Steffan @ Cannes

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sweet Adieu from the International Advertising Festival at Cannes!

Well, friends, they’ve wrapped the ceremony celebrating outdoor advertising in all its glory. Diesel and its “Be Stupid” campaign was the big winner, along with an ambient piece for a beer I never heard of. We’ve moved through press as well, awarding the Grand Prix to a Lat Am campaign for Billboard Magazine, which, incidentally, would have made extraordinary out-of-home.

I’m going to leave you with a few of my favorite pieces from the show (posted above), though I do not have the supporting credits for them. Ah, well, good outdoor should speak for itself, no?

Keeping this blog has been a privilege for me, as was hosting your 2010 OBIE Awards in Phoenix Arizona. I hope you appreciated my efforts here as much as I did! OOH has a special place in my advertising heart.

I deeply enjoy my commitments to the OAAA. Moving forward, I invite you all to visit my “home” blog, the Gods of Advertising, where I post several times a week about creativity, marketing, and other decidedly more heady issues! Or follow me on Twitter:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two Grand Prix were awarded for the first time ever this year, recognizing one ambient execution and one traditional poster campaign at the ceremony for outdoor last night in Cannes.

As reported by Eleftheria Parpis of Adweek, “Anomaly, New York, won the Grand Prix for its Diesel "Be stupid" billboard campaign, a series that celebrated risk-taking with headlines like "Smart may have the brains, but stupid has the balls." And Del Campo/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi in Buenos Aires, Argentina, won the Grand Prix for its "Teletransporter" for Andes beer, an ambient execution that provided a soundproof booth (outfitted with sound effects) from which bar patrons could call their significant others and pretend they were not, in fact, at the bar.”

The rest of Eli’s piece can be found here, with winners list et cetera:

Let’s talk about the Diesel campaign. It will likely be a big –though not as big- winner in the press category as well. Indeed it is, as cited by Adweek, a “traditional poster” campaign, which is something I find quite gratifying, a classic of the form, if you will!

Outdoor jury president Tay Guan Hin, regional ecd of JWT Asia, called the work, "bold, fresh, lively and going against the flow of conventional thinking."

With their distinctive in-your-face look and ballsy headlines, these brash posters take me back to my heyday with Altoids. (Alas, Altoids OOH never medaled at Cannes. Before our time, perhaps?!)

When I first saw the Diesel campaign, I believe in a magazine, I was taken aback by the highly counter-intuitive tagline: “Be stupid.” But then, that’s the desired result of this work, isn’t it? To be taken aback. Diesel is not a subtle brand. And nothing delivers the punch like outdoor.

For more on the Cannes festival, please visit my "home" blog, The Gods of Advertising or follow me on Twitter.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010



The short list for winners in the out-door categories were posted today at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. It appears around 400 pieces were chosen as finalists.

By many accounts, Nokia’s “World’s Biggest Sign Post” (top box) is favored to win the Grand Prix as part of an elaborate integrated campaign showing off the phone’s ability to point people to some of their favorite places (chosen by consumers via text). The arrow itself (hung from a crane) was short-listed in the ambient “special build” category. It’s pretty cool. It’s big. However, it is not among my favorites, of which two have been posted above.

Of special note is the piece from Y&R, Amsterdam entitled "Man." That's right: it's an ad for out-of-home media by Interbest Outdoor. Part of a campaign. Pretty cool, eh?

The other billboard for Fed Ex, "Mud" by BBDO Proximity in the Philippines, is an excellent use of strategy and space.

The outdoor Lions will be awarded tonite! I shall post about the winners tomorrow.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Two new categories indicitive of outdoor's growing stature in Cannes.

Billboard, Palais des Festivals

This year two grand prizes must be awarded in the Outdoor Lions category, one for Billboards & Street Furniture and Posters, one for Ambient. In 2009, only one Grand Prix was awarded, for the Zimbabwean “fight the Regime” campaign from TBWA/Hunt/Lacaris in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Not that anyone from Cannes’ advisory board is asking, but in an already vast sea of categories and possibilities, I actually like this change. A lot. Outdoor advertising is growing in stature and diversifying in forms. The advent of digital technologies has opened up more possibilities for OOH than in any of the other mass media. Read that last sentence again. It’s pretty amazing. Most people think the future of marketing is online –and maybe much of it is- but ‘signs’ will always be with us.

My opening remarks at this year’s OBIEs were all about the importance and longevity of signs, the text of which can be found here:

Friday, June 18, 2010

An overview of Cannes: Like the World Cup in more ways than one.

