Brian Cooper of Oliver Group: my Top Tips for Cannes


Brian Cooper is chief creative officer of Oliver Group UK. He has held executive creative director posts at Dare, Ogilvy and Wieden+Kennedy, working on Nokia. He led Apple’s iAd business in Europe and is one of the few creatives to take charge in both traditional and digital agencies. He began his career as a copywriter at BBH.


My Top Tips for Cannes

Julian Barnes famously called the Man Booker prize ‘posh Bingo.’ It’s not so different with Cannes Lions. There’s always an element of luck. So what are the chances as we descend on the French Riviera this time round? I paid William Hill a visit and they gave me these odds:

Burger King – McWhopper – 5/3 Favourite

It’s self-referential, it’s Peace Day and it’s very simple. Cannes will love it, and it’s almost certain to come away with a Grand Prix. If you need this explaining then you’ve obviously been living on another planet for the last six months. It just goes to prove if you want to win at Cannes, your campaign needs to have a head of steam before it reaches the Croisette. PR is a big part of the game these days.

REI – Opt Outside – 3-1

My personal favourite of the year. Mountain clothing retailer REI did the unthinkable – it closed all of its stores on Black Friday. But it was a stroke of genius. Big bold and completely on-brand, the campaign led with the slogan “wouldn’t you rather be out on the mountains?” It couldn’t be more fitting for a brand like this.

This idea will be copied endlessly but never bettered. I wonder what the odds are for an agency to pull the same stunt with Cannes?

Curry’s – Jeff Goldblum – 5-1

Jeff Goldblum teaching punters how to act when they receive disappointing gifts was Christmas gold. However, whether the humour appeals to Cannes judges is another matter. Comedy’s always a risky one and especially so on a global scale. It could go either way.

Louis XIII Cognac – the movie you’ll never see – 11-1

A brilliantly lateral idea to demonstrate the length of time it takes to make Louis XIII cognac: a movie that you’ll never see. Shot by Roberto Rodriquez and starring John Malkovich, the film has been put in a vault for a 100 years never to be seen except by your descendants. It’s absurd but fantastic – and indicative that today the case study video is the most important part of the entry. The fact that they pulled it off is testament to the commitment to the idea.

Red Bull – Kaleidoscope: See Things Differently – 25-1

This ad may have little in the way of idea, but it is exquisitely put together. Beautifully shot for Red Bull, it features Kriss Kyle, widely regarded as one of the most unique and creative BMX riders. It’s mesmerising and really wants to be watched over and over again. But it may be a bit of a long shot. Created in-house, it may not even be entered at all. In fact, a few years ago Red Bull snubbed Cannes altogether with their brilliant Stratos idea, preferring to go for an Emmy instead.

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