Unilever and BBH’s Axe wins Cannes Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix – but what does it mean?

Not a lot really, just that you won a Lion the year before and have written a decent submission paper explaining why your campaign worked (a bit like university course work).

It’s not that BBH’s campaign for Unilever’s Axe (or Lynx, depending in which country your armpit is situated) is bad; it’s had its peaks and troughs and, at the moment, it’s peaks. But how on earth a jury, headed by Havas boss David Jones, can decide it’s more ‘creatively effective’ than loads of other decent campaigns remains a mystery.

So far the winners at Cannes have been remarkably uninspiring, clever solutions to self-imposed problems rather than brilliant, blazing ideas which make you think ‘we could do that.’ The two Outdoor winners, for Coke and Mercedes, come firmly into that category. Clever but minor so, so what?

As the festival becomes ever more institutionalised with clients, media owners and politicos turning up, and awards for the best use of a hairbrush, the winners are more likely to be ads with a supposed rationale behind them.

The first Cannes Mobile Grand Prix went to this Google campaign re-imagining Coke’s ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’ 1971 campaign, featuring venerable creative Harvey Gabor.

Good PR for Google but, again, what does it mean?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.