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Cannes 2016 – CANNESdidates Wrap Up: Part 1

Vaida Ska and Justin Jautzemis


Through MG OMD’s CANNESdidates programme we had the chance to attend the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2016. We spent 3 days listening to inspirational talks, trying out new technologies and attending a few parties.

We’re certain you don’t want to listen to us boasting about the various celebrities spotted, so instead, over the next 2 days we will talk you through some of the key learnings from the most interesting talks we attended, focusing on the overall topics of purpose, collaboration and creativity that ran throughout the festival.



Carl Addy, Creative Director for The Mill, talked about the SNAFU: a word for chaos and messed-up situations and how they are fuel for creativity. As people, we are built to perform and problem-solve through creativity – that’s how we evolved as a human race from the Stone Age to the modern world we live in now. However, it is key to make a clear distinction between good and bad stress. Bad stress leads to tunnel vision, whereas good stress creates a challenge and avoids stagnation. It is important to note that creativity is not about the right or wrong answer – sometimes it’s better to be more interesting than right. Also, we need to be comfortable with not being able to control everything and learn to work with our gut feelings.

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Summary: Don’t be scared of stress – it helps you to think creatively and come up with new solutions. Don’t try to control everything and trust your instinct.



‘Cracking the code of creativity’ session by Razorfish and Contagious analysed 25 years of Cannes Lions winners with the goal of identifying the key factors that maximise the chance of winning a Lion.

To be honest, the general feeling was that winning a Lion is extremely hard; the percentages speak for themselves:

  • Bronze Lion         1.7%
  • Silver Lion            1.83%
  • Gold Lion             0.73%
  • Grand Prix           0.07%

So how can we maximise our chances? Interestingly, the research showed that there is no correlation between creativity and media spend, no correlation between the GDP of the country and creativity and no correlation between the size of the agency and the likelihood of winning a Lion. So it seems the code is far from cracked, however here are a few indicators that do have some influence:

  • Clients and agencies that stick together have a much better win rate! 10+ year client/agency relationships experience x2 the average winning rate
  • Submissions that have more individual people involved are more successful by 26%
  • Submissions with a larger share of below director level individuals are more successful
  • Submissions with 3+ agencies credited have 42% higher rate of winning
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Summary: Every campaign has a chance to win a Cannes Lion no matter what the budget, the key is relationships between the agencies and the clients as well as involvement across all levels of the businesses.



The actor, Will Smith, had one of the most inspirational talks of the festival discussing how the internet has changed the movie industry and how social media puts pressure onto film directors to make great movies due to instant reviews.

Then he hit a more philosophical note regarding how brands and individuals need to shift from targets to goals. This would build both brand and personal legacy. Question all of your decisions – are they helping you reach your goals?

Summary: Do you know what your brand and personal purposes are? If so, make sure any decisions you make help you to get there.


So that’s us done for today, check back in tomorrow for the conclusion to our Cannes Festival of Creativity 2016 wrap up!