Cannes Session: The Titanium Lion in 2020

June 17, 2019

The most coveted and prestigious Cannes Lions award, the Titanium is awarded to groundbreaking, game-changing ideas. Each year, it goes to provocative, boundary-busting, envy-inspiring work that marks a new direction for the industry and moves it forward.

VMLY&R’s Debbi Vandeven, WPP’s John O’Keeffe and Laurent Ezekiel, and Campaign Editor Lindsay Stein took the stage at WPP Beach to discuss the future of creativity, what it will take to win a Titanium next year, and the types of creatives that will shape the industry’s future.

Their conversation focused on the three entries shortlisted for the 2019 Titanium award: The Last Ever Issue (VMLY&R Poland), Tommy Adaptive (Wunderman Thompson), Aero Mexico (Ogilvy). 

 Key takeaways:

  • You aren’t going to win Titanium with a TV ad. You’ve got to have a fantastic idea at the core of any Titanium worthy work. And, a great core idea is just the beginning. You have to ask how can we elevate this from an ad to a movement. That is the opportunity.
  • You’ve got to be authentic, and the Tommy Adaptive work is a great example of how to do it right. Everyone who was doing the filming and putting together the wardrobe was related to the issue – it was authentic both behind the camera and in front of the camera.
  • It takes a lot of different types of talent to win – you can’t be precious about where the ideas come from. It’s not a traditional team, or a data team or a tech team. It’s the collaboration of all of these teams and more. Look for people who can work well together, and who seek out ideas from everywhere.
  • We will continue to see, increasingly, brands taking on issues and having a point of view. In this year’s Titanium category, there are many pieces taking a stand on political issues happening around the world. And, some of them made it funny, using humor to tackle serious issues – it’s refreshing and effective.  Ogilvy’s work for Aero Mexico is a great example.
  • When brands do put a stake in the ground around an issue, it has to be contextual and relevant to their business. It’s important to ask if -- and how -- what you’re doing will drive change for the issue and across the industry. Sometimes you get a lot of backlash, and that’s part of the bravery.

 Notable quotes:

  • “You’re in this industry to sell products and services, but you can do a hell of a lot of good along the way.” John O’Keeffe, Worldwide Creative Director, WPP
  • “You have to ask yourself what you’re doing to drive change for the issue and across the industry. You have to put a stake in the ground and decide if you’re going to stand for something.” Debbi Vandeven, Global Chief Creative Officer, VMLY&R
  • “If you have a core great idea, that’s not the end, that’s just the start. You haven’t finished. You have to ask, how can we elevate this from an ad to a movement. That is the opportunity.” John O’Keeffe, Worldwide Creative Director, WPP
  • “What made the Aero Mexico work brilliant was that they stepped out and neutralized the tension with humor -- and they did it in a way that was contextually on point and relevant to their business.” Laurent Ezekiel, Chief Marketing & Growth Officer, WPP 
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