So it’s Cannes debrief week, when everyone who was there tries to make sense of what they (can remember of what they) saw and attempts to convince stay-at-home colleagues that it was a vital learning experience but an exhaustingly hard grind. Which it was.
Here’s what to know.
Smaller clients inspire their agencies to produce brilliant work in a way many bigger clients couldn't begin to
Not many of the marketers with the fattest global budgets found themselves on the Cannes podium. Many of the world’s biggest brands were nowhere to be seen in the winners’ lists; they’re spending an awful lot of money to produce mediocrity. It’s indicative of the malaise in many corporate marketing structures and the boldness that modest budgets can force, but also the failure of agencies to help overstretched marketers sell brave ideas to their boards. Smaller clients manage to inspire and liberate their agencies to produce brilliant work in a way many bigger clients couldn’t begin to, but agencies must take some responsibility for this too.
British agencies on the whole did pretty well, with five Grands Prix in the bag (four for Adam & Eve/DDB and one for OgilvyOne), and the 2014 Cannes Lions Agency of the Year trophy now resides on Bishop’s Bridge Road. Time for a bit more swagger in the creative community, then, with the confidence to push clients to buy braver work.
The categories themselves are breaking down. As Paul Tullo says on page 12, the Direct jury finally concluded that, well, everything’s direct. Which is presumably why an interactive poster (for British Airways by OgilvyOne) snatched the Grand Prix. At least it was conceived by an agency that has its roots in the category, unlike the Media, Mobile and PR categories, where the Grands Prix were won by mainstream creative shops. Proof again that specialisms are being eroded and that the main differentiator between agencies is the quality of their talent. With so many campaigns winning big in multiple categories, it’s also clear that the best ideas are integrated across platforms and the paid-owned-earned spectrum.
On that note, though, I’d like to draw your attention to a comment by Craig Mawdsley, a judge in the Creative Effectiveness category: "Looking at all the entries, you could be forgiven for thinking that the primary purpose of our industry is charitable work, and that our role is to help clients spend very little, to generate a little more in return. This is not a convincing commercial model." Which might be the most important lesson of all to learn from Cannes.firstname.lastname@example.org