There are myriad categories and sub categories for entering at Cannes. The lists are readily available on their website –all over the web really. Given that, you’d think it would be easier to become a finalist, let alone win at Cannes. But you’d be wrong. It’s hard as hell. Furthermore, for all the ways to enter the competition there are thousands upon thousands that are entering.

It’s hard for some of us in America to understand the importance the global marketing community puts on winning Lions. In many countries winning is considered a mandate by agencies as well as clients. With so much gravitas attached to the contest, and so many entries from so many countries, it can and does become a national and political race, not unlike the Olympics or World Cup, which incidentally happens to be happening at the same time this year.

We here in the States don’t put such a priority on winning this international prize. Ergo we are often bested by zealous agencies from far smaller markets. Latin American countries, Brazil in particular, are gonzo about their Lions. Like that country’s uber-famous footballers, its creative directors are also treated like celebrities, often seen on the evening news and in the morning papers. National pride is at stake!

With this pressure comes the occasional bi-partisan juror and “scam” ad. Without getting into it here –trust me, it’s a big issue- I think that sort of thing heightens the suspense, adding drama to what is already pretty dramatic.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Last year’s big outdoor winner at Cannes: “The Trillion Dollar Billboard.”

Before we begin looking at this year’s outdoor submissions, finalists and winners I thought it a good idea to review last year’s grand prix winner, The Zimbabwean “fight the Regime” campaign from TBWA/Hunt/Lacaris in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Billboards were created using the all-but-worthless currency of Zimbabwe as the actual media. Brilliant. But first a little background…

In their own words, The Zimbabwean “ is (are) a group of committed and professional Zimbabwean journalists and friends from around the world who have come together to start the first physical newspaper for Zimbabweans in exile.”

A noble pursuit to say the least, The Zimbabwean brings professional journalism to a region not used to much of anything fair and balanced, let alone the news. A provocative advertising campaign, and one readily accessible to those without access to technology, was a perfect opportunity to show off the out-of-home medium. And did it ever.

Staff writer, Sue Northern documented just days ago, after the campaign garnered yet more awards, this time at the prestigious D&AD awards in London:

“The campaign which created a new medium, turning banknotes into advertising space, thus highlighting the incredulous inflation in Zimbabwe where the money was not worth the paper it was printed on.

As a robotic Big Brother style voice summarized the campaign with the statement, "How do you pay for advertising when the currency is worth less than the paper it is printed on.” The Trillion dollar campaign has helped to elevate awareness of the situation in Zimbabwe on a global scale.”

In addition to being a provocative and stirring campaign for the Zimbabwean, these billboards became touchstones for much needed political and societal debate on the many socioeconomic issues devastating the region.

Last year's big winners -

My novel on Amazon -

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hello everyone! The International Advertising Festival at Cannes starts a week from today. In addition to covering the festival on my “home” blog, The Gods of Advertising, we will be discussing the out-of-home category in greater detail right here. However, instead of waiting until the festival actually starts I will begin posting in advance, starting now, including a review of last year’s big OOH winners as well as an overview of Cannes in general. While I may repost these articles on Gods of Advertising, they will debut here. In addition, I welcome you to follow me on Twitter:

But first I think it only fair to provide you my slight credentials. In addition to having won five Lions in my career (three for Heinz Catsup & two for Altoids), I’ve attended the festival in Cannes eight different times. While I’ve never served as judge for the competition, I did provide that service for Canne’s sister festival, The Dubai Lynx in 2008. In addition, I’ve judged on panels for most of the major advertising award shows in America, including this year’s MPA Kelly Awards, The New York Festivals and, of course, your 2010 OBIE awards. Incidentally, the video from that event (in which I proudly served as master of ceremonies) can now be found here, in two parts. Scroll down…

When I first came to Cannes –I believe in 1998- the primary focus for the festival was films. Of all the categories, nothing was more hallowed than winning a Lion for 30 and 60-second TV commercials.

Much has changed since then, in particular with regard to the advent of digital platforms. It cannot be overstated the importance the Internet and technology have played in reshaping Cannes. Not only have numerous online categories been added but, in many ways, they’ve usurped TV as the prizes worth winning. Indeed, the Grand Prix (best of show) for Cyber Lion may be the most coveted prize of all.

These changes have also greatly increased the quantity and quality of possible outdoor Lions awarded and the luster of winning them. (More on that later.) It is my opinion that out-of-home (as a category and prize) will only get more prestigious as the years go by.

Until next post, do as your momma said: Stop watching TV and get ‘out of home!’