M&C Saatchi take home Innovation Grand Prix at Spikes for Clever Buoy

M&C Saatchi has taken home the Grand Prix in the innaugural Innovation Spike at this year’s Spikes Asia awards for its Clever Buoy work for Optus.

The work saw the Sydney agency work with Shark Mitigation Systerms West Perth, Google Sydney, Fuel Communications Surry Hills and Optus to develop a new method of keeping humans and sharks apart.

The buoy, which is anchored to a seabed-located box that emits sonar signals into the surrounding water to identify shark-sized objects in the vicinity, draws on the Optus network to send an alert via satellite to the local lifeguard’s smartphone who would then sound an alarm alerting swimmers of the need to get out of the water.

In June, M&C Saatchi’s group innovation director Ben Cooper defended campaigns such as the Clever Buoy for Optus as more than scams to win awards.

Speaking at this year’s Mumbrella360 conference, Cooper who joined M&C Saatchi as innovation director in March, said: “That’s not what this is about. Clever Bouys started with a brief that was making the intangible tangible and showing the power of the network. What it’s ended up to be is a genuine product that can actually help us have a safer relationship with the beach.

“It will no doubt win awards but ultimately it is something that we want to see all the way through. What I’ve seen is an appetite from all of us to build something that will really make a difference and it just happened to come from an ad agency.

“I believe these ideas can come from anywhere. What we’re really good at is connecting audiences with ideas, we’re brilliant at that. The innovation needs to come from anywhere and we’re all responsible for driving these ideas. The truth is, in our world we probably will get awards for it and I applaud that because I think its award-winning stuff.”

The only other work to be awarded an Innovation Spike was Ogilvy & Mather Bangalore’s The Good Road for Castrol Activ/Banglore Traffic Police which was also given a Grand Prix.

Miranda Ward at Spikes Asia 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.