July 2, 2012
I found something very encouraging recently at the Cannes Lions 59th International Festival of Creativity. This is the annual global gathering of the best and brightest in the branding, advertising, media and entertainment industries. This year was the largest ever festival – 12,000 delegates, with 34,000 entries to compete for the top awards.
What I found encouraging was the optimism of the best work at the Festival. I have been going to this event for nine years, and believe me, it is not always optimistic. Our world today is fraught with complex and difficult issues: the Euro crisis, a near frozen political system in the U.S., implications from a rapidly rising population in emerging markets, high unemployment among youth in most major countries, to name a few.
So why was the most awarded work at the Festival so optimistic? Perhaps the global creative community sees something we don’t yet see. Creative people are intuitive, they may sense something economically happening in the world that is not yet evident to us broadly.
Here is just a sampling of some of the highly acclaimed, highly awarded and commercially successful work that is downright uplifting:
— Chipotle, which won the coveted Grand Prix award, encourages us to “cultivate a better world” by rethinking how we source the ingredients in the food we eat, and by encouraging more local sourcing. The film, which they launched on You Tube with a soundtrack by Willie Nelson, is one of my all time favorites.
— Google Chrome’s “All is Not Lost” video out of Hakuhodo Japan is one of the most beautiful and meaningful videos I have ever seen. This was brought to the market after the devastating tsunami in March 2011.
— Nike’s Nike+ FuelBand helps all of us to be healthier, and to enter a community of people trying to be more active, more healthy, more inspired. This initiative won the hjghest honor, the Grand Prix, and in its first year of introduction, it is already $1.5 billion in sales.
— Both Visa and P&G have remarkably optimistic, globally distributed campaigns around the Olympics that unite us around human truths. While the Olympics is endemically optimistic, these two companies capture that optimism more poignantly than I have seen in the long history of Olympic marketing efforts.
— Prudential celebrates the stories of people on Day One of their retirement, and they share these stories in paid and social media. The cumulative effect of these stories evokes a feeling of rebirth, optimism and renewal at this very emotional time of life.
So is the marketing and advertising industry leading us out of a global economic funk? I think they might be. And I am in good company: for the first time President Bill Clinton addressed the Cannes Lions Festival. His message: this industry more than any has the potential to lead and change things for the better. Lets build on this momentum in 2012, and make everything we do as great as the optimistic work awarded in Cannes this year.