Every year we celebrate the best of our industry at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Here we see the work that expands our horizons, work that stretches the boundaries of where we thought advertising and creativity could go and, of course, work so brilliant, we wish we’d thought of it!
2018 will be no different. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do know what work I’ve seen that has made me gasp at its brilliance or turn green with envy, and I presume the judges at this year's Festival are having similar reactions. So here are my picks.
One of the campaigns that really stood out for me this year was the Adidas Original x BVG EQT Berlin collaboration. The limited edition trainer that was inspired by the Berlin transport system also doubles as a year-long transport pass.
The brief to the agency Jung von Matt was, how do you get young Berliners to use the public transport system they actively hate? The idea of creating an incredibly desirable, limited edition sneaker that is also your ticket is genius. It’s a great example of a difficult brand problem being answered not with a traditional campaign, but with a new product that creates a frictionless experience for those young public transport adverse Berliners.
Another global brand that made a great impact by speaking from a very local perspective was Nike, with their "Nothing Beats a Londoner" campaign. Not only is this a great ad from agency Wieden & Kennedy, beautifully made with lots of amazing visual surprises, but it’s a global brand speaking directly to its audience with an authentic local voice and perspective. It makes Nike feel wholly fresh and relevant again, a real part of the landscape that it actually lives in.
What these campaigns have in common is that they have tackled a brand’s problem through the creation of a multi-dimensional experience. This is a trend, perhaps even fair to say an industry shift, that we are seeing more and more, and is one that is making us creatives re-look at how we solve the problems that brands come to us with.
Another trend that we have seen this year is the interactive, inventive use of one of the most traditional media, print. The most stand-out example of this has to be IKEA’s pregnancy test print ad. I presume the technology and testing that went into this was huge, but to the consumer it’s just beautifully simple, smart and useful. An ad that acts as a pregnancy test, and all positive results are good for a discount on cribs in store. The work of Swedish agency, Akestam Holst, for IKEA has been consistently strong, but this is just genius.
In the same space, I also really like Wieden & Kennedy’s unique take on the classic glossy magazine scent strip for Cannes favorite Old Spice. Instead of just being able to "smell like a man" as their campaign has always promised, GQ readers were given the opportunity to "dress like a man," with a pull out scented paper blazer. This print special has all the humor and irreverence we’ve come to expect from this brand.
Finally, we all admire work that is brilliantly born out of crisis. When the best in this business turn a PR disaster into a stroke of marketing genius, we can’t help but be impressed. This year, that award surely must go to KFC and Mother for their FCK ad, a brilliant and timely response to their embarrassing chicken shortage.
Our industry might be in flux (something I will be talking about on a panel on Thursday at Cannes), but the one thing that remains constant is that great ideas continue to connect and break through the apathy. Creativity is something that you experience and the work that achieves this is the work that we’ll be celebrating this week.