Giles Keeble: my Top Tips for Cannes

“With an increasingly broader creative communications ecosystem, the Creative Strategy Lion will elevate and define the importance of strategy in creative vision.” The words of the Cannes management.

While a creative person’s view of planners has been mixed over the years, a great positioning or strategy can liberate the creative team. Of course, some of the best creative people are very good planners (and vice versa) – Dave Trott, John Webster, David Abbott, Jeff Goodby, (Jon Steel). Looking at possible Cannes winners for this year, I wonder if the Dilly Dilly Bud Light work will do well, as I have to admit I didn’t get it and wondered about the strategy.

The campaign has its moments, is well shot and quite funny in places, But until I looked into it, I didn’t understand the reason for the knights in armour etc. I thought it was silly silly. The real success of the campaign is that ‘Dilly Dilly’ has become a catchphrase. Bud seem to specialise in these – think Wassup.

Surely it can only be a hunch that such a phrase will catch on? Hard to predict. I understand that Dilly Dilly did not research well – and why would it? It’s outside conventional beer advertising. It falls into what I call ‘sponsored entertainment.’ The trick I think was to look at the target audience and see some overlap between Game of Thrones and sports like American Football. It must help that Bud is the category leader. Do I think it is great? Not sure. Do I wish I had created a catch phrase that popular? You bet. Dilly dilly.

Otherwise, it is interesting to see that some of the stronger candidates are about issues – like The NY Times ‘Truth’ work from Droga. When I was on the jury, ads for issues such as drink driving and domestic abuse were in a separate category, and there was a feeling that it was easier to do great work for this. I think that could be a bit of a cop out, even though the subject matter might be more dramatic than washing powder. There were still a lot of bad ads for good causes.

It is also nice to see some print work that is not simply a copy of a poster. Kiwi shoe polish may be a rare modern example of what Abbott used to call ‘the power of unread copy.’ The Stabilo highlighter ads and the Hong Kong ads for KFC Hot and Spicy are also strong.

This exercise in looking at ads to find some good work has led me to come up with a category of my own, which I shall call the ‘What!?’ category. I may introduce some contenders in the months to come. Willy nilly.

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