Rob Kavanagh of Oliver: my Top Tips for Cannes

Way back when I was starting out at Ogilvy Wellington, I was told to watch something. Something that would do me good. It was Neil French’s seminal ‘Good is the Enemy of Great.’ The gist was there’s one thing the best advertising campaigns seem to have in common: irreverence. That was good enough for me then, and it’s still my mental shortcut when I’m reviewing work today.

As such, here are three campaigns I reckon should clean up at Cannes.

My Top Tips for Cannes

Tide – It’s a Tide ad

This campaign could run for years. It’s already timeless. Tide sent up the tropes of other sectors’ ads, with David Harbour shamelessly plugging the detergent in diamond ads, car ads, beer ads, supplement ads, shaving ads – the lot. It’s just so on the nose. And for a brand like Tide to come away as the Super Bowl hero? That’s award-worthy. So yeah, like David says.. I guess it does make every Super Bowl ad a Tide ad.

LADBible – The Trash Isles

It’s one of those ideas we all wish we’d thought of. One of those ideas simpler than the nonsense you spout with your mates down the pub, but more poignant, more immediate than, say, that aftershave for mice you were pitching after your sixth pint. And infinitely more purposeful. LADBible and the Plastic Oceans Foundation looked at the horrific effect plastic waste has on our seas, and decided to claim it for their own.

A pile of rubbish in the North Pacific, the size of France, has now been dubbed the Trash Isles – the plan is to have it recognised as an official country by the UN. Now, that’s an idea big enough to fill a tweet. Hardman Ross Kemp fronted the ludicrous campaign video; he urged people to become Trash Isles citizens, thus ensuring the world’s first country made of trash will be its last. Al Gore was the first official citizen. Let’s hope ManBearPig doesn’t emigrate.

Tesla – Sending a car into space, because why not

Tesla doesn’t advertise. It doesn’t really need to. But on 6 February 2018, Elon Musk’s Space X launched one of his other brands – and his actual car – into orbit. Playing Bowie’s Space Oddity. Of course. The Tesla brand was front and centre again, mere months after the Roadster’s trick-reveal hogged headlines. Musk has proven, time and again, that innovation can always be found not just in his products, but in the brazen way in which he markets them.

Commercial space venture may soon(ish) become accessible to the public. You probably won’t be able to drive a Tesla out there, but you might just be able to hear it.

(Well, no. You won’t be able to hear it. But you know what I mean.)

Rob Kavanagh is executive creative director of Oliver UK.

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