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Cannes Lions 2018

5 useful trends from the beach

LADbible and the Plastic Oceans Foundation 'Trash Isles' by AMVBBDO
LADbible and the Plastic Oceans Foundation 'Trash Isles' by AMVBBDO

I know what you’re thinking, not another Cannes round-up, but don’t stop reading now. We’ve been super helpful and have pulled the most talked about work and key speakers into trends that you can use for your own planning.

But first, a flavour of the week. With fewer awards, fewer people and no big campaign sweeping up all the Grand Prix’s, conversation was not so much centred on the work, but instead on the melange of inspirational speakers that took to the stages.

How can we expect equality in the creative output if we don’t have equality in the creative input? US journalist and author Katie Couric quoted Geena Davis, “The more TV a girl watches the fewer opportunities she thinks she has. The more TV a boy watches the more sexist he becomes.” Storytelling comes from personal experience, which is why it’s important to get more minorities breaking through to tell the stories.

2018 was Cannes in the age of Me Too. Founder of the movement Tarana Burke spoke to an eager audience saying, “You can’t base success on what the world tells you it should be. If you want to build a movement, build it and be fully committed.” In a stirring speech Madonna Badger, who founded the agency Badger and Winters, referenced more than 15 women’s movements before presenting AMVBBDO with the Glass Lion Grand Prix for #BLOODNORMAL, a campaign for Bodyform tackling period shame.

But all eyes were not on the Palais. The tech take-over of the beach continued with Brand Marketer of the Year Spotify entertaining those on the list with headliners including The Killers. Facebook hosted Story School while Google invited Pride to take-over their beach in a glittering display that kept us partying to the end.

Whilst there’s so much more I could say about the awesome speakers, let’s move on to the award-winning work you should know about.

Creativity saving the environment

How awful would it be to live in a world where tigers only exist in books? But what if animals could charge brands for the rights to their images, and use that money to help fight for their very existence? Introducing The Lion’s Share, an initiate that launched at Cannes with the help of Sir David Attenborough. For every campaign that features an animal 0.5% of the media spend can be donated to a global conservation fund, with the ambition of raising $100m annually.

This trend towards being more environmentally responsible was seen in the work too. On World Oceans Day, The Plastic Oceans Foundation and LADbible submitted an application to The United Nations to recognise an area of trash the size of France floating in the North Pacific as an official country. They called it Trash Isles. Educational videos went viral, celebrities pledged their support and thousands of people signed up to become citizens, winning AMVBBDO a total of 16 Lions including two Grand Prix’s.

The second stand out piece of work in this space managed to change a law. To promote personal responsibility and encourage sustainable behaviour, visitors to the paradise Pacific island of Palau are now required to sign a bold new entry visa. Palau Pledge is the work of the Palau Legacy Project and Host/Havas Sydney. On arrival to the island, all holiday makers must sign a vow, stamped in their passports, to be good environmental stewards. This idea caught the eye of the world, winning 10 Lions including three Grand Prix’s.

Carrefour 'The Black Supermarket' by Marcel Paris
Carrefour 'The Black Supermarket' by Marcel Paris

Challenging policy

It was Tarana Burke, who said, “If I had any advice about building a movement it would be to just build it and be fully committed.” And who better to inspire an audience to fight for their beliefs than the founder of the Me Too movement? In an age of political unrest, corruption and fake news, the campaigns that won big were those putting themselves and their values on the line and standing up for what they believe in.

In early 2017 the Trump administration introduced a Travel Ban in the US. So, in the wake of this controversy, Spotify decided to use its reach to elevate the voices of musicians from those communities affected. Focusing on the music, which has always been at the centre of resistance, empowerment, and change, each artist’s story was put on a playlist that combined music, film and a Vice documentary. I’m With the Banned catapulted the artists into mainstream listening and won Spotify five Lions.

Carrefour, the French supermarket, has always been an innovator. It was the first big retailer of organic products in France and the first to forbid GMOs in their stores. But they noticed a problem. Due to an absurd European law, 90% of farmable fruit and vegetable varieties have already disappeared worldwide since the 20th century. This is a disaster for biodiversity, producers, and consumers. So, in their latest campaign The Black Supermarket, they set out to break the law. And along with Marcel Paris, won 20 Lions.

