Graham Fink: my top tips for (double) Cannes

It’s that time of year again. Cannes. The advertising Olympics is just around the corner and, like the Tokyo version, it’s going ahead a year late.

And as if judging Cannes wasn’t tough enough with those incredibly long hours often running into the early hours, I feel doubly sorry for them this year with twice as much work to look at.

For me, the big question is ‘what will stand the test of time?’

My money is on Burger King’s ‘Moldy Whopper.’ Even after another year hanging around, it’s still one of the freshest things on the menu. Worth at least one Grand Prix.

Time. It’s a funny thing. We all know what it is, but it takes a Stephen Hawking calibre brain to explain it. Sir Martin Sorrell will tell you it’s all to do with money, and it seems that IKEA agree. In their latest promotion “Buy with your time’ you can purchase items with the time it takes to drive to their stores. A great idea, especially as they are so damn far away.

Mashing up real-life film with animation is a well-used technique, but it’s rarely done well. Tarantino did it to great dramatic effect in Kill Bill 1, and it’s been done again brilliantly in Womb Stories. Timing is everything and it’s a powerful piece that I hope does well.

As usual the juries will have their work cut out to separate the real from the scam, but the Boards for Change initiative seems genuine and is for a great cause. Bringing a community together, in this case local black artists, to create powerful messages on boarded-up shop fronts and then donating the proceeds of the auctioned work to black youth organisations. It’s a heart-warming idea. I love the art too.

Unfortunately, boarded-up shop fronts have become a familiar sight during this pandemic, as have masks. I’m sure there will be a mountain of Covid-19 related work to wade through. For me though, the simplest is the best, and that’s why I am especially drawn to the Dove ‘Courage’ work. It looks effortless, leaving the real effort to be seen on the brave workers’ faces.

Finally, I’m not sure if the Black Lives Matter Plaza is eligible for Cannes, but it’s one of the most striking combinations of graphics and typography I’ve seen in recent years. The words “Black Lives Matter” painted in 35-foot yellow letters is utterly unforgettable, history making, and iconic.

Will the judges agree? Time will tell.

Graham Fink has played a pivotal role at a number of high-profile advertising agencies, including CDP, GGT, and M&C Saatchi. Most recently he was Ogilvy & Mather CCO for China for six years. During his long career Fink has played a vital part in the creation of some of the industry’s most iconic campaigns including the classic ‘Face’ commercial for British Airways and the ‘Coke Hands’ poster (the most awarded ad in Coca-Cola’s history.)

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