Marcus Tesoriero, executive creative director at The Brand Agency Perth, has found plenty of inspiration in Cannes so far. Here Tesoriero writes on his first three days at the Festival.
Good news everyone. We’re going to save the world. Yes, you – creaking back on your office chair sipping on a morning latte (hopefully in a KeepCup). You’re going to save the world. Well, at least that’s what brands are now expecting us to do.
According to 70% of the talks I’ve seen so far at the Cannes Lions, brands of the future need to own a higher purpose to make the world a better place. And it’s for totally selfish reasons. Brands that aren’t standing for something bigger are getting left behind – especially by the up and coming generations of younger people who refuse to associate with them. Great news I say. Whatever the reason, brands now have an unavoidable business motive for social good. And that only makes the hard work we put into creative projects more satisfying, right?
Obviously, this social good conversation has been happening for a while now, but I think the real difference this year is ensuring brands actually live a higher purpose rather than just saying they stand for something in a feel-good, manifesto-style TV spot. Often discussed as an easy reference, Nike’s ‘Dream Crazy’ campaign has been a good example of the brand standing by Colin Kaepernick when half of the country was crucifying him. A brave stance on an issue facing humanity that initially saw Nike sales drop dramatically then spike 31% higher after the campaign went viral across the USA – with swarms of people coming to Nike’s support.
But not all brands are nailing this yet. To be honest, some of the social media and tech company presentations I went to felt a little on the nose. Like they were still talking the talk of a higher purpose but not yet proving the walk. Either way, it’s good to see they’re forced to be on this journey and will learn how to build real cases of social good along the way.
I loved the talk Defining Art + Activism showcasing the collaboration between Participant Media, Oscar-calibre creatives and real-world change-makers that used storytelling to create a lasting impact around today’s most important issues. They showed how it was no coincidence that award-winning films such as An Inconvenient Truth, Spotlight, Green Book and Roma we’re a huge success in making change in the world. The issues focused on in these films were planted as a brief well before the scripts were written, produced then built up as a PR masterpiece.
Up the hill perched the Goals House run by SAP. I was invited to one of the most beautiful locations in the world for a lunch of talks and discussions focused on making the United Nations Global Goals a reality. Kicked off by Noor Tagouri, a Libyan American journalist and activist, some interesting points were raised to start conversations around the problems we’re now facing and how brands, world leaders and people in general can put in the hard work and collaborate for real-world outcomes.
Back to business, even though social good has dominated the conversation here, there has been some great talks on how we can better our industry, too. Nick Law, Global CCO of Publicis opened the week with a passionate presentation on bringing back stronger creative leadership into everything we do. But it needs to be creative leadership combined with a business sense. He says the biggest sin of the 90’s was the separation between creative agencies and media agencies. These days in many cases, the media is the idea. Now we have situations where Google and Facebook are giving us best practices on how to be creative in their platforms. He feels creatives should be constantly thinking up new ways to give them best practices. He used a simple metaphor to describe this – Kodak wouldn’t give Martin Scorsese best practices on how to shoot a film.
On Tuesday, David Droga took to the stage to discuss his agency being acquired by Accenture. Yes, it was David’s biggest payday ever, but he says there were strong reasons to make the partnership. The Droga5 creative powerhouse is not slowing down anytime soon – if anything it’s going to be stronger than ever. He said Accenture now opens the doors to a whole new world of controlled brand experience, tech and marketing. And from what I heard first-hand; together they will be a formidable force.
The winning work is starting to flow through now. And talking to some of the judges, this was the toughest year on work to date. Many projects expected to pick up haven’t even made the shortlists. I guess that’s why I’m super proud to have been awarded a silver and two bronze already for our agency’s campaign, Hungry Puffs. A couple of shortlists to go but I couldn’t be prouder from an extremely difficult year.
I’m now looking forward to seeing what this high benchmark of judging produces as a final outcome. Scale seems to be the ongoing theme they are looking for but let’s hope that doesn’t dampen a focus on brilliant creative thinking.