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The Influencers

Cannes Lions 2018 Predictions: Ashley Connors, Head of Strategy at StrawberryFrog

INFLUENCER: Sit back with a bottle of rosé and find out Ashley Connors' top picks

Cannes Lions 2018 Predictions: Ashley Connors, Head of Strategy at StrawberryFrog

The 65th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is upon us. For those of us in the media world, it’s like the summer party version of the Super Bowl. Where the best and brightest ideas rise to the top on the world’s stage. Reminding us all why we got into this business, and proving the impact that great creative and media can have on the world.

If you aren’t making the trip out to Cannes, here’s an invitation for you to sit back with a bottle of rosé (I recommend this awesome new brand) and enjoy some of the work contending for a Lion. We all bust our butts in this industry and deserve to share in the excitement and pride that comes with celebrating this type of work and our peers making it happen.

Before we dive in, I do want to call out a pattern I noticed among my Cannes predictions this year. Something special and unique that makes me love them even more. That is, that they all strive to leave things a little better than how they found them. They’re all wildly entertaining and creative in their own way, but what I find most important about each of them is that they inspire you to think differently about something. Each of them drive a behaviour change or get you to see something from a new perspective that ultimately help make the world a bit brighter. That’s what I love and admire about this body of work, and I think you’ll enjoy too!

First up: Mamma Helpe launches a beer for breast cancer patients. 

One of my favourites of the season is fairly new, I just caught wind of it this past week. I think it will win big in both the Health and Good categories.

Mamma Helpe, an organisation formed by breast cancer survivors partnered up with Zatec brewery to create Mamma Beer, the first and only beer for women with breast cancer.

Beer is recommended by doctors because of its vitamin content and ability to aid in digestion, but most are too bitter and contain alcohol so aren’t appropriate for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Mamma Beer was born out of this insight, and what a beautiful thing it is. The beer was carefully crafted and then distributed to oncologists, showcased at local beer festivals and managed to make it the first beer ever promoted in pharmacies. Here is a link to a recent article and video of the beer launch.

Next, I love these because they’re so weird, but so smart. We’d expect nothing less from IKEA with that Swedish, clever sense of humour. There’s two ideas here and they both deserve to get mentioned. Both ideas prove IKEA's mission of “creating products for your life… for every occasion.” Like urinating? YEP! IKEA has just made the first pee ad ever, and it’s amazing. Watch and enjoy for yourself.

The jig is that if you’re pregnant, a special discounted price shows up for you to purchase a crib. So raw, so simple. Such a genius, innovative and effective approach to product advertising and driving sales! 

Moving on from pee, let’s talk about another obscure idea, ASMR. ASMR is a massive and growing trend among younger audiences. IKEA discovered this trend (must have had a great strategist!) and dove right in to create Oddly IKEA, ASMR entertainment that’s actually a 30 minute product ad. You may fall asleep watching this, and that’s the point.

Again, such a smart way to integrate product into culture. Both of these should do well in the Reach category. Bra Jobbat, Ikea!

Moving on, who hates homework? Turns out maybe we have just been thinking about it wrong our entire lives. Apple has made me a believer of this in their new iPad/Apple Pencil film. 

The power of this commercial is in the insight - that kids don't hate homework, they hate being bored. Apple proves once again that their products are designed to make us think and act differently. The storytelling and production quality of this one will be a great contender in the Craft category.

Another contender in the Craft category has to be Nike’s Nothing Beats a Londoner. A prideful tribute to London, its people, culture, and athletes. What’s extra special about this film is that Nike actually went out on the streets, talking to hundreds of kids to find out who their London heroes are in sport, in music, in real life. Then they featured those people in the film. Not the superstars, but the everyday people that make London what it is. 

Moving on to one of the toughest questions ever, what’s cuter, a baby or a puppy? Well Pedigree thinks puppy, and after this campaign we might agree.

From New Zealand, The Pedigree Child Replacement Program is one of my favourites for the Reach category. Rather than talking about Pedigree’s dog food, they’re tapping into a mindset of a dog owner, and having fun with it. In a lighthearted and cheeky tone, Pedigree is targeting empty nester parents with a message of “when your kids move out, move on.” Taking a common life stage that can be sad and replacing it with a lot of fun, creativity and laughter, all with the dog at the centre of the heart. It’s a great idea, and executed brilliantly with the TV, digital experience and website all coming together. Whoever the copywriter is on it deserves their own Lion! Ruff Ruff.

Now, talking about the Entertainment category, I think there’s one clear winner here… It’s a Tide Ad. 

It’s the most product centric product ad possible, but executed so brilliantly that it is also the most entertaining… and true! It creates an entirely new creative format where you are almost being subliminally tricked in some way, but you’re okay with it.

I think the absolute best part of this entire TV spot is when David Harbour inquisitively asks us, “So, does this make every Super Bowl ad a tide ad?” And answers, “I think it does, watch and see.” AND HE’S FREAKEN RIGHT! Anytime I see clean clothes on TV now I think it’s all because of Tide. They win, and they will keep on winning with this one. They owned the Super Bowl and I expect them to take home a few Cannes Lions as well. 

Finally, one of my favourites of the year is The Indoor Generation, brought to us by The Velux group, of Denmark.

If there was ever a time we needed a reminder to get off our cell phones, screens and butts, it’s now. Recent studies have proven the link between excessive social media/screen time and rise in teen anxiety and depression. Similarly, the air inside our homes is up to 5x more polluted than the air outside, causing harm to our bodies and minds when we spend 90% of our life indoors. We have become The Indoor Generation and it is affecting our health and well-being. Here is a window company taking on such a huge social issue, but doing it in such a creative, narrative driven way. The short film is told by a charming and blunt little girl who tells you like it is. This campaign should and could take home a Lion in a number of categories, and most importantly get people to open up their doors, windows and eyes!

Well, that’s a wrap! By now I hope you’re halfway through that bottle of wine, and maybe just a little more proud to be a citizen of this crazy ad world! Cheers to all our peers and friends who made this awesome work.

Ashley Connors is Head of Strategy, StrawberryFrog

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Genre: Strategy/Insight