Yes we Cannes

June 25, 2014

I was lucky enough to spend a few days at the Cannes Lions Advertising festival this year. Every delegate at Cannes has their own agenda, a cabana they must run, a beach party they must attend, a client they must entertain, a celebrity they must meet or a seminar they just can’t miss – regardless, everybody takes something home. Luckily I had a healthy mix of all of the former and the net result being that I came back revitalised and inspired as to what really is possible in our industry, how we can adapt simplistic everyday actions into inspiring presentations or dynamic marketing strategies.

It is difficult to pinpoint one seminar as my all-time favourite, but here are some of my personal highlights.

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief operating Officer at Facebook spoke about how with the advent of mobile lie opportunities for brands to start making advertising personal again, whilst I do agree there is a niche here to explore,  one would question  what processes are going to be put in place to protect consumers privacy, this will be key in attracting advertising revenue. Beyond this Sheryl spoke passionately about her stance of women in the work place; she gave an analogy of how an assertive woman in the workplace is viewed as “Bossy” but on the flip side how an assertive male is viewed as “The Boss”.

Ash Bendelow ,Managing Director of Brave advertising agency took us through an inspiring talk about what brands can learn from Las Vegas. Ash talked through how casinos’ combine experience, innovation, data and magic – and how this sophisticated thinking can be applied outside the Las Vegas bubble.  Vegas do three things really well that we could all learn from, principles that could be applied to a car brand, a cereal brand or any other brand 1) Real Time Marketing 2) Personal Context and Adaptive Behaviour 3) Convergence of social, mobile and local.  These three things all interweave to deliver a positive guest experience built around you; your preferences and your mood. Gary Loveman was the man who set the blueprint for how Vegas Casinos are operating now,  a man with a background in economics, he was a professor of economics in Harvard; Loveman became  COO for Harrahs in 1998 with no experience other than finance. What Loveman did next was revolutionary – he interacted and reacted to the casino’s guests and adopted a strategy of becoming a customer centric and data rich business.

This seminar certainly left me thinking outside of the box and realising that in our marketing we should all be a bit more Vegas.  What goes on in Vegas shouldn’t stay in Vegas.

The last highlight for me was a session delivered by James Kirkham, Global Head of Social and Mobile Leo Burnett and co-founder of digital strategy agency Holler. Kirkham was joined by the charismatic Jonathon Fraser, Holler’s Global Head of Strategy and Ideas. They explored the similarities between the best creative planners and the best stand-up comedians. Uncovering insights, crafting insights to meet a brief and the delivery of your thinking to clients – all of these elements can hinge on unlocking the inner comedian within yourself. They provided us with a genuinely hilarious case study – Harvey Nichols were looking to cut through the market with their Christmas campaign, to appeal to women as the one stop shop for all their Christmas attire. Harvey Nichols poked fun at the typical cliché of “The Walk of Shame”, displaying images of dishevelled women making their way home after a festive night. Harvey Nichols then turned this socially shameful walk for women into a tongue and cheek display of how to avoid the Walk of Shame and to make it a walk of pride and finishes the ad with a woman strutting home in a dress she’s not embarrassed to be seen in the next day. Interesting what planners can learn from stand-up comedians, all planners at Holler are sent on an intensive stand-up comedy workshop!

All in all, an inspiring and re-energizing experience with creativity oozing from every corner. As Einstein once said “creativity is intelligence having fun”.






These events have more in common than one might think. Not alone the obvious fact that they both begin in the next few days, they are also the biggest events within their respective fields.A Cannes Lions is the most prestigious award a person within the creative communications industry can hope to win, while the FIFA World Cup is the biggest tournament any aspiring footballer could dream of winning.

So who are the big winners going to be this year?

Cannes Lions

On a weekly basis we admire best in class ideas from around the world in our Ignition 5 sessions and often we see the cream of this crop rise to the top when the Cannes Lions come around. Some of the favorites to pick up golds are Guinness for their “Made of More” campaign featuring “The Sapeurs”, British Airways real time digital outdoor #lookup campaign and Volvo Trucks “The Epic Split ft. Jean-Claude Van Damme”.

In terms of creative, these are some of my favorites but only time will tell if these campaigns get the recognition I believe they deserve.

World Cup

Brazil – The bookies’ favorite has to get a serious nod; they have home advantage as well as a cracking team. Interestingly, Goldman Sachs have created a statistical analysis which suggests the home side are favorites for a reason.

As usual with large sporting events, brands have come in their droves to get a slice of the World Cup audience. Nike have two new World Cup specials, and there are brilliant new ads from Adidas and Beats by Dre. A collection of the best ads can be found here.

Here at OMD, we have been working on our World Cup impact reports. We are monitoring each country’s interaction with the event and creating global reports on how brands and consumers are interacting, viewing and engaging with the World Cup across every market. If anyone is interested in getting their hands on this report be sure to get in touch and we can share it with you.

Best of luck to all the teams and agencies in both competitions!






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