Guest blog by Mary Maddever
Mary Maddever is the Vice President and Editorial Director of Brunico Communications, publisher of strategy, Media in Canada, stimulant and Playback.
Reporting from the Cannes Lions awards, strategy’s Editorial Director Mary Maddever reviews how winning campaigns by Canadian marketing agencies cleverly use direct marketing to overcome the new barrier to brand messaging – consumers as gatekeepers.
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity continues to practice what it preaches, adding categories and shifting focus to reflect changes in the industry. This year the festival is focusing on equality and addressing gender stereotyping through a first-time initiative, The Glass Lion. That push to shatter glass ceilings and the status quo meshes with another first at Cannes, a Canadian woman taking the jury president reins – Leo Burnett CEO and chief creative officer Judy John, who helmed this year’s Direct Marketing jury.
In her President’s Message in the Cannes guide, she wrote: “Direct is now a category that spans across media, and is as interesting and creative as it is varied. Thanks to technology, there are many ways to reach people to elicit a response than ever before . . . All the best work speaks to someone and makes them want to do something, almost everything can be considered direct now, which makes this a growing category and a challenging category to judge.”
The fact that everything can be considered direct means more categories of marketing could benefit from the full range of tools in the direct marketing (DM) arsenal. This was evident when perusing the DM entries this morning in the basement of the Palais. Driven by the fact that consumers are now the only gatekeepers brands have to get past, everyone from TV producers to consumer packaged goods marketers are digging deeper into this area of expertise.
And the fact that Canada is doing some market-leading work on this front was evident when the first set of shortlists were released this morning. Of the 22 Lions nods Canada amassed across Direct, Press and Promo (but none in Mobile, sadly) nine were for DM category entries.
Leading the pack with 3 nods was #Likeagirl for Always, by Leo Burnett, which was shortlisted for Use of Social Audience in a Direct Marketing campaign, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, and Writing for Direct. The campaign has been on an impressive global awards show roll, and is considered a top contender for Gold Lions and a potential Grand Prix. Not to mention that millions of people around the world are thinking differently about the damage of unintentional stereotyping.
Another Canadian campaign that’s been commanding global attention is Grey’s work for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Groceries Not Guns” was shortlisted in the Use of Social Audience and in the Integrated Campaign Led by DM categories.
Inspiration Boxes for Ikea, also by Leo Burnett, made the cut in the Targeted Ambient Media Large Scale category. In a pack of 28 other contenders in that sub-category, it looks strong for a Lion. The fact that it takes an existing award-sweeping campaign (built on a brilliant insight, the need for boxes in Montreal on the city’s mass Moving Day) to an even more genius level – boxes that double as product samples – bodes well. The final Leo Burnett entry that made it through is Bell Media’s U.S. Open campaign, “Kings and Queens of the Court.”
Another likely-to-win Lions entry is the JWT Better Tomorrows campaign for Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. The massively challenging mini-doc-a-day initiative is one of only 4 campaigns that made it though the cull in Direct Response Broadcast.
And Canada’s final Direct contender is Rethink‘s Uber Safe program which got a nod for best Use of Technology in a DM campaign, one of only 7 tech centric entries that made the shortlist cut.
Judging by some of the entries from around the world I viewed, combining traditional best practices with the creative possibilities opened up by adding tech to the equation means direct can be the BFF of data and ROI – and innovation.