There is no “social” category at the Cannes Lions. I buy the argument that most marketing will become ‘social’ in the future. Therefore, why have a category? You could say that about a lot of categories like, say, mobile. Today, there is enough range of best practice and not-so-best practice in social out there that a category that shines a light on the ‘best’ may accelerate great work.
But we don’t have that…yet.
So, how social was the work at Cannes? The answer depends on your definition of ‘social.’ A program that merely shows up on a popular platform like Twitter or Facebook may be a bit social but perhaps only ‘social-by-association.’ A program that grabs a disruptive idea, crafts a killer piece of shareable content, and clocks high viewing numbers may also be social. It may under leverage all of the neat ways to promote more sharing and involvement. But who cares? A winner is a winner.
This year’s Cannes Lions were more social than last year. The mere fact that 100 Days of Oreo pulled in a Gold Lion is a positive sign. One can say that a persistent, enduring social program earned the world’s top award for creativity. That’s great. Period. My one caveat is that it rewards the simplest, most ‘traditional’ use of Facebook by brands – what Facebook calls “the new print.” Essentially it’s an artful use of posts to create shareable visual content. It pushes the creative print design and copywriting capabilities of adevrtisers and their agencies.
On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is not social and 10 is “full social”, I give the work a “7.” There is terrific work in this year’s awards. If I hedge at all to rank it higher, it is likely that most of the work doesn’t use all of social practices that might scale authentic sharing and word of mouth.
Take time to review the work
Some of the world’s most creative work shows up at Cannes. You would be foolish not to review as much of it as you can. And there is a lot. The following ten cases are all award winners yet not necessarily the top winners. Each had something interesting going on in ‘social’. But dive into the gallery on the Cannes Lions site before they tuck it away behind the firewall, it will be time well-spent.
Shareable content drives behavior change
A wonderfully co-created event/content that puts the brand through its paces
A disruptive idea as content that earns all sorts of media
Social grassroots activation to fix a civic problem
“Hacking” Facebook to Raise Disease Awareness
Harnessing the advocacy of travelers to get more travelers
Sparking an online conversation about civility
Sustained social content driving sharing
Crowdsourced detective work to find missing children in China