Name a brand or media channel and Bill Green’s probably worked on and in it. An art director by trade, he’s focused on an overall holistic approach to brand madness that merges the worlds of traditional, digital and social – whatever it takes.
Having worked previously with Darryl and Humongo and current AdVerve podcast partner with Angela, he’s currently doing creative strategy and pitch development with BFG in Hilton Head. The ad blog Make The Logo Bigger is about his experiences in the world of advertising and beyond.
Angela Natividad is a strategist, copywriter and journalist based in Paris. She writes MarketingProfs’ #SocialSkim, is a frequent guest on marketing podcast The Beancast, and co-hosts AdVerve the podcast. Most of her secret thoughts are on her blog, Live and Uncensored.
Darryl Ohrt is a former punk rocker, and Executive Creative Director at Carrot Creative, in NYC. In addition to his posts here, he also writes for Advertising Age’s Small Agency Diary, as the voice of the small guy in a big, big world.
After founding the legendary agency Humongo, he sold out to the man, left the entrepreneurial life and joined Carrot. Now he’s the self proclaimed Prime Minister of Awesome, and he’s tweeting, blogging, and exploring the internets as if it matters. He knows just enough to be dangerous, and is always ready for action.
Dove’s “Camera Shy” by Epoch and Ogilvy won Film Craft Gold in Toiletries at the Cannes Lions this year. It’s charming and light, but packs the big ideological punch Dove shoots for. Crucially, it’s not melodramatic and top-heavy like “Real Beauty Sketches”, which unfortunately eclipsed it this year. Oh, well. Sometimes that happens.
But check it out; if you’re a woman or have women in your life, it’s worth the watch.
It’s taken me several days to recover from Cannes Lions, which explains why this post is so late. But here you’ll get a sense of everything you missed — and that I missed — over the course of what is quite possibly the longest week in advertising.
Because that’s the thing about the Lions you have to get off your chest right away: if you missed it, join the club. We spend all week feeling like we missed something, and finally, everything. It’s part of the experience, I guess.
But enough whingeing. Onto the good shit:
In an effort to minimise damage to my own person, I arrive two days late. It does not minimise damage.
Get off the train around noon. An hour in, am pretty sure I’ll die of heatstroke. Seeing mirages. Never a good sign.
5:30pm: the DraftFCB cocktail on the lawn of the Grand. After hugging and kissing Wally Petersen and Stephen Martincic, I plop down on the ground beside Laura Swinton and Addison Capper of LBB. They are wonderful and in that way Cannes distorts things, I suddenly feel like it’s very important that we all be friends forever. Stephen, indulgent minder that he is, lowers a bottle of champagne into our midst. Score! Now we never have to move again.
8.30pm: The producers dinner at Pastis. Clarity's Barry Stephenson brings me in on his arm. I make the acquaintance of one young and talented Aaron Kodz, who’s up for a Young Directors Award. A horrible woman producer is rude to the waiter and he consequently shouts, “I’M NOT YOUR SLAVE!” She leaves. I am quietly satisfied by this, but less satisfied by the glaring absence of pizza.
Midnight: seats on the Carlton terrace with Aaron. A talent director is feeding us magnums of rosé and has given us honorary Kanye sunglasses that blink in the dark.
4.00am: I finally get home. Attacked by a frenzy of Drunk Logic, I attempt to ward off nausea by handwashing everything I own. In the days that follow, when I need underpants, this will prove to have been a bad idea.
Noon: I stumble out of bed and make my way roughly in the direction of The Grand, where the @CCOutdoor team is waiting for me to join one of their #canvas debates. They have promised me lunch but my stomach is dancing and I’m nervous about waiting, so I furtively buy a small quinoa salad from Citronelle — the best place ever to get a quickie lunch at Cannes.
