06/21/19: Cynopsis at CANNES LIONS

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Cynopsis at CANNES LIONS

On the last day of Cannes Lions, stages are being dismantled all over the Croisette and Cannes is taking back its beach, but inside the Palais the sessions continue. Throughout the week we’ve learned about social responsibility, equality, diversity and targeting a generation of people who care about sustainability and ethical behavior towards your fellow man. We have learned that 7 out of 10 viewers find ads annoying and that many (women, minorities) feel like ads don’t resonate with them because they don’t feel represented. Has any of it resonated with the participants? Let’s find out at the closing party! But first…
Manuel Oliver and the life-sized 3D statue of his son Joaquin, who was killed in the Parkland shootings in 2018, received a standing ovation as they took the Debussy stage on Friday morning. The audience was treated to a documentary about how, after his son’s death, Oliver teamed up with Alma to create a 3D activist that is now traveling the world, making a case for gun safety. Oliver implored advertisers to join the cause and offered one solution: much like organic food is marked, why not certify companies who are fighting for gun safety, or at least not supporting the organizations actively working against gun control? Oliver stated it is not a red or a blue matter – if it were a political issue it would have been solved already, he contended. “A social problem needs a social solution,” he said. “Money talks – hit them in their pockets.” As a tearful Oliver asked the audience (which included festival director Louise Benson) to give his son, “Guac,” a standing ovation, you were hard pressed to find a dry eye in the house.
A year after dueling it out onstage with New Yorker writer Ken Auletta, Martin Sorrel still commanded a good-sized crowd for a far less controversial session. On hand to talk about Burning Man (no, really) the crowd discovered Sorrel has attended the desert gathering three times and will be returning this year. Those looking for the same caliber show as last year received a presentation for a different kind of circus. The burning question for those in advertising was: Can there be a future in which brands are allowed inside Burning Man? “My secret vision is that large brands will get the memo that un-branding and doing something significant is super cool,” said Burning Man Project CEO Marian Goodell. “I’m doing something that could use some real powerful brands behind it, and I am not going to be able to name those brands. But in my world, if someone sees a gift to make change, they’re going to want to know who did it. And the word of mouth is going to be more powerful than the logo.”
The “Owned By No One” session took a perplexing turn when moderator Nils Leonard of Uncommon Creative Studios announced that “only ladies” could supply questions for the audience Q&A at the end of the conversation. Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn then called on each woman who had submitted a question online, asking them to identify themselves inside the auditorium and rephrase their query. When asked why he became a filmmaker and how his upbringing had influenced his attitude towards creativity, Refn dismissed the question as googlable. After a week of talks about equality, inclusivity and humanity this seemed like a strange demonstration from a self-proclaimed feminist.
NBCUniversal’s chairman of Advertising & Client Partnerships Linda Yaccarino sat down with Entertainment Person of the Year Lorne Michaels to discuss creativity. Michaels explained how he knows he’s got something good on his hands. “In my field you follow the laughs. If it’s working it’s clear. If it’s not working, it’s also clear,” he said. “With movies, when you’re watching the first cut with a preview audience, you can hear when they’ve lost interest. It’s about making sure it’s connecting and that you’re doing it in the briefest possible way.” On Saturday Night Live, Michaels said that when deciding which sketch makes it into the broadcast, there is no sense of fairness, or making sure every voice is represented, only about making the best possible show – and acknowledged there would be no way of launching SNL in this day and age. “You couldn’t do this show now, mostly because of budget,” he said. “There is a full band, production of this scale, film crew, the depth of costumes, design, plus the talent office and all the people working with each other – you can’t start that now because we’re in an age of narrow casting.”
For Michaels, the appeal in broadcasting is the ability to reach all fifty states, in all their diversity. “When you are doing political work it means that you have influence, particularly in the kind of world we are in now, in the red states as opposed to performing for the blue states and preaching to the choir,” he said. He also talked about the post-9/11 episode, where his initial reaction was, “we don’t have to deal with this,” because it happened prior to the fall premiere. But SNL put on a show, memorably including mayor Rudy Giuliani and rescue workers in the cold open. “There is a point,” said Michaels, “not that the show must go on, but that we’re a voice in culture and we want the right to speak. That’s what it’s about.”
The 2021 consumer, according to a rapid-fire presentation from WGSN managing director Carla Buzasi, will belong to one of three groups: The stressed out Compressionalists, who are perfectionists and time poor and want brands to simplify their lives and declutter the digital experience; the Kindness Keepers who are pushing back on hate culture and expect brands to join them in putting people over profits; and the Market Makers who are shaping their own destinies, creating their own paths and brands and are looking for peer-to-peer opportunities. Oh – and consumers in all three categories also hate being pigeonholed.
And that’s all from the Palais sessions this year! 

What did you take away from five days in Cannes?

“I think advertising is moving forward. We saw a lot of great technology, also a link to social good and I hope it’s not just a one-time thing.” Inclusive Design Director

“The lack of innovation from an activation point of view surprised me. In terms of all the beaches doing exactly the same stuff – there was nothing that creative. Even these game activations – you go in there and you’re expecting some interactive experience and it’s some screens playing a video game – you can’t even play it. It was a lot of show, but I didn’t come out of any of it thinking, ‘That’s really cool.’ Nothing techy jumped out.” Festival Contractor
Is all the talk about social good just lip service?

“The audience data and the millennials, who have increasing buying power, are saying they’re not going to associate with brands that are not purpose driven and are not going to work for brands that aren’t purpose driven. I think it’s an imperative that the consumer is driving, so I don’t think that will change.” Creative Director
How do we feel about ‘storyliving’?

“I think the term is tired. And I don’t think it’s anything new. I just listened to Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein, who were the Lions of St. Marks winners, and great advertising has always been about telling a compelling story. I think people are using this fancy new term for something we’ve always been doing.” Group Creative Director
Is there a group that should be considering their career options? Who’s the endangered species?

“Marketers. Anyone who feels like they’re niched into something is probably in the wrong place. My main takeaway from the week has been open-sourced collaboration and working with people in a pretty free environment to build some type of solution for a tangible problem. Anybody that is traditionally defining themselves as a ‘marketer’ is coming at it from the wrong point of view.” Creative

Did you use your reusable water bottle?

“I thought there was a little bit of a mixed message in that. Because you get a glass water bottle, but then they make it so much harder to use that water bottle than to just grab a carton of water. So I found myself grabbing bottles of water and feeling terrible about it all week. But I didn’t use it once.” Creative
Glass Lion: The Lion for Change
Grand Prix
‘The Last Ever Issue’ for Gazeta.PL/Mastercard/BNP PARIBAS

Lions of St. Mark
Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein
Independent Agency of the Year
Wieden + Kennedy, Portland

Creative Marketer of the Year


Sustainable Development Goals Lions
Grand Prix
‘The Lion’s Share’ for Mars Australia

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne/Finch, Melbourne

Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Good
Grand Prix
‘Generation Lockdown’ for March For Our Lives
McCann, New York

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women
Palme d’Or
Park Pictures, USA

Network of the Year
McCann Worldgroup

Creative Brand of the Year
Burger King

Holding Company of the Year

Titanium Lions
Grand Prix
‘The Whopper Detour’ for Burger King
FCB New York

Agency of the Year
Wieden + Kennedy, Portland

Film Lions
Grand Prix
Five Part Campaign: ‘Perseverance’, ‘Rigor’, ‘Resolve’, ‘Courage’ and ‘Fearlessness’ for The New York Times
DROGA5, New York
Cynopsis Ad Sales
Mike Farina

Albert Nassour

Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
Trish Pihonak

Director of Operations
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