There were more than 3000 entries to the Media Lions category in Cannes this year, a number that was then whittled down to 260 shortlisted campaigns. This was then combed back through to finally compile the shortlist - then 80 Lions were handed out for the work - including 10 Gold.
However, big name brands for all their great execution, are “not pushing the boundaries” enough said president of the jury, Nick Emery, global CEO of Mindshare. He added that there was a stark difference between the type of work being submitted by corporate brands in the category and that submitted by NGOs or charities.
“There were a couple of themes that came out, one was that it’s very difficult for big corporations to stack up against NGOs and free-reign advertisers,” he said as the winners and the Grand Prix were announced.
“Big corporations I’m afraid, the Samsung’s, the McDonald’s, the Coca-Cola’s, were very good, very competent, there were excellent campaigns but not a lot of ‘wow’ in those campaigns. They were very well executed but they don't push the boundaries. It was very good work in that sector but there was a big gap between that and the standard set by the NGOs.”
Emery also highlighted the lack of skill demonstrated in actually writing the submissions, criticising some agencies for “carpet-bombing” Cannes Lions with applications in many categories without tailoring the content to the right criteria.
Outlining a few trends that emerged in the Media Lions entries, Emery said: “You take a cause, you add some participation. A sprinkle of social, you digitise it, and that’s the campaign and there were some great ones. There was lots of crazy work, lots of tech, there was a lot of personalisation as you’d expect, and lots of stuff we loved around bodily functions (like the wank band).”
There were a lot of things the jury liked about his year’s entries, but also some things they didn’t.
Such as the relentless use of exaggeration and hyperbole within the submissions that actually ended up having the reverse effect on the jury.
“There was a lot of fooling consumers with candid camera type campaigns, that we didn’t really like … there was a lot of hyperbole, which tends to turn people off after a while, and there was a lot of stuff aimed at millennials – and I’ve got to say most advertisers seem to think they’re morons,” he said.
Emery and the jury also thought that due to the volume of good work for worthy causes entered and rewarded this year, there should be an open-source archive set up allowing other charities around the world to tap into the work and use it as a way of sharing best practice and doing more good as an industry.
“There were a lot of campaigns about dog owners, homelessness, and equality, all very good and worthy causes. Our suggestion is that we take all this great work, and open up a global site so that if you’re in London, Sydney or anywhere and you have a homelessness charity, you can go and get the world’s best in class campaign you can go and steal it and use it for yourself. How does our industry focus more through the year of doing good. That was our suggestion about how we might do that.”
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