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Neil Dawson of Nissan United: my Top Tips for Cannes

Neil Dawson is global executive creative director, Nissan United at TBWA\Chiat Day in New York. Before that he was ECD of BETC in London and a senior creative at agencies including DDB, Ogilvy and BBH.

It’s week five at my new home on Madison Avenue. Yep Madison Bloody Avenue! That still does it for me.

We live in a groovy, curvy building right next to St Patrick’s Cathedral. The offices have a light, airy feel about them and they are full of very talented, energetic people. When I came here for my interviews (just before Christmas) I had a feeling I was going to enjoy the day. And I did. I also got a look at the recent work coming out of the TBWA world. I enjoyed that too.

So, you will have to forgive me if I choose one of the bits of work I saw then and confirmed to me that this was the place for me. Surely that’s allowed? It’s not like Boy George picking Karma Chameleon as one of his Desert Island Discs or Frank Lowe awarding himself the Cannes Grand Prix (in the days when there was only one Grand Prix. One! I shit you not!)

I wasn’t here then. I had nothing to do with this work. I wish that I did.

Amongst others I loved the Gatorade Messi “Don’t Go Down” spot (You see I’m saying ‘spot’ already rather than ‘film’. It will be ‘sidewalk’ next..) A great message to young fans from a stunning big idea – Win From Within.

I spent Christmas in the UK. The pre-Christmas battle of the brands was hotly contested last year. It was PC World that rose Leicester-Like to snatch the trophy from the usual title contenders.

I’ve been slightly down on UK TV advertising over the last couple of years so it was a delighted to be entertained by a campaign that was brilliantly written and directed.

My third contender is an item of packaging from Kyrgyzstan of course. A milk bottle that looks like a cow is being beamed up by aliens, of course. As a kid I’d have drunk that every day of the week. If I wasn’t already poisoning myself with Cresta.



My final choice is in the innovation arena. I come from a family of engineers so it’s in the blood. It’s an awesome piece of kit called Blackbird. Running as I do, a large car account this has added relevance as it revolutionizes what is possible in production of car ads.



It’s one car that can be any car! A high-tech rig that mimics the shape and movement of any car. It captures reflections and environmental data to allow the re-skinning of almost any car. The creative freedom this affords is immense.

Of course the real winner at Cannes is the Food & Beverages Manager at the Carlton Hotel. With an even bigger festival with even more categories he or she is in for another record year.

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