Cannes for Beginners

By Megan Jackson

What do we need to know about the 60th anniversary of the festival of creativity?

There is so much going on this week during the Cannes Festival. Here’s a quick overview of the event itself, and then a look at my favorite ad “Dumb Ways to Die” that won in two categories.

What: The 60th anniversary of The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

Where: Cannes, France

When: June 16 – 22, 2013

Who: There are about 11,000 members of the global creative communications industries that come together each year to be educated and inspired at Cannes Lions. This year is special because, in addition to the 60th anniversary, a record number of 35,765 entries from 92 countries were submitted.

The awards took place/are taking place:

Monday – June 17, 2013: Creative Effectiveness, Promo & Activation, PR and Direct Lions Awards
Tuesday – June 18, 2013: Media, Mobile, Innovation and Outdoor Lions Awards
Wednesday – June 19, 2013: Press, Design, Radio and Cyber Lions Awards
Saturday – June 22, 2013: Film, Film Craft, Branded Entertainment, and Titanium and Integrated Lions Awards

View the entire schedule here:Click to enlarge.

Why: Cannes Lions provides the opportunity during a seven-day festival for thousands of global communications and advertising professionals to meet and exchange ideas. Additionally, these attendees from over 90 countries can attend workshops, screenings, exhibitions, seminars by industry leaders and more. Winners for each category are awarded the highly-coveted Lion trophy during the four awards ceremonies taking place throughout the week. Inspiring work is on display throughout the week.

Speaking of inspiring work, my favorite campaign “Dumb Ways to Die” won two of the four top honors on the first day of awards in the PR category and the direct category. This catchy animated tune is actually a warning to act safely around Metro Trains in Melbourne, and was created by McCann Melbourne.

I really liked the Australian tongue-in-cheek approach. The serious content about safety around trains was depicted in a silly way, so you would continue watching. The various animated blobs tell a story about dumb ways to die such as poking a grizzly bear, getting your toast out with a fork or selling both your kidneys on the Internet. Then, after all of these crazy scenarios, the blobs say acting dangerously around trains is the dumbest way to die. It’s both engaging and educational.

After watching this ad, I had the tune stuck in my head all day. It’s something that resonates with you, and I found myself watching the video multiple times. This advertisement was featured on TED’s Ads Worth Spreading, and it has garnered nearly 50 million views on YouTube.

Aside from being well received by the public initially, AdAge talks about why the ad won at Cannes. “Dumb Ways” represented a great strategic idea and pointed to the future of public relations, said Jury President David Gallagher, who is also senior partner and CEO at Ketchum, Europe.

“It wasn’t that long ago when most of our content was centered around a press release and we were pretty happy when a press release was distributed and received and maybe even used by journalists to engage and amplify a message to the public,” said Gallagher. “Those days are behind us. What we need now is content like this, based on real human insight that understands safety isn’t a fun message, that the way to reach children in particular needs to be fun, engaging and imminently sharable, and it needs to bring about real change.”

For more interesting reads about Cannes:

Sapient Nitro & Cannes infographic about the history of the event

A look at winning ads from Cannes Lions Creativity Festival 2012

Winning ads from Cannes Lions Creativity Festival 2013

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