Veskner: 'Twas the night before Cannes

HDtimelapse.net_City_0680_hirez.jpgBy Simon Veksner
Creative Partner, DDB Sydney

I reckon this year's Cannes will showcase the best work our industry has ever produced.

Buoys that detect sharks, children's books that are also eye tests, radio stations for dogs... the sheer creativity is staggering.

But so is the irrelevance. READ ON...

4 Comments

Alternative view said:

I think this is a bit of a misguided view.

You mention penny the pirate and clever buoy as examples of campaigns that aren't really campaigns. Not like those wonderful tvcs from the 90s.

The point is that the world has changed. In case you hadn't noticed, we can no longer reach the broad population with a charming TV spot.

So we need to find ways to reach people beyond traditional media. Talk able, newsworthy "things" that will get picked up and shared in the newsfeed. We need to appear in the spaces that aren't paid media. Let's call it earned media.

That's where penny the pirate comes in. Can't remember the last time someone talked about an ad for getting your kids' eyes tested. But a pack that will get sent to me for free? That I can use to engage my kids? That's very cool.

Same with clever buoy. No one really gives a shit about Optus coverage, and it's demonstrably worse than telstra's. But maybe we can do a brand awareness job by keeping the Optus name in the media by creating something really talkable, sonOptus stays on my consideration set. It's far more memorable and talkable than another ad with a farmer banging on about coverage. Yes, it's a pretty indirect message, but many brand ads are.

I'm not saying there isn't a lot of stuff that's tricked up for awards at Cannes, some of it nauseatingly so. But I am saying that aiming to do campaigns that focus on aging earned media instead of just filling a media spot is completely legitimate and, in fact, super smart. That's why questions of whether clever buoy is a commercial product are completely beside the point. Yes, protecting people from sharks in an innovative way is a great pursuit. But fundamentally this is about earning column inches in media and keeping Optus top of mind, which the campaign did admirably. Everything else is gravy.

Man-o-pause said:

It's quite alarming to have a jury at cannes determine what is good (or even apropriate) advertising these days...they have very little real world cred for me, judging by the decision they made in awarding the Grand Prix for the Health category.

This went to an entry called Intimate Words...from Mexico, sponsored by of all people P&G -- arguably the world's most seasoned marketer. The gist is that there's a village somewhere in mexico with the worlds highest rates of cervical cancer. Someone determeined that is because the women don't know the words to describe their internal plumbing to doctors, so a lot of misdiagnosis occurs and cervical cancers are spread.

So....if I cant tell a doctor the name of the organ where Im experiencing a problem, they won't get it? (That's BS btw)

The award winning solution for this problem was to come up with cute mexican phrases to describe the intimate organs of a woman, share them in workshops and print a book about it.......WELL....

How about vaccinating the entire village against the HPV Virus which is known to cause over 70% of cervical cancers?

That would not win an award and build your miserable careers...but it would save the lives you claim to care for.

KGB said:

@ Alternative View:

How many 'real people' know about Clever Buoy? Ask your mum, brother, kids or anyone who doesn't work in advertising, and you will find it is close to zero.

Also, how is Clever Buoy actually performing? And by ‘performing’, I actually refer to its role in protecting swimmers and surfers from sharks, as opposed to winning awards (which it is doing plenty of).

It “could one day present a viable alternative to current shark defense methods”, which sounds terrific. However, a quick look at the official website says that “Clever Buoy is Research and Development programme aimed at developing a prototype”. Shouldn’t we be celebrating ideas like this when they come into reality, or at least closer than “BETA R&D Phase”?

There are plenty of good ideas all around the world that prove to be impractical, thus can never become a reality. Shouldn’t we wait until this is real? Or is “real” not a huge consideration for awards juries?

Steve Dodds said:

@Alternate View

At the risk of sounding like a dinosaur apologist for TV commercials, you can in fact still reach the broad population with a TV spot. In fact, with the demise of print, it's pretty much the only way.

The same piece of film can, of course, broaden its reach even further on YouTube and FB etc etc etc.

Unfortunately, you can't with a case history for a Buoy or a Pirate book (not that I wish to single those two out).

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