
- Filipe Mederiros, U.S.
So, that’s why I chose HP, because it’s a company that I’ve worked with in the past. And I’m actually proud to take my time to create something for HP, because it has helped me so much and I have a great interest in it.
HP.com: Well, thank you. Filipe, you’ve won an HP MediaSmart server. Do you have a lot of music, photos and videos to store? How do you think you’ll use it?
Filipe: When I found out that I had won third place in the contest, I thought, ‘Maybe next time we should have one of these around.’ It would allow me to put everything I create, which are usually big files that, in the end, might be too large or slow your computer down.
With a server, I won’t have to be dealing with that because I’ll be able to put all that I create on the server, where it will allow my computer to run better and faster, and also give me the protection I need for my files.
HP.com: That’s fantastic. Here’s a question for all of you: Many of the world’s top companies and leaders in the advertising industry have seen your videos now. What do you think all that will do for you in the future? Giovanni, any ideas?
Giovanni: I hope that it will give me the opportunities to make more creative videos right from the box. I’m sure I can do it. So, I hope HP and other companies will ask for it.
HP.com: That’s great, I hope so, too. And, Vineet, what about you?
Vineet: Any form of publicity is great publicity. And anytime I can actually show my work is great for me. So, it’s really exciting that people at that level are going to be seeing my work. That’s something that I hope will do a lot for me in the future.
HP.com: Good luck, I hope so, too. And, Filipe?
Filipe: It’s a little step ahead. Whether something comes out of this now or not, I know that my name will be seen by people working with the video. So, maybe in the future, if I have a creative opportunity like this, people will recognize my name because they’ve seen it before and this video will come up in their minds. It’s publicity, so it’s a great thing.
HP.com: Well, congratulations to all of the winners. For more information on the MOFILM “You to the Power of 12” video contest, visit
http://cannes.mofilm.com/hp/ for more about HP prizes.