Weepy ads, Dunkin’ rosé and an existential question from Gary Vaynerchuk: Cannes Nightcap Day Five
C’est la fin. The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is over, and many of the big prizes (as usual) went to campaigns that felt earnest in a trying-to-change-the-world way. “One thing missing from the winners? A good belly laugh,” write Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz and I-Hsien Sherwood in their piece on Cannes takeaways.
Winners included campaigns about gun violence, animal protection and the need for journalism. With so much purpose-driven work to look at, some jury members got weepy. David Droga, the Droga5 founder and chair of the Sustainable Development Goals Lions jury, said, “We all cried at different times during the jury.” It's time to dry those eyes and go back to the office.
And by the way: This year’s festival did nothing to resolve the existential crises of the world’s biggest advertising event. “There’s a ton of people that are gonna win awards today, [whose] business is declining dramatically,” Gary Vaynerchuk, founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, said in a Cannes interview with a Facebook executive. “And I struggle with that. Because the point of that creativity is to drive a business result ...”
Plus, everybody still wants to party on the French Riviera, though these are tough times for many legacy advertisers and a swathe of the agency world. As ad veteran adman Bob Hoffman put it in a scathing (but funny) send-up of the five-day festival: “There is only one responsible way to avoid marketing's grim reaper—hang out on yachts and gulp putrid rosé.”
And, oh yes, the winners
Check out our full list of the Grand Prix winners here. Highlights from the last day include:
The Sustainable Development Goals Grand Prix: ‘The Lion’s Share,’’ an environmentally-conscious media-buying pledge launched by Mars Australia. The campaign was created by Clemenger BBDO.
The Grand Prix for Good: “Generation Lockdown,” a gun violence campaign from March for Our Lives. It was created by McCann New York.
The Glass Lion for Change: “The Last Ever Issue,” a campaign that killed off a pornographic magazine in Poland—after making one final issue from a feminist point of view. The campaign was made by VMLY&R Poland for Gazeta.pl, MasterCard and BNP Paribas.
The Titanium Grand Prix for game-changing work: Burger King’s “Whopper Detour” from FCB New York. The campaign, which trolled McDonald’s, won the most top nods at the festival. And it also provided some lightheartedness to the list of winners.
Some quotable quotes from the festival:
On the purpose of advertising: “You use commercials to get your message across. We use commercials to change sets, costumes and wigs.” — Lorne Michaels, “Saturday Night Live” producer and Cannes' Entertainment Person of the Year, as quoted by The Hollywood Reporter.
On sparking joy: Tidying expert Marie Kondo put up a slide distilling her philosophy, “Less stuff. More joy.” Which was a surprising message to deliver to a room full of people who sell stuff for a living, but nobody seemed to mind.
On denial: ”I have never smelled marijuana in the office in 36 years.” — Rich Silverstein, co-founder of San Francisco’s Goodby Silverstein & Partners. —
“You’re not going to the right parts of the office.” — the agency’s other co-founder, Jeff Goodby. The two were honored with the festival's Lion of St. Mark lifetime achievement award.
Trend of the week
Weirdest new cocktail: “Alcoholic beverages topped with doughnuts (yes, frosted and sprinkled doughnuts),” which is what they were serving at Google Beach. Read more by Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse in this week’s Agency Brief.
Product of the week
The Cannes product of the week was a … canned product. Dunkin’, better known for its coffee, gave away limited-edition cans of rosé, the official drink of Cannes. (The stunt prompted this quip from Ad Age Editor Brian Braiker: “America runs on Dunkin’, but Dunkin’ gives France the runs.”)
Ad Age’s Jack Neff spotted a guy hiding in a hedge along Cannes' Croisette. Perhaps he was re-enacting the famous “Homer Simpson disappears into the bushes” meme. Or not. It’s time to go home before things get too weird. Bye Cannes.
P.S. Ad Age’s editorial team on the ground—this year was Ann-Christine Diaz, Alexandra Jardine, Jack Neff, Alfred Maskeroni, Lindsay Rittenhouse, I-Hsien Sherwood, Max Sternlicht and George Slefo—went to Cannes to provide you with wall-to-wall coverage of the marketing world’s annual sun-drenched celebration of (professional) thirst. To find all of their coverage, visit our Cannes Lions 2019 page.