The Martin Agency’s Joe Alexander: my Top Tips for Cannes


Joe Alexander is chief creative officer of The Martin Agency in Richmond Virginia. Martin has produced numerous award-winning campaigns for clients including GEICO, Google, Donate Life and The JFK Presidential Library.

My Top Tips for Cannes

Picking winners every year for Cannes is like picking the winners at the Oscars. By the time the show comes around, we know every nomination by heart. There are absolutely no surprises left. This year, the big winners will be Fearless Girl, Superhumans and Meet Graham. Easy money, for sure.

But what work is going to come out of nowhere and surprise and delight us? I hope they are out there.

Here are a few sleepers I’ve found that I like a lot that haven’t received much attention – yet.


Kiwi portraits completed. Agency: Ogilvy/Chicago. Brand: Kiwi Shoe Care.

Talk about a low interest category. The execution is flawless and the writing perfect. You’ll learn more about art history than you ever thought possible. Oh, and what’s a nice shade of brown for your boots, too.

Paul Cézanne Self-Portrait with Beret (1900)


Brown Shoes with Black Laces (2017)

Johannes Vermeer Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665)


Girl with Blue Flats (2017)


Stress-tested for women. Agency: W+K/Portland. Brand: Secret.

Just right on so many levels. Poignant. Timely. Crafty. Insightful product position. Great writing as always from this agency. And the exchange with the older woman. Bam.


Anything in design from Dentsu/Tokyo.

This is quite possibly the most innovative, inspirational and prolific agency of any kind in our business right now. I’m in awe. At Cannes Design Lions, they will dominate. There are so many examples, but this poster called The Study of Human Being is a piece of art.

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