Aussies make noise in Cannes

Steve Hey, Sinead Roarty & Ana Lynch
By Steve Hey, Sinead Roarty & Ana Lynch | 27 June 2018
JWT's senior copywriter Steve Hey, associate creative director Sinead Roarty and client services director, Ana Lynch.

JWT's senior copywriter Steve Hey, associate creative director Sinead Roarty and client services director, Ana Lynch, share views on Cannes.

While the cobblestone streets were crammed with locals watching the World Cup together, the creative industry was playing out its own version in the Palais.

Even with the absence of our Publicis comrades, you could hear Australian accents everywhere.

The week might have started slowly for us awards-wise, but by Thursday it had cranked up big time, eventually ranking Australia sixth in the world and exuberant Aussies could be heard celebrating their multiple Grand Prix wins in every nook of La Croisette.

From the awarded work, to keynote panels, to the Gutter Bar, a few big themes emerged that everyone was talking about.

Clients love Cannes

It’s exciting to see so many clients at Cannes speaking about how creativity works for their ROI and how strong team partnerships help shape the brand’s future beyond ‘ads’.

Some of the best work of the year has come out of a shared conviction to take an intuitive leap and accept uncertainty.

Intentionally creating a Super Bowl ad for one fan versus the 103 million people who tuned in, with the single objective of blowing one teen’s mind is a very Skittles thing to do.

To date, Skittles claims that Marcos Menendez is still the only person to have ever seen it. The consistency of tone right across the campaign, down to the short teaser content, was something Berta De Pablos, President of Mars Wrigley Confectionary, also took responsibility for and made sure the whole campaign was executed ‘in a very Skittles way’ – a client focused on pushing their brand and being brave as all get-out.

According to a report that was launched at the start of the week by BrandZ, called Disruptive Creativity: The New Model for Marketers, businesses should be able to grow their value by as much as 265% by combining disruptive creativity with great advertising. So, it clearly works.

The rise of hackvertising

Burger King delivered one of the most engaging keynotes of the week, not only because they were so willing to share the inside story behind their success, but because the respect and chemistry between the agency and client as joint creative collaborators was electrifying.

Taking calculated risks is something Burger King Global CMO Fernando Machado believes is essential, and a responsibility he charges himself with as much as his agency.

Burger King’s brand ambition is to move at the speed of pop culture and they have certainly cemented themselves in this way by repurposing readily available data to hack into the zeitgeist.

Think of their wildly subversive and successful campaigns: ‘Whopper Neutrality’ to support net neutrality, hacking Google ‘Google Home of the Whopper’, refusing to sell Whoppers on McHappy Day ‘Day without Whopper’, and ‘Whopper Emoji’ are brilliant examples of BK’s hackvertising approach at play.

There’s a lot of noise about voice

With one-in-six homes already geared up for voice-activated tech, it’s predicted that by 2020, 50% of all search will be voice-powered.

There was much debate about the power of sound to convey emotion and how brands need to develop a sound and feel to thrive in a voice-activated world, while the Health track explored how audio-led VR and curated sonic experiences are transforming healthcare.

There’s no question that the future of how brands, consumers and creatives think is transforming. After the early hype of innovation and tech, we are now in a thrilling new phase of experimentation and real-world practice.

Project Rejoice by BWM Dentsu Sydney won the Grand Prix for Good Lions for a voice cloning program developed to help ASL sufferers gain back their voices.

Pat Quinn, the co-founder of the Ice Bucket Challenge, lost his voice in the four years since the Challenge launched, and as his voice hadn’t been specifically recorded for this purpose, they rebuilt his voice from interviews and talks he had made. He can now channel his voice through an Augmented Communication Device.

And the tech will be available at the end of this year via a Voice Bank for other sufferers to capture their unique voice before they lose it.

Another brilliant example of sound tech used effectively, was an exhibition by renowned artist Christian Marclay, best known for his 24-hour video installation, The Clock, seen at the MCA in 2012. This year, he partnered with Snap Inc to present Sound Stories, an exploration of sounds and images of the everyday as found on Snapchat – to prove it’s not just a video platform.

With the help of algorithms created by Snap’s engineers, Marclay used Snapchat user-generated videos to create five immersive audio-visual installations to show what a Snap sounds like.

Changing the world takes time

Titanium Grand Prix-winning campaign The Palau Pledge, from Host/Havas Sydney, isn’t just a campaign, it’s a movement that has fundamentally changed a country’s immigration process.

A client with the belief and the patience to stand behind an idea to this degree, combined with beautifully restrained craft, resulted in the year’s most successful campaign.

On the Health stage, Ben James, CCO at J Walter Thompson New York and Ramon Soto, senior vice president and CMO of Northwell Health, a non-profit hospital in New York, discussed the agency’s creative thinking and the human innovation that led to the development of last’s year Lion-winning The Fin, a ground-breaking amphibious prosthetic limb, and the ongoing role the agency has as medical innovators for the hospital.

Break rules – even the ones we’ve created

‘Nothing beats a Londoner’ is yet another stunning piece of film from Nike, inspired by social language, British humour and meme culture.

At more than three minutes long, it generated 4.6 million views on YouTube in just one week. In a world where ‘social best practice’ dictates branding within three seconds, portrait format and six-second content, it’s great to see one the world’s biggest brands defying the new school rules and sticking to their own playbook.

Everything is social, and the possibilities are endless.

With the Festival crunched to five days this year, we crammed in talks, award ceremonies, client meetings, boat-hopping, networking opportunities (AKA parties) and endless other shenanigans. But they were five crucial days that will impact our thinking for years to come. 

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