The festival has hit full swing on Day Two. Hear from the judges of the Outdoor Lions, find out the winners of five (count ‘em) different awards categories, and discover what’s keeping marketing chiefs at Visa and Samsung on their toes.

McDonald’s and US television channel Comedy Central emerged victorious with the two Grand Prix in the Outdoor Lions after an exhaustive judging process that whittled down the mountainous pile of 2,628 entries, including 33 from Australia. 

“McDonald’s ‘Directions’ [featuring a highly creative, but simple use of a segmented McDonald’s logo to be used as street directions] transcends languages, it’s so simple, confident and iconic,” said the Outdoor Lions jury president, TBWA chief creative Chris Garbutt. 

“Comedy Central’s ‘Donald J Drumpf Presidential Twitter Library’ [a satirical but real-life exhibition of Drumpf’s tweets roving around the US] was a little bit less traditional. It was fantastic because it invited the audience in, utilising humour as an incredibly effective medium to combat the huge tension surrounding the current political landscape in America. 

“Some of the Americans on the jury thought it was a bit too insular but then we heard people from other markets say they found it inspiring,” added Garbutt. 

“The bigger narrative around outdoor occurs when human beings want to change something for the better they take to the streets. Outdoor media has the ability to engage in a face-to-face conversation on the streets, so in a way it’s the most revolutionary medium we have. We had some very exciting, provocative work, such as the students of Parkland taking on gun control with ‘The Price on our Lives’ campaign, and brands taking on gender bias. But we did see some work that rode the ‘brand purpose’ bandwagon a bit and we marked it down accordingly.”

Outdoor Grand Prix (Billboards & Street Posters/Indoor Posters/Adapted Outdoor)

‘Directions’ for McDonald’s Canada by Cossette Toronto and McDonald’s Toronto

Outdoor Grand Prix (Ambient/Integrated)

‘The Daily Show Presents: the Donald J Drumpf Presidential Twitter Library’ for Comedy Central by Comedy Central New York and 23 Stories x Conde Nast New York

How did Australia do in the Outdoor Lions?

Silver Lion to ‘Inconvenience Stores’ for Swann Insurance by CHE Proximity Melbourne

Design Grand Prix

‘Trash Isles’ for Plastic Oceans and The Lad Bible, by AMV BBDO London 

How did Australia do in the Design Lions?

Silver Lion to ‘The Most Interesting Job Interview’ for The Australian Secret Service Recruitment by Cummins & Partners, Melbourne

Bronze Lion to ‘The Museum That Made a Name for Itself by Changing Its Name’ for the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia by Ogilvy Australia Sydney

Mobile Grand Prix

‘Corruption Detector’ for Reclame Aqui by Grey Brazil

Australia’s performance in the Mobile Lions?

Bronze Lion to ‘Invisible Friends’ for Missing Persons Advocacy Network by whiteGREY Melbourne

Print and Publishing Grand Prix

‘Tagwords’ for Budweiser by Africa São Paolo

Australia’s performance in the Print and Publishing Lions?

No prizes. 

Radio & Audio Grand Prix

‘Soccer Song For Change’ for ABInBev Africa’s Carling Black Label Anti Women Abuse Initiative by Ogilvy Cape Town

How did Australia do in the Radio & Audio Lions?

Bronze Lion to ‘Insolvent Rugs / Towel Town’ for Super Retail Group by Clemenger BBDO Brisbane

It’s not all about awards at Cannes Lions, which is an increasingly popular destination for marketers, including Visa’s senior vice-president of global marketing Kimberly Kadlec and Samsung Electronics’ global chief marketing officer YoungHee (YH) Lee.

Kadlec told Cannes Lens that the issue keeping her awake at night is Visa “not moving fast enough” as the 15,000-employee company goes through a period of organisational change. “We’re approaching things in a very different way than we have in the past and it’s a lot of different divisions coming together to speak the same language while we speak different languages. We’re agreed on where we’re headed, but now we have to figure out a way to get there together.” 

She was at Cannes to deliver a presentation about how Visa was delivering on its new mission statement of becoming “the most impactful, creative, data-driven marketer in the world”, which she described as “a very different mindset” for us and our agencies. 

“Leveraging data isn’t always easy but requires the ability to see the story through the numbers and connect different silos. The more we’re able to communicate across internal teams, the more data becomes actionable and helps understand our consumer. We’re really starting to get in sync.”

“Over the next 18 months we’re expecting to have a much more real-time ROI analysis capability [rather than getting data long after the fact]” she added. 

Kadlec picked out Visa’s current World Cup campaign, featuring famous footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović, as one example of how its marketing approach has become more data-driven and changed the way it works with agencies. The campaign, which is heavily focused on digital media, includes over a thousand different assets. 

“We’re going to shoots knowing we want to shoot modular assets that can be plug and play, depending on what trigger [for the ad to load], what target audience, what geography we’re in, what language we’re using, what the talent needs to look like to be relevant.”

“The complexity of getting those thousand assets through legal is a big challenge. Legal have been great, they come to the table for the right reasons, to protect the company. Our job is to explain what we’re trying to accomplish and then they help you get to yes. But it’s a new process and when they hear about a campaign featuring 20,000 assets they want to keel over! It becomes manageable as you do it a few times.” 

The new focus on data has also had Visa asking its agencies to hire not just more data scientists, but more creative data scientists, Kadlec added. 

“The people who can speak creative but also understand the data and the science behind it are a rare breed. They actually unstick a lot of things that get stuck in the process.”

Transformation was also top of mind for Samsung Electronics’ Lee, who admitted she’s never seen the marketing industry change so quickly. “Just keeping up with today’s innovation is a full-time job,” she said. 

Lee spoke about making Samsung a human brand, that was interested in how its technology can help people improve themselves. A lot of the marketing she showed featured the human impact of its products, such as its virtual reality headset Gear VR, in helping disabled people lead better lives. 

“The intersection of technology and humanity is what I get excited about, what technology means to people’s lives. To be part of a brand with purpose, truly changing people’s lives, is extremely liberating,” she said. 

Malcolm Poynton, the global chief creative at Samsung’s close agency partner Cheil Worldwide, observed that what people expect from ads is going to change as virtual reality – “a time-travelling teleportation machine” – becomes more common. 

He displayed people’s stunned reactions to ‘A Moon For All Mankind’, an interactive experience that Samsung developed with NASA and recently ran at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, which simulated walking on the Moon in low-gravity conditions. 

“It meant I could be the first Kiwi to walk on the Moon,” he joked. 

Humour aside, agencies are taking the VR trend seriously. Just last week WPP’s global digital design agency AKQA acquired a majority stake in an architecture practice and its associated product design agency. AKQA said its ambition was to unite the three disciplines, which sounds like its clients are asking for experiences not unlike Samsung’s. 

What other issues did Day Two of Cannes Lions throw up for our fast-changing industry? Well, watch out for a backlash from the public against social media platforms, according to Richard Edelman, the well-informed leader of global PR shop Edelman. 

Public trust in social media is at the lowest level in history, according to the latest wave of the agency’s ongoing Trust Barometer survey. Just 20% of people in the US, France, Germany and the UK currently trust social media, Edelman revealed.

“There’s a sense now that the platforms can’t reform themselves,” he said. “Brands are being asked to push platforms to reform themselves not just on fake news but on data privacy. The general perception of the public is ‘Nothing’s happening, and we’re angry’ and that also goes for the wider digital picture. People are deeply upset about things that marketers have taken for granted – cookies, location-based targeting, even loyalty programmes.” 

And on that cheery note, farewell and come back tomorrow for our Day Three summary!