Blue Thinking at Cannes: “That’s F*cking Cool”
Scratch away the magnums of rosé, exclusive villa parties and never-ending queues of people along the Croisette and what you discover is still a beating heart of creativity - welcome to Cannes Lions!
This strange mix of decadence and original content - at times nestled in backroom corridors, beach cabanas and roof top terraces - Cannes still represents a forum where the great and good come to talk about what drives the industry (and it ain’t linseed oil, I can tell you!). Never more so was a sea of change apparent than in the Outdoor category which this year (like most) firmly took centre stage. From the epic tale of McCann New York’s ‘Fearless Girl’ to Twitter San Francisco’s political debate (featuring the stellar line up of Putin, Trump and Clinton!). We attempt here to unpick what made this year so exceptional and what were the central themes and key learnings.
Social conscience – Travellers BEWARE! The most contentious of themes is here to lure unsuspecting brands into this trap. Get it wrong (as so many did in 2016/17) and the backlash can overwhelm any, and all, previous work (lest we dwell on the Kardashian Pepsi ad!). But when brands do get it right then it truly can deepen trust and relationships with audiences. Take Dentsu Inc. Tokyo’s ‘Second Life Toys’ as a prime example (Silver). At this point I’d also recommend looking at our last newsletter around our Bumblebee proposition and getting in touch.
Illustration – The economy is wavering; we’re coming out of the EU and there’s not enough housing/quality air/nurses (delete as appropriate), so it's unsurprising that the creative community have, in this turmoil state, created a method by which audiences can escape and transcend into another worldly state. The rise of illustration in OOH had a deep rooted childlike appeal (certainly to me anyway) that made me smile and appreciate the craft. Enter brands like Getty Images, PS4, and the phenomenal Wing New York’s ‘Liga de arte’ (which won Bronze), Prolam Y&R Santiago’s ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ for Greenpeace and the unnerving ‘Innocence en Danger’ by Publicis Conseil Paris - a welcome trend that I hope continues.
Topical – Like social conscience, brands getting topical comes with a health warning. Be aware, don’t be hasty and use (as in the case of a lot of the winners) photography. If you’re talking about real people or events then use them, but stay relevant to the brand. Keep the execution simple and don’t use unnecessary copy when visuals can do the work for you. This year there were over 20 entries featuring Trump alone, so many in fact that there could have been a separate category (a scary thought!). A great example here was Aeromexico.
In the words of OOH head judge and Publicis Global Chief Creative Officer, Bruno Bertelli: “Outdoor creates iconicity for brands, it makes brands famous. DOOH adds a new layer of relevance that focuses on the customer.”