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Experiential Cannes: Big Problems, Simple solutions



ECD at George P. Johnson Jorge Narváez-Arango on how simple solutions win big at Cannes

Experiential Cannes: Big Problems, Simple solutions

If you know me you know it’s very hard for me to sit still for any length of time. However, around this time of the year you will find me judiciously sitting, glass of wine in hand, carefully pouring over the submissions for Cannes Lions. Few things capture my imagination like this festival does.

As in the past, Cannes did not disappoint, but this year my approach to it was a little different.  Given the nature of my career I wanted to examine what made this year distinct.  I was hoping that after hours of studying I would find some magic roadmap that bridges the gap between physical and digital experiential campaign designs. 

Although no such map was unearthed, I did discover a beautiful pattern and a valuable lesson; one I will take to heart over the next year and that I would like to share with you now: Look toward the obvious. Find an issue important to you that matters to us all and then solve it by unveiling a solution so evident you might easily overlook. You don’t have to create a complicated solution to explain to the masses, sometimes the answer is staring you in the face. 

Creative genius lies in the ability to solve widespread problems with brilliant and simple solutions. This year Cannes Lions was packed with them: Nazis against Nazis, Security Moms, Holograms for Freedom, Life Paint, The Salt You Can See, More than a Sign, SMS-SOS, The Ice Bucket Challenge, Safety Truck; even innovations like Baidu Kuaisou and Priceless Weapons,  just to mention a few… 

Independent of the type of Lion they won, each utilized brilliant methods of evoking an emotional response from the viewer. They had a problem that affected the masses, created art that infected the viewer with passion for said problem, then expose a solution that was so evidently simple it could not be ignored. 

Whether these campaigns raised awareness one bucket pour at a time, through invisible spray paint, a virtual protest, letting you see the unseen, proposed a kinder type of security, or a simple method to save lives on a safer road, these elegant and simple campaigns all had one goal in mind - to change the world for the better.

Cannes Lions 2015 proves once again that creativity is not always about million dollar budgets or global media spends, but also about finding simple solutions to seemingly large, complex problems. If we look to solve problems that matter in an simple, yet elegant way, the world will respond to this level of brilliance it in a very positive way. I hope to take this with me in my next round of work, and maybe you will too.

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