I don’t think the winners at Cannes will surprise anyone. Cannes is like the Oscars, not just because it is the biggest awards show around, but because dark horses rarely come out of nowhere to win. The big winners at Cannes will be — as always — the blockbusters that have been talked about all year.
So I predict the Always "Like a Girl" effort from Leo Burnett, the John Lewis "Penguin" film by adam&eveDDB and "The Other Side" interactive film from W+K London will take home top prizes. All smart, emotional, surprising work that has already received well-deserved accolades. Expect that to continue at Cannes.
Some of the most provocative work from the past year, like "Mistakes" for the New Zealand Transportation Agency and "Like a Girl," are for good causes, or brands that align themselves with causes in relevant ways. When brands do good (we call it "brand citizenship" at 72andSunny) they have the potential to connect with more people in more powerful ways. It was smart of Always to align themselves with a cause. It’d be hard to generate as much talk and love with a film focused on feminine products.
Not sure I’d label it an official trend, because it’s been done a lot in the past, but quite a few recent campaigns are built around events. That is, you do something for real out in the world, document the shit out of it, then use that to make the ads. "Like a Girl" used casting sessions. The Ad Council’s "Love Has No Labels" and Bud Light’s giant Pac Man game created big public spectacles. And "World’s Toughest Job" did it with online interviews.
Other personal favorites include yet another great Lurpak ad that takes viewers on a mouth-watering, space-themed exploration of food that makes cooking not only heroic but accessible.
The Newcastle "If We Made It" campaign, continued this year in "Band of Brands," perfectly subverts the hype around Super Bowl ads and turns a lack of budget into a creative asset.
And Gatorade’s "Made in New York" film with Derek Jeter is just a great, personal story told at the exact right moment in time with the most perfect song. (I’m a Red Sox fan from Boston, so for me to praise anything related to the Yankees in a public forum must mean I really like it. Good job, Gatorade.)
What would I like more of from Cannes Lions? To have juries dig a little deeper when they judge, and unearth something I've never seen before. In other words, to make next year's predictions a little harder.
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Jason Norcross is partner and executive creative director with 72andSunny.