Cannes a Lion make an unknown brand famous?

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 13 April 2016

At Cannes last year Amir Kassaei, DDB’s global chief creative officer said awards were becoming worthless, and pledged his agency would enter fewer.

Now, Portuguese agency Ray Gun, based in Lisbon, has set out to test whether a Cannes Lions alone can actually make an unknown brand famous with what it's calling a “creative social experience”.

Starting with a small cake brand Areias Brancas, not known by much of the population, adding zero media budget and now “big investments”, it has set about building the brand – and stirring the debate around the value of awards.

It has created a campaign video that asks people to share it if they believe in the idea of creativity, and order the cakes online. The aim is of course to win a Lion and make the brand famous.

“We're living in a bubble, celebrating creativity … awarding stuff that which doesn’t have any kind of relevance to real life,” Kassaei said in the punchy presentation which was followed up with a blog post on Campaign titled “The end of false recognitions”. 

In a statement about the project, Ray Gun says: “Amir Kassaei isn’t completely “right”. We know how awards can be: parties, drinks and ego trips for some creatives. In the last Cannes Lions he told us that awards don’t have an awful lot of relevance to the real life or to a business. And you know what? He has a point.

“But it doesn’t mean that awards such as Cannes Lions don’t have that relevance. And we have decided to prove this through a creative social experience, with a product more than 200 years old, which nobody knows about! So, can an unknown cake prove the relevance of Cannes Festival and become the most famous unknown cake?”

“The request was simple and broad, to make a small video about Areias Brancas.  But we used the opportunity to do something different, and showed the owners that we could enter the discussion about festivals and extend the brand visibility to the whole world. For us, it’s interesting to participate in the debate and play around with the festival itself. And it will be fun to understand where this idea can go.”

So, can Ray Gun game the award process, win a Lion just because it's trying to win one and in turn both prove and disprove Kassaei's theory? Or is it just one big stunt?

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