Liking, Sharing Is Old News; The New Creatives Are All About Doing, Making …

27 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Campaigns with a cause score big at Cannes ad festival.

At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, we’re seeing a theme emerge that no one within a 10-kilometer radius of this French outpost’s creative celebration can deny. Campaigns that promoted the strength of women, encouraged Cambodians to cook in a way that increased iron levels and highlighted a fluorescent spray that kept bicyclists safe are among the cause-related campaigns that have won the prestigious Grand Prix award, which is considered an Oscar in the advertising and marketing world. The Glass Lion, established this year, recognizes work that highlights issues of gender inequality or prejudice and attempts to shift views towards a more equal attitude. The kick-off video in the campaign showed young women and boys moving in awkward, weak ways when asked to run, throw and fight “like a girl.” Then, young girls who weren’t aware that “like a girl” could be a negative stereotype were asked to physically show what that phrase meant to them.

The fatal car accident involving a Google executive and Twitter’s gleeful smuttering over a couple caught eloping on the red carpet after one too many melon balls overshadowed much of the creative powwow that is this Mad Men sur la mer. A total of six Gold Lions were awarded in the category, with five of those going to not-for-profit organizations, including the National September 11th Memorial & Museum, the Mexican Red Cross, Japan’s Sport Council and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The campaign, directed by Maged Nassar and Tameem Youness, consists of several street interviews in which Egyptian men of different ages are asked about their mother’s names. And we’re doing both with singular, powerful, creative concepts that propel masses of consumers to actively change their existing beliefs, and, more importantly, behavior. To follow the festival on Twitter is to be removed from the backslapping delirium and to experience the hype – from the highfalutin to the just plain stupid – through a glass empty.

A scan of the winning entries thus far corroborates this tale of work with social consequence – work that inarguably makes the world a better place – being favored by the Cannes Lions juries. To combat this notion, the campaign encouraged people to use the hashtag #MyMothersNameIs and reveal the name of their mothers, showing it as source of pride. “I’m very happy ‘Give Mom Back Her Name’ got the recognition it deserved,” Youness told them. “It feels incredible knowing that it had nothing to do with selling a product.” Social media users responded enthusiastically to the video and posted their mothers’ names on Facebook and Twitter as their profile pictures.

In fact, PR Lions judge Lynn Davies said in her speech that their jury tested every entry with the question, “Why did it matter?” Creativity at its best can make a brand promise and a culturally relevant purpose not only feel one and the same, but be one and the same. The campaign involved distributing 2,000 promotional canisters of LifePaint to the biggest bike shops in London and asking cyclists to post their experiences with using the paint on social media. To rest of the world – if they were listening – the platitudes collapsed under the weight of their own 15kg man-pregnancy bellies (yes, really a thing). The festival rules describe campaigns in Design as recognizing “the use of design in communication and experience” and Promo & Activation as “designed to create immediate activation and/or offer for the sales of a product or service.” Agencies Geometry Global and MEMAC Ogilvy Dubai won the Grand Prix for the Lucky Iron fish project, an innovative solution to a major public health crisis in Cambodia: more than half of Cambodian children under the age of five and 44% of women of reproductive age are anemic, according to the United States Agency of International Development (USAID). The focus on the theme of brands with a purpose seems to complement a lack of confidence in digital advertising – another big talking point of the festival.

Sable praised the museum, describing it as “huge and important.” Japan Council Sport’s “Reviving Legends” won a Gold, Silver and Bronze Lion, while EA Sports’ Gold was for its online meme maker for football fans, the GIFerator, by Grow Norfolk. These younger millennials and Gen Z-ers – the ones in their teens and early 20s – are not even of U.S. drinking age, but they are ready to change the world with their creative power. To encourage Cambodians to add a small slab of iron to their pots while cooking — the slab provides 75% of daily iron intake if used for 10 minutes — each piece of iron was molded into a Cambodian symbol of hope and good luck: a fish. Our influential push to leverage Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as agents of social change – be it for marriage equality, #blacklivesmatter or otherwise – changed the norm for all ages. But, for all of our liking, sharing, connecting, spreading and talking, I’m excited to see a noticeable shift towards active creation and acute problem-solving in the next generation of folks taking the helm at creative agencies and start-ups.

Sable had a stark warning for the industry, saying that if you don’t understand data, you’re “out of the industry.” “Darwin is going to play major role here,” he said. In a bid to broaden its image beyond a hyper-masculine apparel brand, Under Armour partnered with New York-based ad agency Droga5 to promote female athletic empowerment.

Yet there seemed to be a disconnect between this year’s topic of purposeful brands and many of the 1,969 PR entries that went full pelt with an idea without having decided on a point. I surveyed the teams this year, mostly in their early 20s, and asked them a plethora of questions related to their personal views on creativity as well as what they felt brands needed to understand about their generation. The “I Will What I Want” campaign, which won the Cyber category, featured a video with model Gisele Bundchen exercising in a space populated by real-time wall projections of social media insults about her being signed on to work with Under Armour (sample: “What’s her sport; smiling?” and “She’s not even pretty”). The Wi-Fi-blocking pepper grinder from Dolmio may be an idea – releasing family-time from the tyranny of our mobile devices – but, as Michel Gondry’s dictum goes, even good ideas can pass the verge of being stupid.

Interestingly the jury made a distinction between the thoughtful attempts to affect social change and the raft of stunts that dupe unsuspecting folk on the street before the big reveal that makes them reconsider, say, using a tanning salon or buying a gun. British telecom giant Vodafone and Y&R Team Red Istanbul, an ad team dedicated solely to Vodafone, designed an app to help victims of domestic abuse in Turkey — a country where 40% of women are victims of domestic violence, according to a report from the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy. Registered under the alias “Red Light” at Cannes to continue to protect its identity from men, the secret app allows women to each call three friends for help just by shaking their smartphones. This instant.” Even Raj Singh, the 20-year old CEO of Dronecast here at Cannes for the first time, is taking his drone-based advertising fleet and expanding it for use as emergency-response tech for the medical community (given that drones can be dispatched, and at less cost, than helicopters).

Now that the heartstrings-yanking formula of stereotype busting is out we should expect next year’s production line to be filled with the likes of #BeingAMan and #SeniorMoments. HBO President Richard Plepler reminded us at his Cannes session with Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus that we can’t be buried by gravitas all the time – smart, impactful, and funny can co-exist happily. One of the more illuminating discussion points around which the festival coalesced was the need for agencies to deliver fully integrated brand communications. Perhaps this focus is the fire our youngest colleagues need to stay aflame – creatively speaking – and build a sustainable future for upcoming generations while still helping companies in the marketplace.

And frankly, it makes sense that the folks furthest down the line in inheriting the world’s problems would be the ones most motivated to actively use the tools at their disposal – a mélange of creativity, technology, and entrepreneurial enthusiasm – to find a solution.

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