A view from Cordell Burke

It's Cannes, but not as we knew it...

The world has moved on and with it so have all the awards. But why is UK direct marketing not delivering quite like it used to? asks Cordell Burke, executive creative director at Tequila\.

Some say the voting at the Cannes Lions festival is starting to replicate the patterns we see annually at the Eurovision. But not only is that unfair, it's the kind of view which will simply speed up the pace at which we fall behind the international creative community.

As the emerging economies of the world move from commodity-driven growth towards knowledge-and service-driven development, so too they readily identify what media, what techniques and what talent are required for stand-out creative.

All as you might expect, except that it does beg the question why the UK, and in particular a city like London with its massive talent pool, is not continuing to benefit from the great creative foundations it possesses. We have a wealth of creative heritage surrounding us -- galleries, museums, architecture, our advertising tradition -- and we need to capitalise upon this once again.

The UK seems obsessed, both on the client and agency side, with fragmenting the approach to marketing, rather than asking what the challenge facing a business is and what marketing can do to overcome it.

Agencies abroad appear to be more multi-disciplined in their approach than in the UK. Clients will ask how their agencies can help them solve a business problem and expect a succinct and insightful answer.

In the UK, many agencies are still structured in silos, and briefs require channel, rather than business, solutions. Instead of just looking for a press ad or TV campaign, clients and agencies must start to consider the bigger corporate problems marketing can address. The winners in Cannes have successfully demonstrated problem solving in a way that stands out, rather than just pretty creative in a particular medium.

So how does the UK catch up with its foreign counterparts? Have we lost the momentum forever, or is there a way we can regain some of our great creative credentials?

Without getting drawn too deeply into a football-based analogy, perhaps UK businesses and agencies could learn from how that particular industry is embracing both the talent and methods acquired from overseas.

Those from shores outside of the UK can offer a fresh perspective to our creatives, and help encourage agencies and clients to start addressing their business problems. Adding a diverse range of personalities from different cultures could help traditional UK agencies incorporate some of the best ideas from around the globe and perhaps inject new ideas into the way the industry responds to the needs of a client.

Also, shifting our emphasis, as agencies, from being brief takers to brief makers will hopefully free us both emotionally and rationally, and enable the UK creative industry to move forward again.

There's no divine right for the UK to enjoy creative success; we have to work hard for it and adapt our ways of thinking. Creativity can play an integral role, so let's get back to the roots of great creative -- how a brilliant idea, executed through the right media at a relevant point in time will produce the right results for the client's business challenge.

Success for clients in terms of building brands, solving business problems and driving sales will not only fuel the creative sector, it will feed the insatiable appetite we all have for peer recognition and awards success.