June 25, 2012

Cannes Reinvented

When the Cannes Lions changed their mantra to being a “festival of creativity” it was because of the sea change that digital was stirring where the word “advertising” was quickly becoming rather meaningless. In many ways “digital” is an obsolete word today since it has become the electricity that runs through every aspect of our life. With this year’s Cannes Lions we’ve reached that tipping point when every brand and every agency uses the power of digital to connect consumers with brands – sometimes literally.

As we can see from the Titanium Grand Prix winner for Nike + Fuelband. It goes beyond communication and becomes communion. Between consumers and the brand, with the product and with each other.

Almost every winner in every category has digital running through it. In Branded Content & Entertainment the Grand Prix when to Chipotle with their film using a digital-first strategy, first launching on YouTube with no paid media support. The launch was supported with an earned media plan and the social media assets of Chipotle, Willie Nelson and Coldplay to a collective audience of 21m Facebook fans.

In the Direct category a huge percentage of the Gold winners were digitally-centric including this project for Montblanc. This international campaign conceived for the web and a worldwide audience and target, was designed to build maximum awarness for Montblanc as a watchmaker brand. The simple idea was to ask people to create a 1-second-long video that celebrated the fragile beauty that can be found in this small unit of time. They teamed up with film-director Wim Wenders and challenged people to capture beauty in a 1-second-long video, creating the shortest ever short-film contest. People competed online at montblanc-onesecond.com by uploading their one-second videos of beauty.

It’s the same story in Promo & Activation. Many of the top winners were either infused with digital goodness or relied on digital channels to get their message out there. Mobile is also becoming a great tool for activation and in this project George Patterson Y&R Melbourne has created the first medically diagnosable advertising for the Australian Defence Force.

These are exciting times to be in the “advertising” business. There are so many amazing possibilities right now thanks to the power digital gives us. The biggest challenge is finding the most relevant and meaningful idea. Because at the end of the day that’s what counts. It’s not the technology itself but what you do with it. Digital may have transformed Cannes but big ideas still rule.