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Cannes Lions 2016

Everyone reading this, meet Tom. Tom has spent a week on work experience at Halo working as a copywriter. Along with coming up with a product naming hierarchy for a new agricultural product range and making fairly average tea he’s also written this blog article about this years Cannes Lions. Now, Tom knew nothing about the Lions when he started, but he’s researched the hell out of it and the results below are his take on a few of the winners…

Another Cannes Lions festival, celebrating the work of the creative industry. A festival where the great and the good across the industry wring their hands and wait for judgment. This year’s entries were creative and delightfully original, and there were many interesting new products boldly showcased across the festival, showered with awards. Needless to say, the competition for these coveted, creative accolades was high with over 40,000 submissions for just 23 categories. Despite the rigorous judging process, we at Halo thought we'd take you through some of our own favourites.

Let’s start with the Innovation Lions, presented to the very best of pioneering technology. One winner of the award: ‘Dot. The first braille smartwatch,’ entered by Serviceplan Munich is a revolutionary idea for a product. ‘Dot.’ gives blind people increased accessibility to messaging, Twitter and other sources of text data through braille, and as well as this, the advertising website is awash with statistics and videos full of useful information, just as it should be. Additionally, the affordability of ‘Dot.’ makes it easy for potential customers to buy one. A great product with a great mission, a deserved winner.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the ‘Jukedeck - Artificially Intelligent Music Composer’ a product with the same award. ‘Jukedeck’ is a combination of artificial intelligence and music composition software, designed to produce an original piece of music at the touch of a button. Yes, the idea maybe be new and intriguing but its not brilliant. Shouldn’t music-writing be about the creative process? The product does solve a lot of issues like the time consuming tasks of trying to find a unique melody, but surely finding a unique melody is the point of music composition in the first place? Clever tech it maybe, but clever doesn’t make it useful.

Moving on, another sought-after award is the Design Lion, given to those who use visual artistry to full effect. Many entries were deserved of one, but the bronze winning ‘Educate Against Hate’ campaign wasn’t one of them. Essentially, it is an online resource that encourages teachers and parents to become more engaged in telling their children about the dangers of extremism and radicalisation. The message was clear; the concept was potentially life-saving; but the website itself was a little boring. Perhaps simplicity was key, and directly conveying a message this serious was crucial, but does that make up for the fact that the long articles were a little tedious to read, and there were no poignant videos on the website to emphasise the subject matter?

In contrast, the Design Lion winning ‘#Behind the Leather’ campaign from Ogilvy & Mather in Bangkok, was a shining example of Gold Lion worthy work. Based around the idea that ‘for the exotic skins industry, cruelty is a daily business,’ the campaign was quite simple: put fake animal body parts and beating hearts in leather jackets, shoes or hand bags and leave them as a surprise for any unfortunate shoppers. Upon researching the project, others in the Halo studio were similarly repulsed by the sight of the fleshy interiors of the leather apparel on the website -which goes to show that you don’t need to stick your hand in a bag of blood to feel the effects of this campaign.

Speaking of striking campaigns, the ‘invisible police’ from JWT Caracas is another example of advertising genius. A number of revamped, out of service police cars were placed in the most dangerous zones of Caracus, a city in Venezuela with '11 homicides per day’ and '30% of the police force it needs’. The idea was that no real policemen sat inside the cars, with the hope that the cars’ presence alone would make a difference. Sure enough, evidence shown on the campaign’s promotional video revealed that people felt comfortable enough to use the city more. With this kind of impact, the #morerealcops campaign deserves much more credit than a bronze Outdoor Lion. ‘The invisible police’ were cleverly incorporated into the citizens’ everyday lives; people were forced to notice, and even if the criminals worked out that the cops in fact weren’t sat inside the cars, the message of the campaign still lived on; ‘if invisible police did this, imagine what real police would do’.

And last but not least, the slightly cheesy ‘Reunion’ advert from Hungry Man Los Angeles was a memorable addition to the Geico Insurance ad campaign. We met Peter Pan, boasting about his everlasting youth to his now grown up 70-year-old friends at a school reunion. The storyline was funny and, admittedly, a clever way to communicate the Geico slogan: ‘its what you do’ (in this case what you do won’t keep you young forever but it will save you 15% on car insurance). Similar to that advert, the Geico campaign centres around adapting everyday situations into unrealistic but hilarious examples of how their slogan works. With many light-hearted and humorous adverts like this one, all in all this ad and the campaign altogether is a deserved winner of the Silver Film Lion award. Who knew car insurance could be so funny?