Facebook Thumbstoppers announces 16 winners at Asia’s biggest summit for mobile-first creativity



Facebook India has announced 16 winners at its inaugural Thumbstoppers Summit, the biggest platform in Asia for creativity in mobile video advertising, held in Mumbai — Rachita Kotwal from FoxyMoron, Samriddhi Shah from Wunderman Thompson, Shib Nath Sen from Wunderman Thompson, and Swati Subramanian from Leo Burnett were the top 4 winners in no particular order. Fourteen other winners were also announced across four categories:  Breaking Stereotypes/Social Causes; Little, Big Moments in Life; Start a Habit; and Products You Love.

Rachita Kotwal of @befoxy, Samriddhi Shah and Shib Nath Sen of @WunThompson India, Swati Subramanian of @LeoBurnettIndia are top 4 winners at @Facebook #Thumbstoppers @secondatticus Click To Tweet

The Challenge saw more than 3500 entries from across the country. Of these, 60 were from brands from across verticals and industries with six films from Dove, Sofy, Vodafone, Unilever Sustainability, and Royal Enfield making it to the top 16 films that were recognized and unveiled for the first time

To participate, entrants were asked to pick a category and describe the human behaviour they wanted to change. Entrants were asked to submit a script of not more than 10 seconds.

All 16 winning thumbstopping scripts were commissioned and shot by Facebook, which entrusted celebrated Ad-film maker Prakash Verma to create them.

The top four winners stand a chance to travel to Cannes next year.

The Facebook Thumbstoppers summit

The summit was attended by personalities from the advertising and marketing fraternities, including chief creative officers of leading agencies, creative professionals, numerous brands, leading Bollywood directors Kiran Rao and Zoya Akhtar, and rapper Naezy to connect, celebrate, and be inspired by creativity in mobile video advertising.

image- Ajit Mohan - MD and VP - Facebook India addressing the audience at the Thumbstoppers Summit -MediaBrief
Ajit Mohan. Keep it short. Keep it long

The Facebook Thumbstoppers Summit opened with a keynote by Ajit Mohan, MD and VP of Facebook India, talking about the future of video in India, and how Facebook and its family of apps are driving curated video experiences, and enabling social video in the country giving businesses and people a range of ways to create, express, and communicate.

What are Facebook Thumbstoppers?

Launched in May, Facebook Thumbstoppers has inspired the advertising and marketing community to create short-form mobile video ads that are built for the medium rather than adapted from other formats.

Thumbstoppers are those stories that can stop thumbs from scrolling and evoke emotions with the potential of changing human behavior in less than ten seconds.

Since its launch, Thumbstoppers has seen leading creative agency Wunderman Thompson, film director and producer Kiran Rao, and ad-filmmaker Prakash Verma make Thumbstopper films to help pivot the advertising and marketing communities to embrace mobile-first storytelling.

In just five months, tens of brands and thousands of creative professionals from across the country have adopted and shown support for Thumbstoppers as the new way of video advertising in the age of mobile.

Thumbstoppers: Just 10 seconds to change human behavior

That’s right. Short stories that stop thumbs and move hearts in under 10 seconds, is what Facebook Thumbstoppers is all about. It is also about orienting young creative professionals for the tiny attention spans their messages will receive to make an impact and be remembered or be trashed.

As Facebook Thumbstoppers puts it, the program was launched in partnership with leaders from the advertising industry to transform storytelling in advertising. ’Feel inspired with storytelling that can evoke an emotion in under 10 seconds and in turn trigger a positive change in human behaviour – be it breaking stereotypes, starting a new habit or the little big moments in life that leave you changed, for the good’. 

And to help you create 10-seconders that’ll nail this difficult ask, here’s what you need to remember.

Four things to bear in mind for mobile-first video creativity

  1. Less is more: Keep it short but impactful. Capture attention in the first second itself.
  2. Design for sound off, delight for sound on: Create impactful visuals that are mute-resistant. Visuals that grab attention in mute so that viewers are forced to unmute the video.
  3. Keep it long. In dimension: Cater to the vertical full-screen format of videos.
  4. Make it purposeful: Undo conventions, point taboos, break rules to restore order. Think of the greater emotional, moral, environmental good.

Sandeep Bhushan, Director and Head, Global Marketing Solutions (GMS), Facebook India, said, “Video is central to our vision for India, and how we are building for people, communities, businesses in the country. From In-stream on Facebook to Stories on Instagram, there are multiple video ad formats on Facebook that can be used by both large and small businesses to reach their consumers, and drive the desired business results.