I meet the team and join in our debate. The topic: whether globalisation is killing creativity. Snippets:
— Angela Natividad (@luckthelady)
@theodelaney That could only have happened in this connected time, but it doesn’t mean countries w deposed gov’ts yield results they want— Angela Natividad (@luckthelady)
The discussion is fun, and afterward Sarah Oliver of We Are Social takes me to see the giant Canvas itself, which is only halfway-painted. A guy called Frank takes pictures of us and we joke that it would be kind of funny if Cannes Lions had dinosaurs.
"It would be a survival game," I muse.
"It is already a survival game," he says.
They give me a bison.
8.00pm: Dinner somewhere off the rue d’Antibes with Digiday, AdExchanger, AdAge, and Glossy. I meet Ana Andjelic for the first time. She has lost her voice but is nice and fairylike. An AdAge writer and I banish ourselves far away to smoke polite cigarettes. We spend this period talking about what polite smokers we are. She tells me that Singapore recycles its water. I am both disturbed and fascinated by this.
Later, we attend the enormous Massive Music/Media Monks party, which manages to be both epic and terrifying. I briefly come across Victor Knaap, beaming from the passel of Lions Media Monks has just won. “They say awards aren’t everything,” he beams. “THEY’RE WRONG!”
Noon: a leisurely lunch with Draftfcb’s Wally Petersen and young, lovely Katy. There’s a Draftfcb meeting nearby, which means Stephen, our eternal and doting minder, is also nearby. Even though he is not part of our lunch he somehow still manages to order lunch for us. We have a little giggle about it and Wally shows me the new iPad he’s taking around everywhere. He is afraid to lose it because he’s already lost one. Later, he will almost lose it by placing it under a condiments tray at a pizza parlor.
At some point Wally reveals confusing and perplexing news to me. He will later tell me my face was “an abstract painting of emotions.”
5.00pm: Draftfcb holds a session with author Adam Alter of Drunk Tank Pink. Alter explains how different things, from colour to choice of names, can influence our decisions. Most notably, “fluent” names (names you can read immediately upon seeing them for the first time) tend to fare better than disfluent ones. However, disfluent names do very well in luxury marketing (Louis Vuitton, Lamborghini, etc). Alter suggests this is because in luxury marketing, there is already a great dissonance between where you think you are and what you aspire to (the luxury brand). So disfluency is okay.
I explain this to my French boyfriend and he says “There is nothing hard about pronouncing the name ‘Louis Vuitton’.” Yeah, well. Tell that to Adam.
6.00pm: I hit up a pizza place for a small party with Arcade Edit, Arts & Sciences and Glossy. Everyone is very nice but also very tired. We talk at length about children; everyone says it’s the best and most terrifying thing to ever happen to them, and that once your kid starts learning, it’s easy to forget that they’re just a kid, an oversight that inevitably leads to all kinds of hijinks. Mark will later confirm this to me. I feel my ovaries hide behind my stomach.
8.00pm: ACT Responsible’s annual Pure Picnic. It is also the night of the Instagram Video launch, so I take a great many magnificent little videos. Everyone is sorry I came. Here are Nicolas Huvé and Florie from ACT, as well as dear Aaron Kodz:
Noon: my annual lunch with Mark Tungate. We talk about nuns and tanks, being expats, and Hatshepsut.
4.00pm: The conference is winding down. We finally get to score beach time! I run off with Mark, Joe Brooks and Nicolas from ACT before anyone finds out what we’re up to:
Evening: I host a little AdVerve dinner with Joe, Nicolas, Aaron, and my friends Milan and Vaja at The Grand. The dinner quickly devolves into a heated discussion about global warming. I attempt to change the topic of conversation to the first thing I can think of: hamburgers. Nobody bites the bait, and the discussion only builds in intensity, drawing ever nearer to the Godwin Point as dessert arrives.
I don’t know how this happened. I have failed as a hostess.
We later adjourn to the Carlton to drink it off. It helps until a strange girl arrives to talk our faces off about “America”, so everyone slowly drifts away.
