Cannes day 1 – Reality scores a point

June 18, 2009

By Peter Bidenko – ECD of Impact Proximity and Integrated CD of ImpactBBDO Dubai. He is a judge on the Direct Jury in Cannes.

In Cannes Direct, results count for 30% of the judge’s mark. As far as I know it’s the only category with that sort of emphasis.

So it’s interesting to see in the results section such ridiculous attempts to gloss over the real results that fulfill the objectives of the campaign.

There is some beautifully agile writing that weaves and ducks around the subject but never actually quite says what it tries to mean. You’d like to give them points for effort, but you don’t. I love the charity ones that talk about everything except how much they’ve actually earned for the charity. A point I’m sure the charity is very interested in. Others lifted sales by amazing percentages. But percentages without context mean nothing.

The saving grace of all of this is that it’s usually the horrible work that has the horribly inadequate reporting on the results.

And the converse is true. Great work seems to have not only great results, but people who actually care about the results enough to write them down clearly and proudly.

And that’s the good news, there is great work here in Cannes that actually moves people to do something – like give to charities for instance. TV is definitely not dead, but you wouldn’t hold much hope for the 30-second spot. Judging broadcast yesterday afternoon was inspiring. Brilliantly innovative ideas on engaging people and having them interact. You can see how successful they are by your own desire to respond to them. These ideas were occasionally interspersed with a few ‘normal’ ads that just died by comparison.

So in the war between reality and make believe, reality is winning on the first day. Nice, cleverly written stories of results that don’t matter are slaughtered by the judges and real campaigns that get real results against real objectives are celebrated.