Jane Austin: Simon Le Bon, Laura Dern, boredom (and two winners) from the Cannes palace of varieties

Cannes again. Normally we heave a deep sigh of resignation as we slap on the fake tan and brace ourselves for another week of waking up exhausted everyday to listen to people talk about themselves. This year however we are determined to fully embrace the same old themes (diversity and purpose, anyone?) and ‘reach out’ for the same old buzzwords if only to escape the reality of what is actually going on in the world at the moment. If you want the real world to feel like a long-forgotten dream, then Cannes Lions 2017 is the place for you.

Sing-a-long a Le Bon

Only in Cannes can you join a sing-a-long with Simon Le Bon at 11 o’clock in the morning. Le Bon, who is now the front man for the music agency Syn Music, was on the main at the Palais and invited the audience to participate in the recording of an original song. Le Bon revealed that, when it comes to song-writing, the music comes first and dictates the story. To show just how much of an afterthought lyrics are to him, everyone in the audience was forced to sing a chorus that went “your noise filling my ears, my face, my head”. Watch the video below if you can bear to. Afterwards, we can only hope Le Bon cheered himself up by hopping on the nearest yacht and belting out a couple of bars of Rio.

Mentalism for marketers

All marketers are mentalists – you only have to look at Keith Weed’s jackets to know that. But sadly, they’re not mind readers, so illusionist Keith Barry took to the stage to give the ad world some handy hints on predicting customer behaviour. He also guessed what an audience member’s mother’s maiden name was. Barry advised that even in a world obsessed by tech, human relationships are extremely powerful and had this warning for marketers: “We are all more similar than we realise, don’t over rely on what the data tells you, focus on the humanity.”

Irony alert: A bank tells the creative world to “fight the system”

AIB bank and agency Rothko advised the delegates at Cannes to fight process, systems and research and remember to let go and be truly creative. Tom Kinsella, the group marketing director at AIB, said: “Structures and processes greatly enhance your chances of delivering consistently average work.”

Trevor Robinson braves it out

Trevor Robinson OBE, founder and executive creative director of Quiet Storm, ruminated on bravery (guaranteed he won’t be the only one to do that this week but he was the first) and the importance of dealing with disappointment. He said: “In some ways I shouldn’t be in advertising as my sense of humour isn’t populistic. But it sometimes works.” He added that he was an outsider in the industry when he started out and so he always felt he couldn’t fail.

Laura Dern takes on the Hollywood narcissists

Laura Dern, the star of Twin Peaks and Big Little Lies, believes actors need to stop talking about themselves and start talking about causes they believe in. She was on a ?panel? alongside YouTube star Grace Helbig as they discussed the similarities between YouTube and Hollywood and how marketers should work with both. Dern revealed how her Oscar-nominated role in the film Wild inspired her to to raise awareness about lung cancer – her character died from the disease.

The power of boredom

There were a lot of very bored people at the session hosted by Cheil Worldwide on Sunday. That’s meant as a compliment – you see, boring is the new interesting, according to Cheil. In this hectic fast-paced tech-driven world, people are yearning for ordinary everyday boring stuff to watch. ‘Twas ever thus – Gardener’s World celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

And the winners are:
The first Grand Prix of Cannes 2017 went to Clemenger Melbourne BBDO for ‘Meet Graham’ the road safety campaign that showed what our bodies would look like if they could withstand a car crash. It won in the Health and Wellness category of the Health Lions. There was no Grand Prix handed out in the Pharma category.

The Grand Prix for Good was won by McCann Health India and McCann Worldgroup India for the ‘Immunity Charm’ campaign for the Afghanistan Ministry of Health.

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About Jane Austin

Jane Austin is the founder and owner of PR agency Persuasion Communications.

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