CANNESdidates Wonderful Winners 2016
It wasn’t the first time we had entered the MG OMD CANNESdidates competition. This was Justin’s second time and for me I was hoping for third time lucky. This meant we knew what to expect but it also put added pressure to do well.
Every year the Young Cannes Lion competition brief relates to a charity and with the current refugee crisis in Europe in mind, we had a gut feeling that it might be the topic… So when the British Red Cross brief landed on our lap, it wasn’t a big surprise.
The process wasn’t as easy as we had hoped (does it ever go according to plan?). We only had 24 hours to create a full media plan to answer the brief and 16 hours into the process we still didn’t have a clear direction! We had a pool of complicated, interlinked ideas, but we knew that none of them were winners – Cannes is all about brilliant simplicity, ideas that instantly make sense based on “but of course!” kind of insight. After many debates we decided to trust our gut feeling and run with it.
We found that hostile attitudes towards refugees drives negative headlines and as we are wired to pay more attention to doom and gloom, positive stories slip through our radar. Journalism has identified these behaviours and subsequently adapted their language to drive consumers to read their articles, completing the negativity cycle and deepening the existing hostility towards refugees. On top of that, personalisation algorithms in social media and search engines fuel this behaviour even more, creating an information bubble where we are only served negative content. More of the same, over and over again, because we, as humans, naturally prefer it.
As we cannot fight this behaviour, we decided to use it to our advantage – martial arts style. We planned to use clickbait headlines as well as hiding negative keywords within the stories as a way of infiltrating the information bubble and getting people to see and read inspirational refugee stories that are usually omitted by the publishers. This way we hoped not only to minimise the perceived gap between ‘us and them’, but also to tell memorable and impactful stories that would lead to more empathy and a step change in opinion (this is proven by studies!).
So the day came to meet the MG OMD board and despite feeling very confident about our work, we were still quite nervous! After our presentation and answering some thorough questions, we all gathered at the Dev (MG OMD’s local watering hole) to hear the final verdict… The moment we heard our names called out as the winners was truly amazing and honestly still feels surreal!
So now we are counting down the days, filling our diaries with amazing Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity talks and of course responding to all of the fancy yacht party invitations does take time…
Vin rosé, s’il vous plait!