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The International Communications Consultancy Organisation were our Cannes Lions hosts in their ‘House of PR’ Cabana on the beach front.
They chatted about the brief to their team whilst at the event, and what they hoped to learn from being there themselves. Simon made the point that Phil Thomas, CEO, Cannes Lions, talked about the rise of B2B clients at Cannes, clients who he said traditionally you may not have expected to value creativity so highly becoming more and more relevant and prevalent. He explained that H+K also have clients from China who are looking to move from a culture of making product to one of explaining why they are making that product.
Whilst Cannes Lions is billed as the ‘International Festival of Creativity’, as expected, data and analytics was high on the agenda. Richard explained that the make-up of his agency had fundamentally changed over the last two or three years. In fact, he couldn’t remember the last time he interviewed someone with a typical PR background and H+K are now hiring data scientists and more craft-led creatives. However, essentially, he sees the agency as a canvass for a multitude of different skills and passions that they can bring to the benefit of the client who needs to engage with the public. Richard said that H+K has an operating principle inside the agency, which is that they are always in beta. Essentially this means empowering their colleagues to test and pilot new ideas constantly as the world is changing so fast and the agency has to keep up. Another key part of H+K’s culture is the company’s 3P Philosophy, which Simon explained helps their clients perform, but communicate their purpose too. He said that if you combine those two things together, it drives a preference from their consumer, whoever that consumer might be.
The key point that Richard made though is that the PR industry has to claim a greater share of the Lions awards in the future. Given that these interviews were taking place in the House of PR for the week, it was no suprise to hear plenty of debate around this issue, mainly caused by the fact that in the PR category of Cannes Lions, only five of 84 PR Lions were awarded to PR agencies!
Russell was joined by two judges of the Lions Health Awards, Zuleika Burnett, Executive Director for Creative and Innovation at Havas Life Medicom and Martin Hafley, Creative Director at DDB Remedy London, together with a past Bronze winner, Khalid Latiff, Associate Creative Director at Publicis Life Brands Resolute (PLBR), whose company also picked up a Silver and Bronze this year too.
Both Zuleika and Martin said there was plenty to be inspired by this year within Health & Wellness sector from their peers who are clearly at the top of their game creatively.
Winning at Cannes Lions certainly has some glamour to it as Khalid explained and without doubt elevates the agency. Last year, PLBR won a Bronze for their ‘This is Stroke’ campaign, a 360-degree film, shot from the viewpoint of somebody actually having a stroke, but not just highlighting what that individual would be going through, but also the people around them.
Khalid explained that PLBR produced that film two years ago, and since then, technology has moved on and has become so sophisticated and elegant, something he said you could see across all the work being shown at Cannes Lions this year. However, he believes that you have to be careful to ensure the technology is used to create a vision and not to outweigh the idea, as the idea should always lead. Martin agreed that it’s about finding the appropriate use for the technology and this his agency’s ideas are based on insight first – technology is then used to amplify them.
Zuleika explained that what we are seeing a lot of is product development and innovation becoming a new way to market for certain companies and brands. She said that they are using a product development idea to create a buzz or raise awareness around a particular healthcare issue or topic.
Martin and Zuleika then picked out a couple of highlights from all the campaigns they had judged, with Martin focussing on one for Anchor Milk, a campaign by Fonterra Brands and Colenso BBDO, that they had awarded a Gold to.
The idea behind the campaign was based around the fact that, in New Zealand, 59 kids a day break an arm. Therefore, Anchor created an x-ray cast, which worked by enabling the kids to upload their x-ray via a touchpoint when they were in ‘Accident and Emergency’ room, so that, the following day, they would receive a transfer of the x-ray of their broken bone in the post, that they could then heat up and stick onto the cast on their arm. (What kid wouldn’t want that?!) However, on the transfer was also a barcode, which enabled the kids to then go to the supermarket and get free Anchor Calci+ milk whilst their arm was healing. Just brilliant!
Zuleika added ‘Colour for the Colour Blind’, a partnership between Velspar paint and EnChroma, maker of colour blindness-correcting glasses. She explained it amplified the issue of colour-blindness to bring the issue to the masses by creating an incredible film showing the experience that colour blind people have and the reactions when they saw colours for the first time.
Zuleika and Martin also talked about their own company award wins too.
For Zuleika’s Havas Life Medicom, two of her colleagues were shortlisted in the Young Lions Health Award (30yrs and under) for a response to a brief helping UNICEF raise awareness about the importance of children’s first years of life for their social, emotional and cognitive development. Their idea was called ‘Mini Band’, with the aim of creating a platform for Care Givers in low income communities to find out how to create their own musical instruments, discover activities involving music art and creativity and download a child friendly playlist, plus find local drop off points to donate musical instruments to be given to local community centres.
As for Martin, DDB Remedy won a Silver and Two bronze awards for an integrated campaign forExcedrin®, an OTC migraine treatment in the US, helping to address the issue that people often respond to someone with a migraine by just saying that it’s nothing more than a headache and not serious! DDB built a simulated VR experience and mobile app using insight from migraine sufferers so that they could personalise their migraine and share it with friends and family to gain their empathy.
Russell was joined by Mary Whenman, Communications Director at Callcredit Information Group and President of the industry networking group ‘Women in PR’, which is affiliated to the Public Relations Consultancy Association.
Mary explained that Women in PR has two key agenda points:
Women in PR has also worked with PRWeek to set up a PR Week mentoring programme where 15 mid-career women are mentored by 15 senior women from the industry. Mary said that it’s been hugely successful and they are about to enter their third year or running it.
Mary had also been at Cannes Lions judging the Glass Award, which is billed as the Lion for Change and was in its second year at the Festival. The award was set up to tackle issues around inequality and injustice that are based upon gender.
From an industry perspective, Mary was concerned about the lack of entries from PR agencies and she believes it is a huge opportunity that PR should address as it’s certainly an area the industry is strong at, in terms of tackling complex issues around injustice and inequality and driving changes in behaviour and attitude.
There was actually only PR entry made it through to the shortlist of 18 for the Glass Award, which was from Weber Shandwick in India for their work on The Daughters of Mother India film, a documentary looking at the aftermath of a horrific gang rape in India in 2012.
One of the winners was a campaign called ‘Legally Bride’ from Leo Burnett for NGO Kafa, that focussed on the issue of child marriage in the Lebanon and that Mary described as striking and thought provoking.
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