“Thumbstoppers is the most effective way to do storytelling for mobile video advertising, and it’s been heartening to see the marketing and advertising industry create and produce such inspiring Thumbstopping work in just five months,” Bhushan said.

image-Sandeep Bhushan - Director and Head GMS - Facebook India - and Zoya Akhtar discuss reimagining storytelling at the Thumbstoppers Summit-MediaBrief
Sandeep Bhushan, Director and Head GMS – Facebook India, and film maker Zoya Akhtar discuss re-imagining storytelling at the Thumbstoppers Summit. Pics: Facebook. Reproduced with permission

The Summit also served as the concluding event for Thumbstoppers Challenge, which had invited members of the creative and advertising community to submit their short-form video stories with the aim of inspiring creative professionals, brands, and agencies to build for mobile as a medium.

Kavita Nair, Chief Brand and Digital Transformation Officer, Vodafone Idea Ltd., said, “The ubiquitous reach of mobile phone makes it a very powerful tool for marketers. It gives brands more options to engage with the customers, hence, making mobile marketing a medium that the brands can no longer afford to ignore.

“Vodafone has long realized this need and has been innovative in its approach while telling stories which has helped create a bond with the customers. Thumbstoppers is bridging a key gap in the industry by inspiring creative talent and brands to rethink storytelling for mobile. We are extremely thrilled that Vodafone is among the top Thumbstopper films that got recognized today,” Nair said.

Thumbstoppers is an industry-first program in partnership with leaders from the advertising industry – Wunderman Thompson, Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, McCann MullenLowe Lintas Group, and Dentsu Aegis Network.

In the last five months, almost 1000 creative professionals have been trained from 56 agencies to help drive effective business results for their clients, and cater to wider consumer sentiment.

The panelists at the summit spoke on different facets of storytelling.

Sandeep Kohli, Executive Director, Personal Care, Unilever, and Kavita Nair spoke about  Brands in Culture: Thumbstop to future proof creativity.

Zoya Akhtar spoke about Reimagining Storytelling: How can you infiltrate popular culture and stay relevant at scale?

Naezy spoke about Reimagining Storytelling Through Music.

Kiran Rao not only spoke about Storytelling with Impact for Social Good, but also unveiled two new films for Facebook Thumbstoppers on Facebook’s Blood Donations feature.

Launched in 2017, the Blood Donation feature on Facebook connects people willing to donate blood with opportunities nearby. People can sign up as donors on Facebook, and get notified when blood banks in their area post about their blood requirements.

Facebook Thumbstoppers – All the winners

Top 4 winners

  1. Rachita Kotwal from FoxyMoron in the category ‘Products We Love’ for the film Fathers should be a part of their daughter’s menstrual journey
  2. Samriddhi Shah from Wunderman Thompson in the category Breaking Stereotypes / Social Causes for the film Just because home makers don’t earn, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be respected
  3. Shib Nath Sen from Wunderman Thompson in the category Start A Habit for the film Peeing on roads!, and
  4. Swati Subramanian from Leo Burnett in the category Little Big Moments for the film Divisive behaviour in our society towards people with different orientation / preferences.

12 other winners from across four categories

Akshay Seth and Ashok Karkala from Ogilvy, Nuzhath Enayath from Wunderman Thompson, Gitanjali Bhattacharya from Interactive Avenues, Anirudh Venugopal from Dentsu Webchutney, Yashaswini Singh from Wunderman Thompson, Chhavi Sahni from Ogilvy, Austin Dsouza from Ogilvy, Ravi Shankar Mishra from ADK Fortune, Rashmi Yadav from Dentsu Isobar, Akshay Seth and Chinmay Raut from Ogilvy, Sunetro Lahiri from The Glitch and Keshav Nagpal from The Glitch.

Facebook Thumbstoppers – The four categories

  1. Breaking Stereotypes/Social Causes:Stories that change human behaviour to challenge existing conventions, bend rules that hinder progressiveness, and break hardened stereotypes.
  2. Little, Big Moments in Life:Stories which redefine those everyday moments and relationships shared between people and provoke thoughts which trigger a change in relationships.
  3. Start a Habit:How big, small changes we wish to make in ourselves or society at large, which make us better, everyday.
  4. Products You Love:Think about products you love that inspire you to write stories for positive change in human behaviour.

Your thoughts, please