Celebrating Creative: Cannes Lions 2016

With the Cannes Lions wrapping up, I’m reminded of my own first run-ins with the finest creative that agencies have to offer. Growing up, my account executive mother decided to spearhead a Christmas Eve tradition for our family. Namely, attending a showing of The British Arrow Awards at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. While to most it might seem like a waste of time to watch commercials for an hour and a half, the evening is actually a wonderful celebration of creativity in the art of advertising. Between that and our religious viewings of new episodes of Mad Men, you could say that I never stood a chance.

So here I am: A proud Scream Agency intern. Learning how to take the pulse of what’s going on in the world and turn them into moving, memorable stories. Helping businesses be seen and heard while getting to hang out with some pretty amazing people. Needless to say it’s a pretty perfect post-grad summer.

What most people don’t realize is the blood, sweat and tears that go into curating the perfect story to tell. The Lions demonstrate perfectly ads that have successfully captured the circumstances of the world and turned them into performances. For example, this year in particular was a big year for sports. With COPA recently wrapped up, the Euro cup entering the quarterfinals, and the Rio Olympic qualifiers in full swing, it’s no wonder that the most outstanding agencies tapped into this spirit for their clients. 25% of the Grand Prix and gold winners from the two-film contest were sports-related. Of these, half were not selling sports gear. Beer behemoth Guinness won by highlighting the coming out story of rugby player Gareth Thomas. Evoking powerful emotions on the importance of teammates the spot, Never Alone, is truly goosebump inducing. Sony (TKO) and Bodyform (Blood) made waves, as well, using robust sports cinematography and themes of endurance to stand out from the competition all while not touting athletic gear.

Using world events as a springboard for your brand’s campaign is a great way to get your audience’s attention. Beautiful imagery and clever copywriting are, of course, a must. However, there needs to be an underlying strategy of storytelling. The use of universally recognized events such as COPA or the Olympics and their themes of endurance, camaraderie, and heart makes your brand immediately accessible to millions while simultaneously making it memorable.

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