The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has changed a lot over the years, and its evolution closely mirrors that of the advertising industry as a whole. During the 90s it was a smaller and more concrete festival where medals were given to traditional ads on TV, radio and in print. But through the years, new spaces have emerged acknowledging the developments in digital and new media. Now, in more recent years, the Cannes Lions is recognizing agencies for the campaigns and work they create to address social and “bigger picture” issues. Take, for instance, the introduction of the Glass Lion – a fight for female rights, the Health Lions track – a parallel festival that acknowledges campaigns centered on medical care, or the Innovation Lions – spotlighting the best uses of technology and data.
The evolution of the industry has also helped shape better practices between agencies and clients. There has been a focus on the clean-up of scam ads. These are ads created with the sole purpose of winning awards – the antithesis of what the festival should be about and represent. While working to disqualify scam ads the festival organizers have also made efforts to encourage brands by rewarding the Advertiser of the Year; an award given to clients that take a part in the creative process, which also drives the industry’s evolution forward. It’s remarkable how this has attracted the marketing departments’ attention.
The efforts for improving the clients’ involvement in the entry process has not only motivated agencies to win awards, but to give their advertisers a better quality of work and find new opportunities that stand out and try to solve social problems effecting their clients, consumers and markets. Therefore, a new trend in publicity can be seen in the advertising world, in which brands not only care about selling their own products but in taking note of what’s happening in society. This explains why the cases that deal with social responsibility, ecological challenges or inequality are outstanding and shaping an active and concerned industry.
This is where Latin American agencies have undeniably earned their points and clout. Living and working in societies that have many social issues that need to be solved, gives a wider range of opportunities for creating actions and solutions. Other regions may lead in technology, innovation or audiovisual quality – but it is Latin America who is often the frontrunner in taking advantage of opportunities to create touching and effective cases. Such campaigns include David’s (Buenos Aires) breast cancer awareness campaign or “The Last Mask” for Natalia Ponce de León’s Foundation against acid attacks against women.
It’s important to understand that the key to winning a Lion in Cannes is not only producing a well-crafted, unique idea, a key ingredient is also having a clear explanation of context, relevance, pertinence and how the work was able to effect change. It’s also good to not that these cases and entries are seen and judged by people all over the world, so a good argument is a milestone and likely the key to winning.
The Cannes Lions sets the new trends every year – with each festival, they show where the world of advertising and publicity is heading. Each year, everything is renewed. Of course, these impacts not only remain in the present but build the future gradually. Every year, in late June, in the South of France, public figures and leaders like Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, Pharell Williams, Marilyn Manson, Ben Stiller or Alejandro González Iñárritu, share stages with agency Creative Directors, CEOs and Strategists from all over the world…beyond the recognitions and awards, the Cannes Lions shows its value in what it does to preserve culture and social responsibility.