“How was Cannes?” a friend asked last week.
“Great” I said, paying for the round of beers, “The seminars I attended were amazing, the parties even better and the work was really inspiring.”
“Anything I’d have seen?”
I cast my mind back a few weeks and start to trawl through all the great work I’d been exposed to. There were the brilliantly art-directed campaigns, the carefully crafted long copy ones, the strange ones and the technique-over-idea ones, but I can’t for the life of me remember which brands they were for, let alone the agencies responsible for creating them.
There are, however, a handful of pieces I can remember in minute detail – and on reflection the reason for this is that they were the only ones that made me really feel anything.
When I saw Samsung’s Insight – Photography lessons with the blind my initial reaction was, “Here we go again, another camera company cashing in on the sightless”. By the end of the award video when I realised that all of the photos had been turned into 3D sculptures so that the photographers could feel their pictures, all I could think was, “Wow!”. Compared with Wimpy’s Braille Burger (which also won gold) there’s only one clear winner in my mind.
The Return of Dictator Ben Ali is another great example of getting people to feel something. In fact the campaign relies on it. The crowd’s growing anger at the return of the tyrant is what fuels the reveal – when they finally rip down the banner they see the following message: Beware, dictatorship can return. Go out and vote! Even their anger turning into amusement at having been caught out by an ad is infectious.
Save the Troy Library “Adventures In Reverse Psychology” made me laugh as I’m from a small town where the locals used to get up in arms over almost anything. So asking people to come and take part in a book-burning party in order to save a public library is a stroke of genius in my book.
The ALS I have already died campaign was particularly powerful as anyone who has ever lost someone to a terminal disease will tell you. Patients suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis made campaign statements in order to collect money for the ALS Foundation in the Netherlands – the twist was that the recordings were only aired after they had passed away.
And finally CoorDown’s Integration Day, a simple campaign that promoted the importance of World Down Syndrome Day by substituting the actors in commercials with actors with Down Syndrome. Even the creatives who went up to collect the gold Lion were substituted – that’s when the standing ovation happened.
Given a bit more time and the right company I’m sure I could name quite a few more campaigns but my point is simply this: there’s a lot of great work at Cannes, if you want to be remembered after the party has died down your work needs to make people feel something.
My friend is an accountant, so to ensure I don’t have to explain the above while his eyes glaze over I simply say, “No”, and take the first sip of my beer.