The Cannes International Festival of Creativity is the only global stage where so many pieces of our industry come together at one time to celebrate creativity and celebrate what we do as an industry.
Against the sun-soaked backdrop in the South of France, the Cannes Lions are the industry’s premiere awards for creativity. PR in many ways is the new kid on the block but in an age when ”earned creative” is more valuable than ever they are increasingly making their presence felt.
PR stalwart Michelle Hutton this year held the privileged role of President of the PR Jury – a role she describes as a “career highlight” – and in this episode gives us insight into how the jury whittled down close to 2000 entries from 67 countries to six Gold Lions (and excitingly – or perhaps perplexingly – for the first time one that originated from a PR agency!).
Michelle said the Jury came together around three clear guidelines. Firstly they wanted to see campaigns that had PR as an input, not just an output. That is, work that was designed with PR thinking at its core, not just PR that amplified someone else’s creative. Secondly, the work had to have a clear insight that the creative then developed around. Thirdly, it had to have great measurement that looked at not only outputs but the real impact of the campaign.
Michelle said the jury really wanted to not only recognise and reward great work but set benchmarks about where the industry should be going. Some of her favourite campaigns were:
- Mums For Safety Campaign created by Sydney’s Houston Group for Lend Lease and took home a Silver Lion
- #Stopmithania created by Leo Burnett for HDFC Bank in India to encourage blood donations won a Silver Lion
- The Land of the Free Press by TBWA/Helsinki FInland also took home a Silver Lion for its defence of press freedom
Michelle distills two key takeouts from the festival:
- There is no doubt that earned creative is winning across the festival. Work that earns the right to be part of the conversation is not just successful in awards but is the type of work that brands need today to be successful. It is yet another proof point that the industry is well placed, this is our time and we should be showing up at the C-Suite to have bigger and broader conversations around how we can protect and promote brands.
- The brilliant work that stood out was those that used data to underpin earned-centric thinking to identify the insight; to target the audience; to amplify the work; and to measure the impact. So for those looking to future proof our work data and analytics has never been more important.
Michelle said Australia again punched above its weight at the festival and so she is excited to return to Australia later this month when she returns to take the reigns as Edelman’s Australia CEO and Chief Growth Officer for Asia Pacific.
“We have some fabulous talent in Australia and in many respects we have been ahead of the curve for many years and I have no doubt we can continue to do that,” Michelle said.
“Australia is an innovative market and there are many businesses and brands who can take some risks and I think that’s the wonderful opportunity we have – to do things differently and to lead. That is certainly something I will be focusing on in our business.”
In the news this episode I check in with UK pracademic Andy Green in Smoke Signal Episode 5.
At the time, Andy was spearheading what had been coined the Dublin Definition – a grassroots effort to better define and make sense of the world of PR and how communications need to evolve and change to make a difference.
In the 12 months since the Dublin Conversations have continue online and across the world and last week, Andy and his colleagues toured Ireland to share the outcomes. I look at how the conversation has progressed.
And finally, I am also personally thrilled that Smoke Signal has been named one of Feedspot’s top Top 25 PR Podcasts on the web. Thank you for listening. Do rate Smoke Signal on iTunes or subscribe via the blog.