(A different kind of) Cannes Predictions


No matter how digitally-lazy I have become, I  have to write a post on Cannes 2008.

And that’s because I think that it has really been a breakthrough edition. Finally.

Here is a spare sum-up of most remarkable works, with some considerations:

1 It’s not about the gorilla. I had to rule that out. I don’t know how it landed the Grand Prix (I guess it’s that bit of Cannes logics that I still don’t get). Yes, it may be funny, but I don’t see the idea.

(Apart from: let’s put a monkey there. Monkeys are fun!)

(I know it’s not a monkey, it’s an ape)

(You get the point)

And it really doesn’t matter how many people have seen it, as Cannes has never been about effectiveness. If it were, we would have seens tons of direct-response tv ads landing lion after lion…

2. Impressive work by Nine Inch Nails. It’s so much part of their art you can’t even consider it advertising. It’s experiential art, and I think it belongs to a different category.

3. A piece of tech-masturbation by Uniqlo, that landed the Cyber Grand Prix. I don’t really love it, because it seems “web tool for the sake of it”, with no real idea/insight, but it’s interesting as a showcase for what widgets can be.

4. Kudos to the Halo team at Microsoft: a simple, inspiring idea (ie. promoting an action game without any real action), and a very good execution. Not much interaction, and that’s good: it’s about becoming familiar with the Halo legend, and that’s much bigger than You-User.

5. The Millennium Phone by Droga5 definitely deserved the Titanium Grand Prix. Just like NIN, it plays in another league, and shows how, as the digital age progresses, brilliant agencies may become all-purpose “idea factories”, well beyond communication as we now intend it.

6. There had to be something from Crispin, and here’s the much talked-about Whooper Freak-Out. Two considerations about this:

  1. Reality rules. And by that I don’t mean reality shows. I mean real vs virtual. 
  2. Simple rules. How many advertising creatives in large agencies would have considered that, well, enough of a “creative advertising idea”, as opposed to “a dull client idea”? And how many of them would have tried to come up with some sort of spectacular, metaphorical film imagining an imaginary Whopper-free world?

And now some predictions for future Cannes editions:

  1. Tv and Press will become marginal.  Ok, this is an easy one. With growing media convergence, there will be no point in having stand-alone “Tv” and “Press” categories, as the most meaningful works, or indeed all works, will have some sort of integration. Traditional Tv and Press ads will be the equivalent of the comic strips page on newspapers: you spend only a few minutes and half a brain on them in exchange for an easy laugh, but then you move on to the real stuff.
  2. Cyber will become a display of tech skills. Again, with cyber being the center of creative works that will most likely feature some other media, there’s no need for a separate cyber category. On the other hand, there may be a need for a category that would award technical innovation, rather than creative ideas. (If you want to know the difference, Uniqlo vs my long-time favorite Gamekillers)
  3. Integrated will split. With pretty much all remarkable work going multi-media, there will be a need to split Integrated into different categories. No idea yet what those categories will be, but it’s sure worth spending some thoughts on…
  4. Titanium will part. Titanium was born as a distant relative of advertising already, and even though in its youngest years the advertising family tried raising it under its own roof, it’s now pretty clear that the two don’t share much. Titanium will increasingly become a category awarding business innovation, even though it’ll be still hosted in the Palace. It’ll draw a different crowd and just work according to different rules. It will then part in spirit, if not in body.
  5. Cannes will die. Ok, that’s a long shot. But with advertising, entertainment and many other industries (search, anyone…?) blending into one, single discipline of brand promotion, and creativity taking on larger challenges besides pure communication, there will be no need for an Advertising Festival. But oyster-lovers need not to be scared: Cannes may easily evolve into a different kind of festival, a mash-up of the current adv parade, the Academy Awards, a business fair and a Ted Conference.


Final Burp: Going through both works at Cannes, and daily projects here at Dare, I’ve been wondering way too often already: is this advertising? It doesn’t look like it is. (And that was a good sign). Let’s just not call it advertising anymore.


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