The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity finished up last week with the world’s uber creatives descending on the French Riviera for a week-long celebration of big, brave ideas. As the biggest annual awards show and festival for professionals in the communications industry, it showcases the crème de la crème of work from across the world.
With a PR category added only a few years ago, it’s exciting for us PR peeps to see the scope of work produced underneath the PR umbrella. And one thing continues to ring true – the changing communications landscape and the ongoing integration of ideas that run across platforms. Media relations is a huge part of what we do, but it’s the idea that gets that media relations off the ground that really matters. And that idea is often born, built and housed somewhere else entirely.
There were a few things I noticed from some of the campaigns I viewed, namely technological innovations and emotion. And one thing was clear across every campaign I loved – the use of really strong content.
Optus’ Clever Buoy campaign was a fantastic R&D idea in which the telco built a prototype shark alarm which alerts authorities of sharks close to swimmers in real-time. A ‘never-seen-before’ approach to shark monitoring which built on the national interest and debate on shark control on our beaches pushed the telco provider into a space in which they could talk about its network in an inspiring and new way.
Another technologically inspiring idea was Whiskas’ Catstacam, a wearable device which allows owners to follow their cat’s every move. The idea was born out of the global love of cat videos and through a clever piece of technology, it turned social media on its head by giving cats the control of the content. The digitally driven idea had legs in traditional media thanks to the ‘never-seen-before’ tech, as with Optus’ Clever Buoy.
Two ideas which really hit me from an emotional perspective were the #Likeagirl campaign by US feminine hygiene brand Always, along with LifeLive, a Samsung campaign which gave me so many warm and fuzzies I almost turned into a teddy bear.
The #Likeagirl campaign went cuckoo bananas when it launched last year! Rather than seeking to reinforce the negative associations of doing an activity “like a girl”, the campaign sought to empower teenage girls, helping them and women everywhere to realise how AMAZING it is to ‘fight like a girl’ and ‘hit like a girl’. The powerful video has been watched over 58 million times on YouTube and been mentioned across countless media outlets internationally.
LifeLive gave a young dad the opportunity to view the birth of his new baby, in live 360degree action from 4000km away from his wife’s birthing suite. Given I can’t get through an episode of One Born Every Minute without a blub, this was a cry fest and really caught me up in the emotion of not missing any of life’s life changing moments.
Both campaigns really hit the sweet spot – both feature really strong pieces of video content which make their mark on the viewer and have instant share-ability. This causes the golden domino effect and ultimately sees idea/content being viewed millions of times worldwide and talked about in every home, office and newsroom from Sydney to Shanghai.
The final idea which left me pumped up to be in the industry was Air BnB’s Big Gay Stay campaign which leveraged the brand’s sponsorship of Sydney Mardi Gras. Amazing visual content really helped make this campaign a success from a traditional media perspective along with the feel-good factor of giving one lucky couple the chance to take part in the world famous Sydney Mardi Gras from their own float (which coincidentally doubled up as their accommodation for the duration of their Sydney stay!)
Well done to all those who were commended for their efforts and we’re looking forward to seeing what the next 12 months holds for the PR category.