Tag Archives: Cannes Lions

Cannes Lions and the cross screen world

cannesEach year, Cannes Lions provides a vibrant hub for the ad industry to come together to debate, inspire and evangelise. As always, the festival has surpassed expectations in showcasing the greatest talent and creativity the community has to offer.

While there were many fascinating topics covered at this year’s festival, one that came up repeatedly was cross screen activity.

This year’s World Cup perfectly exemplifies the importance of effective cross screen content and marketing.

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Cannes gets programmatic

CannesProgrammatic is the new buzz word of the advertising world. Even in the traditionally creative focused environment of Cannes Lions, programmatic is dominating the session agenda.

Everyone is talking about it from third party vendors to agencies, (Marco Bertozzi of VivaKi makes some interesting points in his recent article on Digiday), with each having their own opinion about how brands should utilise the discipline. Before the plethora of opinion that will erupt when Cannes kicks off; it’s important that brands truly understand what programmatic best practice is before they are clouded by the Cannes agency chorus.

At the moment, programmatic is a bit of a mystery and brands have a conundrum. Do they  rely on the agency that has been buying their space on traditional media outlets for years to keep their digital ad strategy on point, or do they venture into the unknown with a third party vendor?

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How to be successful in social advertising

dance pony danceSocial is fast becoming king in the world of advertising. The rise of the internet, mobile devices and, of course, social networking, is rapidly propelling social advertising to the top of the tree, even ahead of more traditional platforms such as television and newspapers. According to Nielsen, three-quarters of advertisers are spending on paid social advertising and 64 per cent plan to increase their social ad budgets this year. With over one billion users now on Facebook, and 400 million Tweets being sent per day, the era of social advertising has well and truly arrived.

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How Cannes could have taken innovation further

cokecanMy heart sang when I heard that the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity was introducing an innovation category, and that it was awarding real projects rather than just prototypes.

As Harvard Business School’s Theodore Levitt said “creativity as it’s commonly defined—the ability to come up with brilliantly novel ideas—can actually be destructive to businesses. By failing to take into account practical matters of implementation, big thinkers can inspire organisational cultures dedicated to abstract chatter rather than purposeful action. In such cultures, innovation never happens—because people are always talking about it but never doing it.”
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Chronicles of Cannes – Day Three: On The Edge of The Abyss

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After an intimate opening gala (nothing says fun like hanging out with 12,000 strangers) it was back to the Palais for another day filled with a mix of thought-provoking and not-so-thought-provoking talks.

Day three was headlined by P Diddy, a one-man marketing band who’s seemingly touched humanity across all five senses for the better part of three decades (his words, not ours).  Read More »

Chronicles of Cannes – The Arrival


The annual advertising hajj that is the Cannes Lions has kicked off in a steamy haze of rosé, Brazilians and flashy boats. Twelve thousand delegates are desperately seeking out free drinks in between trying to squeeze into packed talks by a mix of celebs, industry legends, wannabes and hasbeens.

Day one was headlined by Jack Black, but the stars for us were Coca-Cola and BBDO New York. Coke highlighted the forward thinking positivity that has underpinned their creative for the last 60 years and BBDO posited that great stories share 4 key attributes: unforgettable characters, compelling plots, social commentary and populist entertainment.

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Twitter takes its stall to Cannes to woo advertisers

Twitter goes to cannesTwitter is hoping to make a splash in at the Cannes international advertising festival this week having had a low key appearance last year.

The feeling looks like it might well be mutual as Jack Dorsey, the Twitter co-founder and executive chairman, is honoured as the media person of the year.

Philip Thomas, chief executive of Cannes Lions, said: “Since inventing Twitter in 2006, Jack Dorsey has, in an incredibly short space of time, brought to the world an entirely new way for people to communicate, share ideas, and learn new things. Read More »

That was then: admen go to digital school [Part I

This is the plan. John Bacon and Adrian Kemsley are going to put aside their 60 years of jointly accumulated experience, forget the shelves of D&AD pencils (8, since you don’t ask) and Cannes Lions and take a placement at digital agency Weapon 7 to experience the deep end as it’s offered to callow youths fresh from art school. Why? Read More »

Time to rebrand Cannes Lions

Sitting in my inbox is an email from the organizers asking, “How can we make Cannes Lions even better?”

My answer: Change your name and focus from “Advertising Festival” to “Marketing Festival”.

If you followed what won in June, it was all about: Interactive. Integrated. Influencer (code for PR). To hammer home that point, Tourism Queensland’s “Best Job in the World” campaign won the Grand Prix for Cyber. And DR. And PR. (Strangely, nothing for Integrated, but that is another post…) Significantly, this is a campaign where the only paid media ads were of the typically lowly “help wanted” kind.

The PR Lions, which were new for 2009, only had 431 entries. The “Film” Lions (aka TV ads and/or digital video) in contrast had 3,453 entries — which was a whopping 25% less than last year. Clearly the organizers hope to boost entries from the “newbie” PR, Design, and other earned or owned media categories. (Hummm…Social Media or WOM in 2010 perhaps?)

So when pretty much everybody agrees that keeping the marketing disciplines in silos is so 1999, now might be the right time to rename and rebrand Cannes Lions as the champion of creative in all aspects of marketing. What do you think? If you were an expert in the Ballet, would you enter a Ballroom competition? Call it a Dance Lion, though, and you just might give it a whirl.

Shall we follow each other on Twitter?

Late for the party (but ahead socially) at Cannes

As excited as I am about PR being included this year at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, there is a certain irony in being invited for the first time during a recession. 2009 is predicted to be much more subdued on the party front. Pity…PR people may be newbies at Cannes, but they are the gurus of stylish events.


But the more serious quirk of fate is that 2009 is the year social media took centre stage in marketingland. So our debut at Cannes coincides with all the other disciplines discovering the power of the influencer and admitting that a positive brand touchpoint in earned media is worth exponentially more than a paid impression.


I looked up the criteria for the PR Lions. They are all about  “…the creative use of reputation management by the building and preservation of trust and understanding between individuals, businesses or organisations and their publics.”


It is a bit of a mouthful, but Internet empowered trust between people, even across time and distance, is the fuel that makes the web 2.0 technologies work. So whether it is social networks like Facebook, or some of the more fascinating communication tools like Twitter, the intersection between technology and marketing is right where PR has always been. We have decades of practice helping brands earn their way into the public conversation.


I am too superstitious to predict what will win a PR Lion at Cannes, as we have several noble horses in that race. The rest of the field is easier to call. Burger King Sacrifice is a safe bet imho and Advertiser of the Year, Volkswagen, always does well in the Cyber Lions. When it is all done and dusted though, I foresee 2009 as the year that not just the Cannes folks, but all of adland finally “got” modern PR.

Please follow me — as well as the agency account — as we micro-document our Cannes coming out party and our Tweet-up seminar with Biz Stone. If you can’t make it to Cannes this year, tweet your question for Biz now to the @hillandknowlton account with hashtag #HKcannes