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Cannes juror reflections: humor in short supply as brands join 'purpose parade'

June 29, 2021

Becoming a Cannes Lions victor ensures a lasting legacy for winners – but what of the decisions that secured such accolades?

Campaign spoke to some Cannes jurors to explain the reasoning behind their choices, the trends they noticed and what this year’s entries say about the direction and creativity of the industry as a whole.

One trend noted by some jurors was that purposeful ads dominated while there few laughs to be had, perhaps reflecting the testing times of late.

This is what they had to say:


Al Mackie

Chief creative officer, Rapp, UK

It was hard not to notice just how many brands are desperate to get the attention of gamers. There were some truly great entries but it’s no secret that the Grand Prix-winner, Burger King’s "Stevenage Challenge" on Fifa 20, was the unanimous choice. Personally, I loved how well it was executed and that by supporting some of football’s underdogs, it tied in perfectly with the Burger King brand.

The other huge trend is probably no surprise to anyone – brand purpose. One of our gold winners, "#StillSpeakingUp DeepTruth" for Propuesta Civica and Reporters Sans Frontieres, was an innovative use of deepfake technology to drive engagement and protect free speech. It did such a great job highlighting the daily risk of life for journalists in Mexico that it resulted in six murderers being convicted for crimes against journalists.

But the conversations we had as a jury reflect, I think, a lot of the issues with purpose-led marketing in the wider world. It was often hard to differentiate from charity work, and too many campaigns relied on reactions, rather than measured responses to claim success. With so much purpose-driven work out there, there’s a real need for clarity about what it is trying to achieve.

See what other ad execs had to say with Campaign.

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