So the Lions have been handed out and the global creative circus has packed up its tent, the cork firmly back in the virtual Domaine d’Ott.
There’s general consensus that the right work won (though I seem to be alone in preferring Burger King’s sponsorship of Stevenage FC to their Moldy Whopper) and an apparent return to form for the UK, headlined by AMV BBDO’s coronation as Agency of the Festival.
But scratch beneath the surface and a more interesting, more galvanising theme emerges, because the UK’s Lions haul was spread across no fewer than 46 (forty-six) agencies, production houses and clients. Half of whom returned home from, er, home with a single Lion.
I’m no creative awards fetishist but that seems to be a dramatic shift from the quasi-monopoly enjoyed by the more fashionable creative agencies in previous incarnations of the Festival. And it’s something that should give every creatively-inclined team or client hope, wherever they work and in whatever field, channel or medium: a great idea, brilliantly executed, will elbow its way onto the world’s creative stage without prejudice.
That Tectonic shift has various root causes. The ever-wider range of awards categories, even after a little overdue trimming. The rise of digital, of data, of purpose…and a talent base that seems to be more generally dispersed across our industry than previous creative cohorts. The (overdue) interest now shown at holding group level. But in this case, those causes are less interesting than the effects they conspire to create.
The Cannes Festival increasingly redefines creativity as a business – and brand-building – discipline (see the Creative Business Transformation winners for more detail) rather than just the craft skills of a creative agency (though those still matter, of course they do: see Nike, Lacoste and Womb Stories for more detail).
And it now reflects – and by doing so, encourages – the dispersal of creativity across all kinds of organisations, rather than being the domain of the few.
They say a great idea doesn’t care who has it. My personal experience suggests otherwise, but at Cannes it seems to be true. To put it another way, anyone can win at Cannes. And that means you.
Laurence Green is executive partner of MullenLowe Group UK.