PERSPECTIVE: Simple ideas won over technique at Cannes ceremony

OK, so the continental Europeans ganged up on Blackcurrant Tango at the last minute to deny HHCL the Cannes Grand Prix, but the extraordinary Swedish Diesel campaign is a worthy winner, and I’m surprised the xenophobic ’St George’ spot got as far as it did.

OK, so the continental Europeans ganged up on Blackcurrant Tango at

the last minute to deny HHCL the Cannes Grand Prix, but the

extraordinary Swedish Diesel campaign is a worthy winner, and I’m

surprised the xenophobic ’St George’ spot got as far as it did.



Does Cannes matter? Ask any of the many Brits who went this year for the

first time and were goggle-eyed at the ceremony. For many nationalities,

winning a Cannes lion is the biggest deal. It’s at worst a pay-rise, at

best a career. There’s huge shared national pride. Winners will be feted

back home.



And then there’s the Brits. But, bugger the usual jaded cynicism, and

let’s celebrate an excellent crop of winners. The industry (Campaign

included) indulges in enough soul searching and hair-shirt wearing. One

could argue the industry’s actually in a purple patch work-wise. There

was a discernible rejection of the technique-dominated ads of the past

five years in favour of the simple idea. So, Blackcurrant Tango, Abbott

Mead’s success with the Economist and Alka Seltzer, both of the BMP

Volkswagen campaign winners, Y&R with St Mungo’s, Rainey Kelly’s Virgin

’grim reaper’ are all welcome gold winners. And let’s not be naive about

technique, when married to an idea the results are stunning as Lowes’

latest Smirnoff gold winner and O&M’s Guinness campaign proved.



As well as nine out of 21 film golds, Brits walked away with 13 of the

38 print golds and a deserved Grand Prix for Leo Burnett’s Mercedes

’skidmarks’ press work. Trying to judge 6,000 print entries from around

the world is my idea of hell, but the winners almost always stand out

because of the clarity of the idea - often, admittedly, at Cannes, the

visual idea.



So, congratulations are in order to Burnetts for United Airlines and

Mercedes, Lowes for Smirnoff Red and the Vauxhall Tigra, Leagas Delaney

for Adidas, the Leith for Irn-Bru, Bates Dorland for Banham Zoo, GGT for

the Big Issue, FCB for Shelter, Saatchis for nursing recruitment, BMP

for Ministry of Sound, and BBH for two different Levi’s campaigns.



Sorry if this is all a bit list-like, but I think it’s a hell of an

achievement to win a gold at Cannes. Yes, it’s political, but let’s not

be naive, it’s a lot less political than D&AD. More importantly, unlike

D&AD and other awards schemes, with the possible exception of the IPA

Effectiveness Awards, winning at Cannes does hold sway with clients

around the world.



If you don’t believe me, ask John Hegarty, who has used success at the

festival to help build his agency’s international business, or DM9

Publicidade of Brazil, which recently signed a lucrative deal with

Omnicom. Keep an eye on the individuals behind this year’s Cannes gold

winners. They will be making news during the next 12 months.



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