Ross picks out some interesting stuff from Cannes

So I’ve been thinking about what I wanted my first post on here to be.  I imagined I’d write something about The Marketing Academy Boot Camp, or maybe the selection process.  Or maybe my first coaching or mentor session.  I’d love to write about all of these things, but to be frank it’s 9.09pm and I’ve been working for about 10 hours, so we’re all going to have to make do with something a little more ‘stolen with pride’…

I love marketing communications.  It’s the bit that I always found the most interesting before I actually got into the industry.  Which isn’t surprising, given there’s not much of a presence for brand positioning programmes on the telly or 3-year growth decks on billboards.  Consequently, when the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival (www.canneslions.com) happens each year, I’m always quite quick to go through some of the winning entries.  Here’s a few I particularly liked this week, and to keep up the ‘learning’ theme, what I’ve taken from them:

Gatorade Replay (winner of the PR and Promo Grand Prix) is a triumph of a product truth cleverly built into a story that is genuinely interesting, and not an advertising campaign someone thought might be newsworthy.  Someone said to me recently we don’t just need to build campaigns with a press release in mind, we need to step back and question whether anyone would actually care about it.  That way, if people will care, journalists won’t have a choice but to write about it.  I like that.

I’ve loved this ad for a while now, and was delighted it won gold at Cannes.  I’m a sucker for a real-life brand event, filmed for a TV ad but accompanied with a bit of emotive music.  But I think what’s really great about this is that it’s surprising – orange juice doesn’t feel like a category that really plays up to its emotional potential, and the insight “brighter mornings make brighter days” feels right.

Gold winner in the Promo and Activation category, I just really like the humour built into this one, and the idea that if you create a branded event that’s really worth talking about (i.e. you do it with incredible attention to detail), then people will genuinely talk about it and the amplification takes care of itself.  I wonder if we spent more time focusing on the quality of what we produce, and less on how we try and force it onto people, whether we could achieve better results.

As much as I think the Puma “Hardman Chorus” is brilliant as an idea (which it is), and as much as I think it’s hilarious (which it is), what I really like are the production values.  Again, attention to detail.  The singing that’s bad enough to be credible, and yet with a few guys actually harmonising.  The set comprised of sticky pub carpet and old wooden tables.  The old lady off to the left looking surprised but amused.  The expressions of the actors that are a mixture of typical hardman and genuine angst.  This wouldn’t have been half as good if it hadn’t been for the detail.

Sadly, the campaign I worked on that was entered (Wispa Gold Messages – www.wispagoldmessages.com) didn’t make it onto the shortlist in the Titanium/Integrated category.  But once I’d finished throwing my belongings around my living room and wailing uncontrollably, I moved on… there’s always next year…

@rossfarquhar

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About Ross Farquhar

The guy who gets in early enough to open the office at 101 London, Alumni at The Marketing Academy, and general loser of iPhones. Follow me @rossfarquhar for meaningless banter and the usual X-Factor nonsense.
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One Response to Ross picks out some interesting stuff from Cannes

  1. luciebartlett says:

    Great picks Ross. The Tropicana and Gatorade examples were two I really loved as well. They found a way to make the brand line integral to the story without it seeming gratuitous and clunky. And story is a crucial part I think – these mini narratives immerse us and make us want to know the ending which, apart from anything else, at least ensures those YouTube views skyrocket.

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