The Advertising Media Association of South Africa (Amasa) recently gave industry players the opportunity to view some of the winning adverts from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Michael Bratt went to the movies to find out what makes an award-winning advert.
This year’s Cannes Lions festival continued to grow with 90 countries submitting entries. While South Africa usually ranks between eighth and 13th position, this year the country took a knock and slumped to 20th place. But out of 90 countries, that is still not bad.
Bronze Lion winners
At the screenings, held over three days at Ster Kinekor theatres, the best of the best were showcased from the different categories. An example of a Bronze Lion shown was an ad from Dial Direct, in which a child helps his struggling, single mom with the chores in order to save her enough time so that she can attend his school play. Another was a mini-movie in which a family visiting the beach is threatened by a tsunami. They escape in their Land Rover and the entire production was shot with cameras attached to the car.
Silver Lion winners
Silver Lion winners included Newcastle Brown Ale, which wanted its ad shown during halftime of the Super Bowl but didn’t have enough money for the slot. Instead the English liquor brand used product placement of other company’s brands in its advert to help pay for the slot [see ad below]. Another mini-production saw a gentlemen’s wager between two friends over a boat. The dancing spectacular was in aid of promoting Johnnie Walker Blue Label.
Gold Lion winners
Gold Lions were awarded to Guiness’ ‘What is black’ offering and Nike. For the shoe and clothing brand, a mini-production told the story of golfer Rory McIlroy’s rise to greatness. From when he was a child watching Tiger Woods on television, through all the practice and hard work, to the moment he teed off alongside Woods.
Grand Prix winners
Examples shown of Grand Prix winners were a tribute to photography in celebration of Leica Photography and a very short, funny advert for Geico [see below]. In it a family is eating dinner and they freeze when the advert is supposedly over. But their pet, a Saint Bernard, keeps on moving and ends up jumping on the table, knocking things flying in the process, and eating the remainder of the family’s food.
Recipe for success
Based on all of the adverts that were shown, there seemed to be several characteristics that they all have in common, which may contribute to their success. Firstly, they are all masterpieces in storytelling; weaving a narrative that leaves the viewer mesmerised. They are mini-stories that leave the viewer wanting to watch till the very end. Secondly, the way they have been put together also plays on the emotion of the viewer, with feelings of empathy, excitement, fear, humour, intrigue and triumph all surfacing during the viewings. Thirdly, and this was summed up perfectly by a member of the audience when she said, “The creativity on display is astonishing”, each ad was thought out and brought creative and innovative concepts to the fore.
Up for debate
The only confusing element that may be up for debate, particularly for those who are new to the advertising game, is the link to the product or service in the advert. One could argue that the objective of an advert is to push the consumer to buy the company’s product or utilise their service, and in many of the adverts, the product or service was not the main point. If was as if more effort was put into making a compelling mini-story with the product or service as an afterthought. If a person was unaware of what a company does or what products or services it offered, the advert did little to enlighten them.
The next Cannes Lions awards will take place next year from 19 to 25 June. Amasa encourages everyone to think of advertising campaigns that they want to submit for the Loerie Awards in the first quarter of next year.
Follow Michael Bratt on Twitter @michaelbratt8