Daljit Singh knows a thing or two about Cannes: he’s a two-time awards winner there. He’s also Fjord’s regional design strategy lead. When he’s not busy doing all of these things he’s kindly penned us a piece on his reflections on the work nominated at this year’s Cannes Lions, exploring emerging trends and who he reckons will win big in 2016. Following this, Tristan Macherel, executive creative director of global branding agency, Landor Paris, and President of the design jury at Cannes Lions, talks about what he’s looking forward to at this year’s festival.
Over the past twenty years I’ve vested many hours in dark rooms around the world, sifting through award submissions… and Cannes Lions is no exception. Outstanding work leaps out, arouses and unites the slumped figures that are flatlining over the monotony of mediocrity.
But the past couple of years judging has become a little more complex and interesting. When you see something brilliant like last year’s Grand Prix winner at Cannes what3words, you begin to realise how categories are becoming irrelevant. Here is an idea that marries the reality of invention with a real impact on society.
It is little wonder that the smart marketing money has shifted further into the realms of design and innovation. Innovation, invention and technology are no longer the “new kid” categories but becoming the cornerstones of awards. I think what we will – or should – see more of, will be the softer, human use of technology moulding itself seamlessly into the fabric of the idea and subsequently, our lives.
Talking of fabric I’m sure we’ll see the recently rebranded and repositioned Unmade acknowledged at Cannes. This on-demand knitwear service enables customers to create unique knitwear from scarves to sweaters for a similar cost to a high street product. It is underpinned with an ethical backbone that is ever more important.
Seymour Powell’s Fairphone 2 is another darling of the awards industry that you may be familiar with. Not only is it intelligently designed, but the product becomes the brand and marketing, making its owners advocates of a new way of making electronics that are not wasteful.
Slow Down GPS by F&B in Sweden is a genius idea that changes the voiceover of the in-car navigation system to a child’s as the motorist approaches a school. Although it may smack of a horror film or two, it could avert a far worse horror on the roads.
It is evident through these projects that creative and tech teams are working much closer to push innovation into invention and onto a commercial reality. This is marketing now and for the future.
We should see the brilliant McWhopper campaign win big this year with its wonderful burger mash-up proposal. It smartly provokes and cajoles to make the audience actively want to get involved in the charity Peace One Day. The humour and execution is pure nectar to social media. In the same vein Van Gogh BnB could be another contender for sheer fun factor. There is no letting up on experiential though – delivering the old friend surprise-and-delight is paramount in plunging the audience into the sublime.
Award winning work has to really perform to get recognition, which is why I hope to see the C4 idents win at this year’s Cannes festival. In our tech-fuelled world they still manage to relax and perplex in a beautiful way. It could be said that they capture the channel perfectly.
The days are getting longer; the temperature slowly climbs. It’s time once again for that international high mass of creativity, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Disruption —that grain of sand in the machinery of established institutions—has become the norm, and design must reinvent itself to support the brands that seek to embrace this new reality.
Cannes Lions launched the Design category seven years ago and, every year since then, it has reminded the world that creativity is a motor of change, and of business development. Beyond mere graphics, design must be both meaningful and practical. It must demonstrate its usefulness for solving the strategic and creative problems brands now face.
Cannes will bring to our attention projects that challenge and push the boundaries of design practices. I’m looking forward to discovering how these will successfully integrate the following rising trends.
The digital springboard
Our world is evolving at exponential speed, raising the challenge of integrating digital technology into branding. When used with agility, digital becomes a creative springboard that brings new meaning to design and pushes its boundaries even further. However, very few brands are able to do it with genuine purpose, and many still use technology for the sake of it.
Digital is becoming a springboard that allows design to demonstrate its utility as a builder of creative solutions to the new problems brands and people are facing today. One such example is the NGO Djantoli, who uses technology to transform its logo into a free, permanent communication, evolving in real time to show the increasing number of children’s lives saved by the charity.
Media is where you least expect it
The age of traditional communication and brand activation is being taken over by the drive to discover new forms of media, and new ways to connect with customers. By looking at the world around us in a different way, we can spot these many opportunities —not necessarily always digital—to communicate a brand’s message.
No More Evictions by Madrid-based agency, Proximity, is a case in point. The agency created a campaign that used ordinary Euro bank notes to raise awareness of homelessness in Spain. They developed an ink-based rubber stamp that was just the right size to place an image of a homeless family under the bridge that appears on every bank note. The more people stamp the notes, the more the message circulated around the economy, effectively turning money into a new type of touchpoint.
New world meets real life
With the rise of digital, we are witnessing a new paradox: a longing for the return to the traditional authenticity of real life, as opposed to a virtual one. I expect design to embrace this paradox, integrating traditional values with technology, thus creating a link between the analogue and digital worlds. Rather than increasing the discrepancy between these two worlds, brands should seek to integrate them to create a seamless, yet authentic experience for consumers.
The luxury tea brand Wait, which picked up three awards at Cannes Lions last year, struck this balance. Created by Landor, Wait sought to address a common, modern-day problem: a lack of free time. The design, from packaging to digital application, expresses the pleasure of waiting—the length of the infusion time—in a world that moves too fast. The WAIT app transforms the device that brings the most stress in our lives, our mobiles, into a peaceful experience that encourages us to stop and appreciate time.
Again this year I’m looking forward to seeing ideas that are brilliantly executed and design that offers differentiation and relevance to brands. A design that reflects, through these trends, the constant reinvention of our craft.