Thought Leaders in association withPartners in Crime

Luis Miguel Messianu on ‘The Intersections Festival’

Advertising Agency
Miami, USA
DDB's chairman at Alma and McDs global CCO on returning to Cannes and why this will be the 'year of the intersections'

Starting with the glorious fact that we will finally be ‘intersecting’ face to face in Cannes after a loooong and virtual hiatus, I’m excited not only to see my ‘advertising family’ but to anticipate a trend I’m starting to observe, not only as an ad geek, but as I see some of the industry experts’ predictions, and also as I judge the very stimulating Sustainable Development Goals category: this will be the ‘Year of the Intersections.’ 

So much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if in the very near future the festival will have to reconsider several of its categories, as we are clearly seeing work that breaks new ground and crosses boundaries, disrupting entire product categories, marketing disciplines and creative territories!

Take the much lauded Dole’s ‘Piñatex’ case! You can’t help but to be in awe that something as simple and until now, so irrelevant in our lives, such as the wasteful pineapple leaves, could have such a sustainable impact on the planet’s environment, transforming what seemed as a very distant industry to fruit, such as fashion! To me the ‘intersection’ between these two worlds is mind boggling! And if you think about it, it plays not only into scale for good, but beyond just good, it’s transformational and it becomes a massive and potentially very profitable new business model!

Another case illustrative of the ‘intersection’ amongst disciplines is without a doubt the multi-awarded ‘The Lost Class’ from prominent gun rights advocate organisation Change the Ref, an entity founded by Manuel and Patricia Oliver, who lost their son Joaquin at the Parkland shooting. This admirable activist enterprise keeps gaining traction and is very close to our heart. We were one of the first agencies to support them since the very beginning, with work like the ‘3D Activist’ documentary (which premiered precisely at the Cannes Festival), ‘Ugly Sweaters’ and ‘Guns’ (recognised with a Lion a few years back). 

Is this 'commencement speech' strictly a PSA? Or does it qualify as a stunt? An activation? An Experiential effort? Or really all of the above? The fictitious graduation makes the point in a uniquely powerful and purposeful way, as the 3,044 empty chairs equate to the huge number of young people in the U.S. who have lost their lives to gun violence. It’s a truly striking homage to a 'class' of seniors who won’t be graduating from high school and clearly one of the most emotional demonstrations of truly purposeful work in recent years.

And what about other ‘intersection examples’ such as Unilever’s Dove, an ‘evolution’ to ‘Evolution’, their Cannes 2007 Film Grand Prix, which cleverly adapts its core concept of self-esteem in the face of technological altered beauty expectations. Their ‘Reverse selfie’ campaign addresses the fact that almost 80% of girls have ‘beautified’ their digital appearance through filters and apps. This is the intersection between Health & Beauty, social purpose, innovation and the impact (both positive and negative) of technology in our lives. And it does a simply ‘beautiful’ job though the essential power of pure film!

And I’ll be remised if I don’t ‘humbly’ close by including our own ‘Better with Pepsi’ campaign which takes us back to the essentials of a simple print idea, overlaid by a subversive mindset, that disrupted 30 years of Coke’s dominance across the top burger chains in the US, to make the point - precisely on National Burger Day- that based on conclusive research, burgers taste better with Pepsi! Another example of the ‘intersection’ between very  basic well-crafted print, crossing the frontiers from Print, OOH, and Design, to Promo and Activation, and of course, Sales Promotion.

As our industry continues to proudly show the world our worth and value, I feel optimistic that in the face of inflation, recession, war, health issues and social injustice, we will still be able to gather to recognise the people, the brands, and the ideas that ‘intersect’ and keep us all pushing forward! à bientôt!!!