Cannes 2016 – Festival of Advertising and now Technology

Cannes Advertising Awards 2016It’s been ten years since I have attended the International Festival of Creativity, the Cannes Lions Festival.

Somethings are exactly the the same. The abundance of awards, drinking, dinners, parties and the networking events held on large yachts.

Dentsu Group companies (Dentsu Inc., Carat (London), 360i (New York), Dentsu Young & Rubicam (Tokyo) and Drill (Tokyo)) were awarded a total of thirty-one Lions (one Grand Prix, one Gold, twelve Silver, sixteen Bronze and one Product Design) at the 63rd Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (June 18-25), Lions Health Festival (June 18-19), Lions Innovation Festival (June 21-22) and the inaugural Lions Entertainment Festival (June 23-24) held in Cannes, France.

The Dentsu Group Grand Prix Lion winner was “Life is electric” for Panasonic Corporation.

The insight for this work is very powerful. What if we could see electricity? It managed to use the power of design to change the perception of a product that has become a commodity, by bringing storytelling in—in every space. It creates a bridge between the digital tools and the analog world. A great piece of work.

Dentsu team with the Grand Prix Design Lion

Dentsu Inc: – Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
Cyber:    Two Silver, one Bronze
Design:    One Grand Prix, one Gold, six Silver, one Bronze
Direct:    One Bronze
Film:    One Silver
Film Craft:    One Bronze
Media:    One Silver, one Bronze
Mobile:    One Silver, one Bronze
Outdoor:    Three Bronze
PR:    Two Bronze
Product Design:    One Product Design

Lions Health Festival
Pharma:    Three Bronze

Lions Innovation Festival
Creative Data:    One Silver, two Bronze

The three minute award entry show reel continues to drive what entities are awarded and what isn’t.

If you can’t tell a three minute video led story on why your work should be awarded, you have no chance of finding a jury judge interested, no matter how effective your results were for your client.

What is very different for me is how much Cannes has turned into a tech show. A Consumer Electronics Show crossed with a watered down SXSW festival.

I remember ten years ago Microsoft just starting to make a presence on the ad scene. Now it’s all about the big showy setup from Google, Facebook and Twitter and a thousand other tech venders attending all shouting for attention. Advertising has certainly transformed from a festival celebrating print, radio and film to an event all about digital advertising tech led solutions.

So many talks seem to be about promoting tech and the benefits of big data, virtual reality and audience demand generation platforms rather than a celebration on how a big strategic and creative idea can deliver brand impact and business growth.

What has also changed is how separated the creative and media agencies are in operation, focus and collaboration with each other. Creative agencies are now creating ideas with a no canvas approach but it often does not support the media agencies approach to an endless amount of platforms both online and offline to push the message. Too often the creative idea is not made for the media channel to amplify.

This is very apparent at the Cannes event itself.

Advertising messages are planted everywhere. Sure it’s a ad event but the ads themselves are not for client brands but rather have been purchased by tech ad vender solutions.

This means all the outdoor advertising is very average creative work. It is a very polluted ad environment as no brand is making an impact on the audience. It would seem every iconic building in Cannes has some type of tech vender ad message screaming out for attention.

img_0198

This to me is a miss opportunity. Cannes should be a celebration of beautiful brand client advertising rather than a place to showcase bad ad executions from partners and venders.
Sure I get the event is a money making exercise, but I find the work so bad and disturbing and such a  missed opportunity to program the event as showcase for the power of great advertising to our clients.

While the event is held over seven days I think that is too long to hold people’s attention.  You can feel very contraphopic within 24 hours of arriving as their are so many limited ad themes to speak about. There is so much overlapping talk on Big data, virtual reality, experience design being talked about without any real authority or case examples.

The event attempts to bring in other industries to pad out the ad talk. All the agencies tend to invite big name guests from the film, music and business industries to flesh out their points of view.

Over the last ten years I have elected to attend SXSW for my creative inspiration over Cannes, and I think based on this years experience it continues to be a wiser choice. There is much more diversity and authority in Austin over Cannes in how to grow brands and business using innovation.

As I was only six weeks into my new job as CDO in the Dentsu Aegis Network I found the timing of Cannes very convenient to meet up with colleagues from around the globe and receive a debrief on our network strategy and capabilities and our journey to 100% digital.

When not in meetings I attended the conference hall seeking out inspirational talks. One highlight was a conversation with Brian Eno and Dentsu Lab Tokyo on their project to explore whether machine intelligence (MI) can acquire the creativity that is innate to human beings. Brian hired Dentsu to work on his latest project called The Ship.

Brian Eno-talks-about-using-artificial-intelligence

I have always had a man crush on Eno the musician, producer, visual artist, creative thinker. I remember when I first heard U2’s The Unforgettable Fire when I was about 15. I was so amazed with the abstract sound on that album. It was so different to U2’s previous albums like War. I remember reading the album credits and seeing for the first time the names Brian Eno, Producer and Daniel Lanois, Sound Engineer. 

Eno changed how music was recorded. He mastered the multi track technique. His work with Roxy Music, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Ultravox were the soundtracks of my life. I studied in sound engineering and manipulation because of this man so it was great to meet him after the talk.

 

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