Looking back, moving forwards

We all know in our industry it’s not enough to simply exist in the present. Predicting how people will live and work in the future plays a huge part in understanding the role of our brands. But sometimes it’s just as important to look back as it is to look forward. Keith Weed spoke about the founding principle of Unilever which was “to make cleanliness commonplace and lessen the burden on women.” It’s important for everyone in a company to understand what it exists for.

Seventeen years ago, Steve Jobs said, “think less mass marketing and more mass mattering.” At Cannes this year, Senior VP of Retail at Apple Angela Ahrendts was on stage to talk about the Grand Prix winning Today at Apple, an idea inspired by Jobs. Codenamed IOS Live, Apple stores have been rejuvenating forgotten spaces into new ‘town squares,’ and creating places for education. Today at Apple was described by Ahrendts as the largest platform for enriching lives. Daily sessions bring people together to pursue the things they’re most passionate about, all using the latest Apple products and technology. 

It’s not always the bigger picture we’re searching for. Sometimes it’s the individual moments that contain the best stories. Kiwi First Steps from SC Johnson and Ogilvy Chicago was the winner of three lions including a Grand Prix for Print & Publishing. The campaign tells the stories of iconic figures including Muhammed Ali and Amelia Earhart through their shoes. The commercials don’t rely on making a generic list of overall accomplishments, but rather focus on a moment when they had to make a stand. It is the inspiration we need to take our very own first step.

Savlon 'Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks' by Ogilvy Mumbai
Savlon 'Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks' by Ogilvy Mumbai

Lasting purposeful innovation

At Cannes new digital and real-world products, built to improve the lives of communities, win big. But once the awards have been gathered and the campaign has had its moment, the project often seems to lose momentum and the brand goes looking for its next winning idea. So, this year it was refreshing to see innovation with longevity and a genuine commercial as well as purposeful case for the new products.

Just like children all over the world, kids in India hate to wash their hands. But in a culture where it’s common practice to eat with your hands this was causing kids to become sick and miss school. Savlon, a new entrant in the Indian FMCG hygiene space, knew a traditional advertising message wouldn’t work. Instead they invented a product that would encourage behavioural change. Savlon Heathy Hands Chalk Sticks can be used on slates, but on contact with water would turn into soap. This campaign by ITC Foods and Ogilvy Mumbai won a Grand Prix for Creative Effectiveness.

Most of us in our inherent privilege take the internet for granted. However, there are still many people around the world with no access to the web. The Ministry of Communications and Information in Columbia wanted to change this for people in its country. So, alongside MullenLowe SSP3 Bogota and Google they created MY LINE, a traditional telephone landline that brings the power of Google Assistant to anyone with access to a standard phone line. For the first time in history, 99.3% of the population have access to the information available in the Google Systems. This clever use of AI won 11 Lions including the Grand Prix for Innovative Technology.

Playing with the perception of reality

That we ‘need’ the abbreviation IRL (In Real Life for those of you who actually spend your time in the real world), tells us a lot about the world we live in today. But the distinction between what is ‘real’ and what is constructed is blurring and we have seen brands using this to draw fans into worlds of their own making.

To help launch FIFA18, adam&eveDDB worked with EA Sports to hide a new skill move called ‘El Tornado’ in the game. A film about the real Cristiano Ronaldo learning the virtual trick kicked off a search for the secret combo. Once discovered, it exploded within the game and out into the real world. Real-life attempts, memes, and a single by Run the Jewels secured the move its place within football culture. Pro footballers could only be ‘El Tornado Certified’ if they posted video evidence of them performing the skill in real life. FIFA 18 More Than A Game won eight Lions including two Gold Lions.

In January 2018, it was announced that the Crocodile Dundee franchise was returning with a star-studded Australian cast. Teaser film trailers and a promotional campaign fuelled conversation, speculation and organic interest from film fans until a Super Bowl ad revealed it to be one epic prank. There was no movie: it was an elaborate tourism ad for Australia. This campaign was the most-Searched Super Bowl ad (Google) and Dundee was the #1 Most-Viewed Super Bowl Campaign (AdAge/Visible Measures). It also won Tourism Australia and UM Sydney three Lions.

About the author

Kara Melchers, Managing Editor, BITE

Kara has editorial control over BITE, Creativebrief’s daily insight into global marketing trends and the cultural movements driving them. She runs BITE INSPIRE sessions in the UK and US, for brands including Virgin Atlantic, A.G. BARR, British Gas and Pepsico. She also presents at our BITE LIVE events series and industry festivals in London and New York. Get in touch if you’re working on an interesting project

kara.m@creativebrief.com