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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  Cannes Is Over. Now What?

Cannes Is Over. Now What?

Posted on July 30, 2003 and read 14,754 times

Cannes Is Over. Now What? thumbnail

I had the great good fortune of being a Press & Outdoor Judge at this year’s Cannes Advertising Festival.

I could rattle on for hours about what an enriching experience it was, about all the bright people I met, and so on.

After big events like this, though, the big question seems to be “How can we Canadians do better?”

So let’s address what won and what didn’t.

Right off the bat, I can tell you that as a Jury, we were VERY hard on ads that looked like they were created to win awards. That’s why I say don’t TRY to win an award. Your ad will look like it was created to win one, and you’ll get smoked.

The best work invariably came from real clients with real briefs solving a real problem. Too often here in Canada, we award big prizes at the shows for clients who are clearly microscopic. Look at the past shows. You’ll see what I mean. Visual puns, or smart assed headlines win here like it’s nobody’s business.

But at Cannes, every ad that won was from a real, paying client. If there were any doubt, Dan Weiden would ask the Cannes admin people to hunt down the truth. (Hey, let me drop Dan Weiden’s name. When else am I going to get to?)

In fact, we had to rescind a Grand Priz when it was discovered that the agency had, um, paid for the ad to run and that the client, um, didn’t really NEED an ad.

I encourage my teams to go out and find small clients and do cool work them, but we make the clients pay for media and production. Why? Because it ain’t real if we don’t.

Also, doing a wonderful ad for P & G is monumentally tougher than doing one for Bubba’s Tatoo Parlour and Sex Shoppe.

In Cannes, some of the best work was created for perennially tough clients, and that makes it all the sweeter when an ad like that wins.

So, don’t create an ad with the podium in mind. Instead, create it with SELLING in mind, and more than likely the awards will follow.

Let’s address another issue: It’s often said that the Latin countries are more liberal and free thinking, so cooler work is approved there. That makes it harder for tight-assed countries like Canada to do well at Cannes.

On the one hand, this is accurate. Many ads that I saw in Cannes would not have been approved here. Too racy. Too politically incorrect. Too….something.

But the best work from South America relied on nothing more radical than a good idea. It didn’t rely on sex or bathroom humour or “shock”. Look at the award-winning Latin work. 95% of it could have run here.

Here’s how we can win more at Cannes. (It’s earth shattering, so pay attention.)


Yes, that’s it. Tons of great Canadian work doesn’t get entered because of cost or the feeling that “it doesn’t have a chance”. Not true. It HAS a chance. A good chance. And if we can collectively convince our Creative Directors and CFOs to pony up a bit more coin, then I guarantee that Canada will do even better next year. As the lottery people like to say, “You can’t win if you don’t play.”

So let’s play more. After all, it’s called the ad game.

Tony Miller
Creative Director
Sharpe Blackmore EURO RSCG




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