Cannes needs to get creative

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Memo to the next owner of the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival: Evolve the show to reward nimble creative that flexes across disciplines and media.

In today's marketing environment, the most important ideas are often overarching concepts executed across numerous channels. The boundary-breaking creatives are those conceiving the big multiplatform ideas, and those who create a whole new method or medium to engage the consumer. But these boundary-breakers were barely recognized this year.

The Titanium Lion, devised at the Cannes Festival in 2003, was intended, according to its creator, Dan Wieden, to reward "provocative work in any category or combination of categories that causes the industry to stop in its tracks and reconsider the way forward." Such an award might have recognized those creative thinkers who broke with traditional media in an effort to engage the consumer, but the judges did not see fit to make the award this year.

The festival must find a way of recognizing multifaceted, multidiscipline campaigns. Handing out awards in silo-based competitions-media, press and outdoor, direct, cyber, film-neglects the fact that the best creative work is integrated and ignores the role other marketing disciplines play.

There are few who would argue that the marketing behind the Apple iPod was of the highest caliber creatively and was incredibly effective, but it owed much to product design and public relations as well as excellent TV, press, poster, interactive and media planning work. That it won a Bronze Lion in the film competition and a Media Lion in the media competition misses much of the genius of the campaign.

Tellingly, two of the clients that the festival crowed about drawing to Cannes this year-McDonald's and Procter & Gamble-have repeatedly emphasized their desire to stretch their marketing boundaries beyond the 30-second spot. The festival must also make that a priority.

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