CANNES, FRANCE — The first time I attended the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity was in 2010. Twelve years later, no longer a Cannes-virgin, I am back. My goal since attending in 2010 was to bring home a Lion, even if it was a design for a calendar. After two years of navigating the pandemic and learning how brands can collaborate for a greater cause, my goal has changed. But there are similar themes for brands at the festival:
Stick to your brand DNA. Be who you are. Then again, doesn’t every brand want to do good? Isn’t serving and helping part of every brand’s core values?
Have the courage to be different and stand out. Shouldn’t we challenge ourselves: Isn’t the bravest thing for a brand to set aside its own brand ego for the greater good?
Collaborate as many brand collaborations have succeeded. Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to ask: Shouldn’t brands collaborate toward making this a better world? Doing it together versus doing it as a brand campaign. There are many problems we face as a world but there are a few big ones that no one brand can solve on its own. Imagine if brands collaborated to eradicate hunger or remove plastics to protect the planet or provide clean water to communities that have no access or make the world a better place without bullies or labels.
My goal has changed from winning a Lion to creating impact so brands can truly make a difference in people’s lives vs doing a campaign for the sake of fulfilling a brand brief. Shouldn’t the primary goal be simple — to help?
The Cannes Lions celebrates excellence in creativity year on year across all forms of media and multiple categories. It has inspired thousands to find that insightful idea to connect with consumers. And it is this creativity that can be put to good use, not for the buzz or I dare say, not for the Lion, but to solve the problems of humanity.
Creativity must have a purpose. And it’s not in the form of a metal or a trophy. Perhaps I was naive in 2010 to think that striving for a Lion was the end all and be all for a brand. Or maybe I have just grown old after 12 years, and I realize that my true desire is to see how god-given creative talent can be used for a higher purpose. Praise to Heineken for its “shutter ads,” helping bars during the pandemic — and bars clearly being part of their value chain.
Bravo to Michelob Ultra’s Contract for Change (Cannes Grand Prix winner 2021) for helping farmers transition to organic farming in the USA — and this addressed their core business challenge too.
Finally, for the Philippines, McDonald’s Classroom (Cannes shortlist, 2022) also used its birthday party rooms during the pandemic to give teachers and students access to a quiet space to teach and learn, wifi connection and even McDonald’s treats.
For these campaigns, all these brands offered their corporate assets to help a community. This shows a genuine desire to help and, for me, are great examples of creativity for good.
Margot Torres is the Managing Director at McDonald’s Philippines. With over 20 years of marketing experience under her belt, Torres leads the fast-food chain’s planning, advertising, media, promotions, research, PR, and corporate communications. She is the former president of the Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA) and sat two times as the president of the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP). She was the first Tambuli Chief Marketing Officer of the year in 2011.