Cannes 2015 Outdoor Roundup

So this year I went to Cannes. That’s the quaint village on the French Riviera where they have the Cannes Lions awards for creative in media and advertising.

Aside from some scary moments with my Uber and an angry taxi driver, it was a very interesting week.

I was specifically interested in the ideas in outdoor. A lot of unique concepts and case studies, and the winners were all deserving.

The judges must have really loved the Shot on iPhone6 campaign you might have seen everywhere because it won a Grand Prix. Apple searched online photos that people had posted to social networks and selected a few that were in were in just the right conditions to look good when blown up. Then they put them on outdoor placements around the country for all to see. The very nature of outdoor media itself made each static photo an explicit showcase for the quality of the images. There never was a better reason to advertise in outdoor.

Samsung Safety Truck. This was a great example of when outdoor media becomes functional. Almost one person in Argentina dies every hour from traffic accidents – 80% of them are on the roads – and these mainly from trying to overtake. An always versatile marriage of digital screen and front-facing camera provides following cars an HD view of oncoming traffic so they can decide better whether to overtake. If you want to win a Cannes Lion, figure out how to make advertising also help people. No judge can resist.

You might have seen this, Holograms for Freedom. In Spain, would you believe, there is a gag law preventing people from protesting. So they filmed people on a march, and then projected the video in a holographic blue lustre onto transparent screens outside the parliament building in a slick act of defiance. You could also upload your face onto one of the protestors if you wanted to participate also. Solve problems with technology in media and you have an instant winner.

Nazis Against Nazis. I guess this isn’t really outdoor but it involves Nazis getting owned so I thought I’d slip it in. Some people in Germany still haven’t received the memo and routinely march in support of their misguided ideals. To combat this annoyance, a group called EXIT Deutchland started a campaign to donate €10 for every meter the neo-Nazis marched to a cause aimed at steering people away from the cult and bringing those already in it back to Earth. Now they’re actually funding their own demise. Keep on marching folks.

Life Time Clock. Also in Germany, there’s been a drop in organ donations. People are dying as a result, so they put up this powerful giant hourglass for a guy called Kevin. The sand runs out in a few months, which is how much time he has left to live because of a fatal heart problem. There’s something both chilling but also riveting about seeing the sand of someones life slip away. It got national media attention and made an impact on the awareness of organ donation.

So some worthy winners and interesting ideas, and a lot of good being done for the world thanks to the creativity and ingenuity that media allows. If winning Lions is what you want, the method can be found in the artful application of technology, preferably in pursuit of some social good. Outdoor is rich with emerging possibilities, so expect some more wonderful ideas in the year ahead.

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