Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Should I, can I can Cannes?

It's that time of year again where advertising professionals worldwide turn their minds towards the south of France and dreams of glory. For some of us (Simon D, Gary H, you know who you are) this means the Tour De France. But for many of us it means the blessed and cursed Advertising festival at Cannes.

In order to compete at Cannes, we at OMD are busy turning ourselves into screen play writers, film producers, artists, logistic experts, on top of being occasionally strategic.

My question to you is this: in a year where clients and the industry have turned undeniably towards low fees, high results and a buying focus (evidence a: Adnews Media Voice survey which showed Strategy had lost top spot as the "most important part of media"; evidence b: various pitches which are devoid of strategic input)...are awards important?

As deputy chairman of Australia's Media Federation Awards (MFAs) and as a strategic person I say YES....(probably). And I'll tell you why. Digital. The standard of digital media strategy is in need of improvement, and awards are more and more turning to digital-led strategies. Look at OMD's MFA winners in 2008: of the 3 major campaigns that won, Juicy Fruit was about 85% digital (by media spend), V-Raw was maybe 90% digital and Monopoly was maybe 40% digital.

Whilst this year people won't be as interested in best use of TV (which Cannes still does), but they will be interested to see: which agencies and marketers are harnessing digital to explode their big ideas? who can crack Social Media? who can crack Mobile marketing? Is there anyone getting results from Twitter? Whose iPhone application delivered results?

So, whilst I am questioning the incredibly painful process which is Cannes entry, and whilst I am flabbergasted at all the silly stunts that won at Cannes last year, I'll be setting my sights on the MFAs and proving that OMD get digital media strategy more than any other Aussie media agency.

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