We’ll be talking about 2020 for a long time.
We’ll be talking about the impact it had on our day-to-day lives, on our expectations from other people, but also about the expectations we might now have from companies - as advertisers, but first of all, as people. We will be talking about how 2020 accelerated discussions about the importance of having a strong brand, about ending performative marketing approach, and about the indestructible link there is between society and companies that operate in that society, no matter the industry.
All of this is also apparent when we look at Cannes Lions this year. No longer the social event we used to enjoy. Forced to fit into our screens, it now compels us to pay attention, to be focused, and to truly commit to the work and discussions presented.
I was very impressed to see so much good work centred around social impact and responsibility. I enjoyed P&G's session Widen the Screen to Widen Our View, an insightful discussion about how we can make sure we turn equality into the only way of bringing creativity to life, bravely discussing what we need to do to achieve more equal representation in the creative and media supply chain. We’ve heard, yet again, how using your voice for good can help build brand trust, a very simple truth that marketers sometimes put in the backseat. Creativity will flow from being authentic and reflective of society, and that requires a broader approach, one that asks us to truly engage and not just focus on immediate gains. It's a needed shift in the industry, one we've been talking about for many years but has only been accelerated by the pandemic.
And speaking of creativity, another session I loved was Hudson MX's For a Creative Industry, Why Do We Spend So Little Time Creating? It poses a simple question that we really must reflect upon. Is media fragmentation making it more difficult, rather than easier? Are we caught in old habits and processes that can’t keep up with the times anymore? Is the amount of innovation available giving us choice paralysis, rather than easing our way?
It was a great session that made me reflect more on the roadblocks we are used to living with, and how we can dismantle them. Shiva Vannavada, dentsu Global Solutions & Americas, also pointed out how important it is for us to keep it simple, and maybe, as he put it, spend less time in meetings and on emails. It’s all about focus and being able to understand what is eating up most of our time and our attention, and turn that volume button down to a minimum.
I also loved seeing Heineken win Outdoor Lions with Shutters, a continuation of their Back the Bars campaigns that aimed to raise awareness of the challenges on-trade outlets faced as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Heineken redirected their OOH budget to the bars, using the shutters as a canvas. It was a simple and effective idea that helped small businesses and proves once again the best ideas, sometimes, are the simplest ones, grounded in a very authentic insight.
I was equally impressed by Bodyform and am happy to see them win Health and Wellness award for Womb Stories, created with Libresse for AMV BBDO. It’s aiming to raise awareness of the unknown truths about the physical experiences of women all around the world while challenging the damaging etiquette women live with every day. Again, a very simple insight that can generate amazing ideas and executions, and very noteworthy how this is not a short-term campaign, but rather one aimed at changing mindsets.
We’re not perfect, like Marc Pritchard from P&G said in his opening speech for the aforementioned session. But what is important is that we, as an industry, continue to be better every day. That's progress, and it's supposed to be uncomfortable, and who embraces the discomfort first will also reap the results.
We’ll be talking about 2020 for a long time, and that is a very, very good thing.