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Cannes Lions Content Feature

#Cannes2024: The new standard

Awards set the bar, there’s no disputing that. It draws a line in the sand and with that, you’re either part of the winning team or you’re not.
Image supplied. Image source: ©  Carl Willoughby, chief creative officer TBWA \ Hunt Lascaris and the chairperson of the Creative Circle says we know we as a country can do so much better
Image supplied. Image source: © ididthat Carl Willoughby, chief creative officer TBWA \ Hunt Lascaris and the chairperson of the Creative Circle says we know we as a country can do so much better

If you’re winning that’s incredible, but if you’re not, well then hopefully it helps motivate you to do better.

There’s a lot one can learn from Cannes.

One of the biggest takeaways for me is just the passion, commitment and drive that comes from the South Americans.

Like Anselmo Ramos, Marcel Marcondes, Fernando Machado, there’s an undeniable quality (see "Don’t start an Agency. Start a brand”). It’s a quality that I think we have, as South Africans. But this year we just didn’t compete on their scale.

As a country we can do so much better

The only award from South Africa was from TBWA\Hunt Lascaris. A silver that together with several shortlists for City Lodge saw us win Regional Network of the Year.

It’s from my agency, and I am incredibly grateful for this for so many different reasons, and taking home the network win is so incredible for us as a collective back home, but, I know we as a country can do so much better. We’ve done so before, how can we do so again?

#Cannes2024: The new standard

The Creative Circle will be hosting the annual Full Circle event, in partnership with Ster Kinekor, the official Cannes Lions representatives in South Africa.

We’ll host in both Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The intention is to share learnings from speakers who judged or attended this year’s Cannes awards.

The challenge for me, for the industry, and our clients is to use these learnings and adapt them to our context. How can we learn from this event and raise the bar? I feel a great sense of duty to drive the right conversation around all of this so we can have a better showing at the 2025 Cannes Lion Festival.

This year for the first time we’ll also host a Cannes download session with the SA judges to uncover learnings that we as a country, not just agencies, can benefit from.

We felt a sense of camaraderie at the annual SA photo in Cannes meet up and I think we can bring that spirit back into our industry, on home ground.

Talks and learnings

Besides the highs and lows of winning, the week of the festival itself is just too much.

As an attendee, you’ll find yourself juggling time for inspiration, for networking, for walking and the occasional gelato. It’s just a complete sensory overload. I’ve tried being far more selective with how I spend my time at the festival because I simply cannot process it all.

    • AI: OverwhelmingOver the past week again, there was so much talk around AI.

      I found it completely overwhelming, especially after attending the Elon Musk talk. In fact, I found it a bit daunting. AI is here to stay and it will “fundamentally change our way of living in the next five years,” said Musk.

  • The Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase.

    This is one of the presentations I attend each year. The storytelling showreel soothed my overstimulated mind at this stage of the festival. I particularly loved the ‘Nigerian Prince’ film. It commented on the insight around phishing scams from a Nigerian seeking financial aid. This 3-minute film was worth the watch. Also produced with the help of generative AI (I really couldn’t avoid this topic).

  • “Don’t start an Agency. Start a brand”

    The talk that really resonated with me personally was the “Don’t start an Agency. Start a brand” session presented by GUT co-founders and creative chairmen Anselmo Ramos and Gaston Bigio. Their passion and the journey they’ve been on is incredibly inspiring. They’ve achieved multiple accolades consistently since they opened their doors in 2018.

    GUT Buenos Aires was Cannes Independent Agency of the Year in 2023 while GUT was Independent Network of the Year as well in the same year. They shared stories around their unconventional approach to success, emphasising the importance of bravery, vision, and ambition. They spoke about the importance of branding through a single word, citing examples of successful brands like Nike, Apple and Dove, where for example Dove’s single word is ‘self-esteem’.

If you’re interested in attending the event go to Webtickets.

About Carl Willoughby

Chief creative officer at TBWA\Hunt Lascaris and the chairperson of the Creative Circle.
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