News & Views

Cannes Lions / Film and Film Craft Award Winners

by Contagious Team

Volvo Trucks/ Forsman & Bodenfors, Sweden / Live Test Series

God Damme it, Volvo Trucks did it again. After picking up a Cyber Grand Prix on Wednesday, its Live Test Series has (as was widely expected) scooped a Film Grand Prix. I’ve probably watched The Epic Split a gazillion times but, much as I hate to admit it, when that Enya song kicked in and those award-winning legs started splitting, my heart did a little flutter. Admittedly, this may have been because it is Saturday and my body is in breakdown-mode after a week in Cannes, but Epic Split has got that visceral ‘woah’ factor that makes you remember how powerful great advertising can be.

I’d love to tell you that the jury provided a somewhat more nuanced analysis of their decision to award Epic Split the top honours than ‘It had a woah factor,’ but that was pretty much the gist of the analysis. Al Moseley, managing partner at 180, Amsterdam noted that the film ‘Had everything… it had the product at the heart of it, but it was more than that. It was a spiritual meditation.’ So there you go: proof that Jean-Claude really is a God among (advertising) men.

Harvey Nichols / adam & eveDDB  / Sorry, I Spent It On Myself

While The Epic Split was a pretty uncontroversial choice, the jury’s decision to award the other Grand Prix to Harvey Nichols’ Sorry, I Spent It On Myself raised some hackles in the press room. This is the third Grand Prix for the campaign, which also picked up the top honours in the Press and Promo and Activation categories earlier this week. When challenged as to whether the Harvey Nichols work was truly deserving of a Film Grand Prix, the jury explained that their decision was based on the strength of the insight and the bravery of going against the grain of retail convention during the category’s most important selling season. Pete Favat, CCO, Arnold Worldwide, said: ‘To take greed and make people laugh and smile about it is extremely difficult. They flew in the face of convention for holiday advertising. For a retailer to take their highest selling season and do something like this is brave.’

Bravery over budgets

Favat used the point about Harvey Nichols’ bravery to emphasise, more generally, that ‘Cannes is not about budget…boldness is the thing we should be rewarding.’ Which is an interesting point of view considering that it costs €750 (around £600) to enter a piece of work into the film category and a hell of a lot more to enter it into certain other categories. I can’t help but think that true boldness is if the agency world stopped fetishising awards and ploughed that money back into talent development and training. But, you know, there’s no money for that…Sorry, I Spent It On My Award Entries.

Film Craft

While we’re on the subject of extraneous awards and award categories, let’s talk about Film Craft quickly. There was no Grand Prix. The Epic Split picked up a Gold and Silver though. 

On the Future of the Film Category

Jury President Amir Kassaei, CCO, DDB Worldwide, concluded the press conference by reiterating the emotional power of film as a medium and the importance of storytelling . ‘A lot of people are saying that TV as a medium is dying and you have to look at technology,’ said Kasseai. ‘[But] I still believe that film is the best platform to tell great stories, and I think that film will start to redefine itself.’ Kasseai predicted that the category would adapt as technology and film intersect more.

While Kasseai was enthusiastic about the power of technology to elevate film as a medium, he also cautioned about the fetishising of technology. ‘It’s the story that’s important,’ he emphasised. That would have been a nice way to wrap things up, but he didn’t stop there. Instead he finished up by saying: ‘There’s a famous German saying: “if there is no mother there is no baby.” That’s what I believe.’ There is a film in that somewhere.  

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