Thursday, 18 June 2015

Who wins my Cannes Lions?

Cannes is almost upon us and whilst some would argue the whole thing is an exercise in self-promotion and networking, it does provide us with the opportunity to stop and think about the last year of advertising. 

This year is an important one because it is the first time that Cannes will give a special award, the Glass Lion, to a memorable campaign around gender and women's empowerment. This is obviously a hot topic in the advertising world. You can't walk through the tube or watch an episode of X Factor without getting some kind of positive girl power endorsement. I'm not complaining of course. I work in an industry where you constantly see sexism. Many a time I've seen campaigns where all the men featured were doctors, business men and architects and the women featured were mothers, cooks and nurses. So honestly, when I see an ad where a women is boxing or running a board room I cheer. 

My bet for the winner of the Glass Lion is on the "#LikeAGirl" campaign for Always by Leo Burnett, Toronto, Chicago and London. It challenges people's use of the phrase "like a girl" turning the phrase into an expression of strength. Yeh let's fight like a girl and win like a girl! A mantra for us ladies still fighting the good fight in male led agencies. 

And it's not just attitudes towards women that's receiving the attention of advertising and brands. Other entries tackle Nazi's in Germany, poverty and hunger and racial prejudices. 

AMV BBDO, London's brilliant advert for Guinness, "Made Of Black" redefined the meaning of being black, claiming it isn't a skin colour but a strong, powerful and vibrant attitude. The use of Kanye West's "Black Skinhead" created a powerful music video type piece that I just love. 

Others tackle local issues by using their products in a helpful way, like Samsung's "The Safety Truck" by Leo Burnett, Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Argentina has a large number of single lane roads and many fatalities are caused by people trying to overtake large vehicles whilst unable to see the road ahead. Samsung fitted their screens to the back of their lorries which gave drivers behind a live feed of the road ahead. Who knows how many lives this creative idea could save. This surely is creativity put to the best use.