Fortunately for us judges, the first weekend of Cannes Lions saw the sun go into hiding and the rarity of rain fall on the Côte d’Azur. As a result, being confined to our bunker for ten hours a day pouring over the Media category submissions didn’t seem so bad at first.
Now however, it’s not just the weather that’s hotting up. I personally have already voted on around 500 entries across 30 Media categories and we’re finally getting close to awarding those coveted golden Lions.
In my first confession, I made some predictions about what I was likely to see, what I hoped I would see and what would likely cause me and my fellow jurors to roll our eyes in despair.
I’m now able to confirm my fears but also report that innovation, true insight, great execution and valid business results will eventually shine through.
This week we’ve seen so much clutter and those campaigns that have already been able to break through and make the shortlist have often stood out because of the genius of their simplicity.
When you force a consumer to go through too many steps to engage with your brand, it’s often easy to loose them on the journey. Sometimes, it’s the simpler ideas that have the biggest impact.
Take those entrants that have made great use of everyday objects as new forms of media.
We’ve seen everything from garbage cans to the digital folders on a desktop screen transformed into media sites with great effect.
Predictably, too many submissions haven’t demonstrated proper results beyond millions of views, billions of impressions and thousands of social ‘likes’. Some have even tried to persuade us that a campaign’s ability to ‘ignite a conversation’ makes it deserved of an award.
Our response? So what? Show me how you used a true insight to build a strategy, to execute a brilliant media plan for a client and more importantly, how it all impacted the business results.
One memorable entry brilliantly satirized this insistence on claiming large numbers of views as an appropriate metric for success.
A car brand decided to collect real views so it attached facial recognition technology to its new vehicle and drove it around major cities.
Each time, someone turned to look at the car, it registered one real view. They still managed an impressive 85,000 real human views, giving us some much-needed light relief from the billions of virtual views and trillions of impressions presented by other cases.
Some of the most compelling campaigns I’ve seen have been those that engage the audience as part of the overall amplification.
For example, Brussels Tourism hung phones from billboards throughout the city and urged people from all over the world to call Brussels and speak to a random stranger about their experience of visiting.
This was a great way of not only producing lots of fun content that could then be amplified across social channels, it also involved and interacted with its audience beyond shares and likes, turning the very audience into the media.
I said before how pleased I was to see Data now a Media Lions category for 2016.
In truth, people need to better understand this category’s criteria.
We are rewarding those submissions that use data to execute media in a more compelling way. But many entries were only about using data to better understand audience insights and that’s just the first step towards implementing the campaign in a data-driven way.
I have however seen some really innovative uses of data to execute media campaigns.
My favorite was the one that matched geo-location data with monitoring data from local bars in order to tell you on a hot summer’s day, where had a seat available and a nice cold drink waiting to be served.
Finally, I’ve seen more connected campaigns where devices communicate with each other to deliver advertising at more appropriate times; and I’ve voted on some really clever user-generated content creation, including a bus transit authority, which encouraged commuters to produce content for things to see and do on the wider bus network in order to grow ticket sales and engage passengers.
Overall though, once we managed to cut through the clutter, I’ve seen a host of campaigns that really are ‘Cannes worthy’ and that’s been not only heartening and inspiring but has given me a real sense of pride at being able to reward them.
Maria Garrido, Havas Media Group’s Global Chief Insights and Analytics Officer is judging the 2016 Media Lions