Cannes Lions 2018

140 BBDO goes Lion-hunting

There are award shows. And then there’s Cannes…

This is the communal blog of 140 BBDO's Mike Pearson and Ross Nieuwenhuizen, who are off to Cannes Lions after winning one in 2011 for their Snickers "Would You Rather" radio campaign - which also featured at Loeries and D&AD. Throughout this smorgasbord of creativity, Mike and Ross will be updating everyone on what's being said, done and awarded, so follow them on Twitter at @140BBDO and on Facebook.
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[Cannes Lions 2012] Highlights and perceived outcomes

28 Jun 2012 10:41:00
L-R: Michael Pearson, Ivan Johnson (140 BBDO ECD), Mike Schalit (BBDO South Africa chief creative officer) and Eric D’Oliveira (140 BBDO MD).
L-R: Michael Pearson, Ivan Johnson (140 BBDO ECD), Mike Schalit (BBDO South Africa chief creative officer) and Eric D’Oliveira (140 BBDO MD).
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Michael Pearson: Before I kick this off, I must thank the team at 140 BBDO for sending me on probably the most incredible week of my life. However, all good things come to an end. Even the very good things.

My week in Cannes was one of the highlights of my brief existence, and I truly hope that all of you can get yourself there at some stage. Here are some of the highlights and my perceived outcomes of the festival.

Gap is closing

The US and Europe still rule advertising, but the gap is closing. There were 18 Grand Prix awards handed out; the US received eight, Europe seven and South America, Asia and Central America one apiece – meaning they still hold sway over the highest reaches of advertising.

However, as one moved down through the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, you see that in fact their dominance is not complete. Countries such as China, Brazil, Australia and even South Africa featured heavily in the Gold, and even more so from there down. Who knows? In 10 years we may well see Leong Wai Foong of BBDO China ascending the stage to collect Agency of the Year.

And it’s good for advertising, too. As Sir John Hegarty said, “Great advertising is reliant upon great competition.” If other agencies/regions are pushing hard, it only makes the rest of us push harder. Exciting times.

Proliferation of “BIIIIG” ideas

Another trend was certainly the proliferation of “BIIIIG” ideas. Ideas that didn’t just feature on the back of a cereal box in Minnesota, but rather took the country (or even globe) by storm:Another trend that emerged, and has been doing so for some time now, is the “Brands Doing Real Good” factor. As seen in the Bandages campaign above, brands are trying to make a real difference. And, in a lot of cases, succeeding.

My favourite pieces

Were I pushed to select my favourites pieces from the week, it certainly would not be easy. However, interestingly, I would not go for any of the Grands Prix. My list would be as follows (in no particular order, as that’s just too tough):
  • K-Swiss – Kenny Powers MFCEO

    Does a brand really get braver than this? Was an old dying brand; now cutting-edge again. (Warning, language is NSFW.)

  • The Return of Dictator Ben Ali

    Power stuff. An ad that turned public opinion and actually resulted in a 30% increase in voter turnout.

  • Direct TV

    The start of my TV internal conundrum. This ad proves that, even with massive US budgets, a great 30” spot can still win out. Even Bill Clinton loved them.

  • The Guardian – Three Little Pigs

    On the other end of the scale, a two-minute masterpiece that probably cost more to produce than all the South African TV entries combined. However, in this case, you get what you pay for. And wow, it’s a lot.

  • Mumbai Mirror – I am Mumbai

    And then, right on the other end of the scale – an ad produced in India. An ad we could have done here in South Africa; they have the same budgets as us. However, this piece is moving and wonderfully crafted; a real inspiration for me.
The true magic

But, at the end of the day, brands don’t make ads, people make ads – and this is where the true magic lay for me.

Being able to watch as personal heroes of mine such as Dan Wieden and John Hegarty debate live on stage, and meeting others such as Marcello Serpa was just amazing. Especially when you come to understand that they aren’t mythical beasts of yore: they’re human, they face the same problems as all of the rest of us – and they overcome them. Rather spectacularly.

I hope to get the chance to attend the Cannes Lions again soon and meet more spectacular people.

[28 Jun 2012 10:41]

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