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The Influencers

Hack is the New Black

INFLUENCER: Africa's Felipe Ribeiro predicts platform hacks will win big at this year's Cannes Lions

Hack is the New Black

Advertising has been trying to break paradigms for a long time to draw the attention of the public. In fact, this is the core of creativity in communication. But lately, we’ve witnessed increasingly large interest in breaking formats, in ideas that almost cross the border of legality.

I come from a generation that fed on the enchantment of so-called guerrilla marketing. The type of thing that took over the city, surprised passersby, acted like Banksy in an office. This time is over, but it has left some scars.

Nowadays, with more and more mediums to tell a story, the majority hasn’t had more than 20% of its potential used. In other words, there is a lot of room for deconstruction in each of them. And this paves the road for a term that's been popular since the '90s: hacking.

Only this time, we are not talking about computer geniuses sabotaging huge corporations. No, sir. We mean the term in its original meaning: hacking refers to reconfiguration or reprogramming a system in a way that hasn’t been authorised by its owner. In the case of advertising, we can substitute the owner for the competitor.

The height of hacking came in 2017, when Burger King became client of the year in Cannes, showing the world that Fernando Machado - not by chance president of the jury in 2018 - had apparently reached an infallible formula, fooling Google devices and leaving the competition speechless whenever the chance presented itself.

Whether it’s hacking systems, apps, programs, governments or whatever possible to deconstruct, hacking is a global tendency in communication. For this reason, to select a few works that I reckon will likely be winners in Cannes Festival 2018, I’ve decided to focus on this theme, as trendy as ever.


Burger King - Scary Clown Night

Hacking Halloween using an iconic character from the competitor.


Budweiser - Tagwords


Hacking the use of images to communicate the historical bond between the brand and the world of music.


Reporter Without Borders - The Uncensored Playlist

Hacking the censorship of dictatorship regimes using music streaming.


Trash Isles 

Hacking UN’s global legislations to clean the Pacific Ocean.


Tide - It’s a Tide Ad 

Hacking TV format in the airing of the biggest event in the planet.




Felipe Ribeiro is creative director at Africa

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Genre: Strategy/Insight