Too late in the evening: Joe insists on going to Gutter Bar. It is objectively horrible. We make these faces, then leave:
Emmy from the Cannes Lions News team finds me sweating off the week on the beach. I play with her children. The smallest one has Lee Clow on her belly, and it’s possibly the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life:
7.30pm: The Awards Ceremony for Film, Film Craft, Branded Content, Titanium and Integrated campaigns. It is my favourite ceremony of the year and I never miss it. Someone will later tell me I’m apparently the only one in the world who live-tweeted the show, which fills me both with pride and a sense of foreboding that I might have broken a rule. Oh, well. Highlights:
Film Craft Grand Prix 1: Meet the Superhumans, which makes me cry.
Film Craft Grand Prix 2/Branded Content Grand Prix: “The Beauty Inside" by Intel/Toshiba.
Film/Integrated Grand Prix: “Dumb Ways to Die" — which is apparently the most-shared PSA in history, and which Dan Wieden calls "the one spot that this entire group in every agency wishes they’d done."
Titanium Grand Prix: “Real Beauty Sketches.” Oh, yawn. Sorry.
9.30pm: Dinner at La Libera with the Draftfcb team from Chicago and China, as well as UPshot director Eric Yealland, who, alongside Draftfcb, won his first-ever Lion for this funny NAA spot. He says the budget was tiny and they didn’t expect to win.
Wally and Tiffana Pun, the head of planning in Greater China, reflect on how good a year it’s been for Draftfcb. “The best one since becoming Draftfcb!” points out Pully Chau, chairman-CEO of Greater China. I am happy for them and even happier for Oreo. We are all just really happy. But maybe it’s because we are all hungry and have pasta in front of us.
We attend the closing gala after that. Tiffana and I do some very light dancing, which Wally photographs
but which we’ll probably never see because he’s still not sure how to get pictures out of his iPad. Update: I have vastly underestimated Wally, who’s just sent along a photo of me, Tiffana and Pully. His email is titled, “Oh, ye of little faith.”
After that, we spend exactly 4 minutes at Gutter Bar, then Wally and I sneak off for 3.00am pizza at Cristal Café. He watches touristy kids go by with their big luggage and wonders what adventures they’re going on. I cannot even guess because I no longer remember what my life was like before the Lions.
I run away to Théoule sur Mer with Milan and Vaja. We return to Cannes at day’s end and finish with giant swimming pools of rosé on the Miramar beach. It is magnificent.
Talking about the Film Craft Jury’s decision to split its Grand Prix in two, John Hegarty explained it was a necessity: short-form and long-form film need separate recognition, both because of their breadth and because of their medium: online and TV.
It goes without saying that online and TV are learning to coexist; nobody’s talking about who’s killing who anymore. But as we move into this space of peaceful coexistence, we’re also seeing a growing importance in advertising that provides something deeper than a hit-and-run message, deeper than platitudes like “reach out and touch people”. We’re looking to advertising to behave as standalone content, something that, on its own, provides pleasurable and sometimes even edifying value.
When you think about it, it’s the only way we can survive the barrage of messages and plethora of media available to us and to users.
Obviously this presents challenges and a greater investment of time, energy and often money. But it also provides an enormous creative opportunity to demonstrate that advertising isn’t lowest-common-denominator content. It shapes societies and underwrites not only new habits but new technology, new ideas. It should be as valued in the culture as it is to us. But it’s up to us to bring it there — to show people why it matters.
This week I saw so many examples of creativity run riot — people using their professions as an excuse to manifest something they’ve always wanted to, be it Lambie Nairn’s collection of collections or the Oreo campaign that changed the real-time marketing game this year. I’m excited about what’s coming, because the bar just rose. And I think that’s the biggest reason to come to Cannes Lions: to remember that our work can be more than the sum of its slogans, social strategies and calls to action. It can be art and commentary; it can blaze trails.
Isn’t that why we’re in this business?