Yes We Cannes

June 24, 2016

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According to English football legend Gary Linneker, football — or soccer for those of you who believe footballs have to be oval-shaped– is a simple game. 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes, and at the end the Germans always win.

As a judge at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, I was able to observe a very similar phenomenon: Winning a PR Lion is a very simple thing. 25 judges look at 2,500 entries in the PR category over a period of six days, and at the end the advertising agencies always get the Lions share. Always? Not necessarily. Here are my top three takeaways from Cannes for PR folks:

1.    Don’t get too excited about PESO

Channels don’t matter as much as many PR people think. They’ve become almost a commodity. Channel expertise is relevant with regard to the execution of a campaign, but it’s not the key to award-winning work.

2.    Discover the power of a true insight

The ability to generate a true insight is king: the one piece that explains the relationship between cause and effect with regard to the brief given – and wows your audience.

3.    Release creativity

Finally, the insight needs to be turned into a powerful, creative and simple idea the target audience can’t resist. Their desire to share with their community activates the campaign and kicks off a wider discussion.

To be an award winner you have be outstanding at points 2 and 3 – a key competence of ad agencies. If they need a campaign to get wings they partner with a PR agency — something that doesn’t get mentioned in many cases. If we manage to combine our strengths and release our creative juices, and think holistically and across practices, we can change the rules of the game and define a new era for PR agencies at the world’s most iconic communications festival.