Wunderman ECD Abi Ellis: my Top Tips for Cannes

Top tips for Cannes

Inspiring action. That’s what counts here at Wunderman. So my picks aren’t of the traditional adland kind. I applaud ideas that probably don’t fit into categories. But they punch above their weight. In an age of experience, what we really want is bloody good service design, or things that make us FEEL something. You won’t inspire action unless these fundamentals are in place.


Is there a hashtag category? This was the year of galvanising hashtags. #MeToo provoked a watershed moment. And, more recently, during the repeal referendum in Ireland #HomeToVote saw voters return en masse to have their voices heard. Whatever your personal beliefs, this shows the power of just three words.


Launched in 2015. Made an official bank in 2016. It was 2017 that Monzo became a bona fide phenomenon. Yeah, the neon branding is of note. But it’s the product and service design that makes it killer. It’s where uber meets domino pizza meets… a bank that flips convention on its head. See exactly what you spent WHERE (literally on a map), freeze your card, unfreeze your card. And just watch as fellow Monzo-ers strike up conversations with you at the cash tills. Monzo: just waiting to become a verb.


Action isn’t just something we should just expect customers to take. Brands need to take action too. Especially when they F*CK up. Yeah, it’s just chicken from KFC. But if what you sell is chicken, don’t run out of chicken across your entire network (insert foul play pun here!). I’m not suggesting this quick turnaround poultry-based ad deserves a Lion. But I do think there should be a category for brands which take action to resolve calamities (Starbucks, anyone?!)

Be More Pirate

Pirate is as Pirate does. When Simon Conniff launched his non-fiction guide Be More Pirate: Or How to Take On The World And Win he decided to take on the ethos of risking everything, breaking, and then remaking them. How? He disrupted the launch of his own book by fly posting a fluoro ad the size of a bus a over the HQ of his publisher Penguin Random House. Without permission. Avast ye.

Project 84

In the week that Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain tragically took their own lives, I would be remiss not to praise this gut-wrenching, alarming and somehow beautiful “campaign.” Every two hours, a man take his own life in the UK, making 84 deaths a week. These 84 mannequins teetered towards the edge on London’s Southbank, to remind us to get talking – about how we must take action to help those we love if suicidal thoughts are preying upon them.

Abi Ellis is ECD of Wunderman UK.

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