A report straight from Cannes

Lucky duo on the red carpet at Cannes, that is the report of our Junior Copywriter Mona Olkiewicz, who together with graphic designer Ola Duk visited the biggest celebration of the creative industry.

As we entered the new year, Ola and I completely didn't expect that a few months later our path would take us in the direction of the Cannes red carpet. Even though we've already returned from there, it still sounds like a fairy tale! And where did it all start? From participation in the Young Creatives Cannes 2023 competition, organized by the Advertising Creatives Club with the participation of the Marketing Communications Association SAR, in which victory led us to the center of creativity on the Côte d'Azur.  

The condition for participation in the contest was one - to be born after June 24, 1992. Fortunately, we both fit the required age, and our layers of creativity stood at the ready to face the competition task. It consisted of working independently on the client's brief, and then developing a creative concept, according to the brief. In the YC Cannes competition, the task is presented to all participants at the same place and time, and each team is given 24 hours to complete it. So it was a short but intense time, during which we wanted to squeeze as much as possible out of the brief to create, above all for us, a satisfactory project. And we had the opportunity to do this twice-both in the PRINT and DESIGN categories. In addition, participants could also submit their projects in the DIGITAL, PR, MEDIA, CLIENTS and FILM categories.

The DESIGN category went first. Our task was to create a visual identity for the Women's History Database - an intuitive, reliable and free website, closely linked to the project of building a virtual and physical Museum of Women's History in Poland. We approached the topic by starting with the joint development of an insight, in which we presented a vision of women. Women whose role in history has been belittled in favor of merits made by men.

However, the challenges and limitations of a role overshadowed by masculinity became the basis for changing reality. The female gender has repeatedly proven to society that a woman can too, and that gender discrimination is no solution. Based on this observation, our big idea was formed, which transformed the well-known saying "A woman is a variable" into the slogan "A woman is invariably" - at the center of history, culture, consciousness and change. We then began to work visually, creating a website design that, with its appearance, coherently related to the identity of the aforementioned museum.

However, it was the project in the second category (PRINT) that ultimately brought us the greatest success.
And what a prize it was - the main prize, which resulted in qualification and the opportunity to go to the international edition of the competition - the Young Lions Competition in Cannes. In this case, the competition task seemed a bit more difficult for us - we had to create a poster promoting the law as the foundation of security and freedom, and the partner in this category was the IUSTITIA Association of Polish Judges.

Our brainstorming took longer than before, but in the end, after much discussion, we found a common thread with which we decided to boldly move forward. Why boldly? In short, because the poster we designed was not at all associated with the law at first glance. And it turned out to be a hit! In the project, we decided to refer to the cultural element of modern times - memes from the series "Say something in your own words". Referring to the language of the law, which for most people is associated with complicated and incomprehensible phrases, we explained in simple words what the rule of law provides us, while proving that the law applies to every ordinary citizen and protects his interests. All this was accompanied by a creation using language in both literal and figurative meanings - with images we referred to language as a part of the body that connects all citizens, and with words - to language as a system of signs for communication.

After the announcement (how positive for us) of the results of the competition, the awaited moment finally came - a trip to a place where creativity enters a higher level. Already on the first day of the Cannes Lions festival there was so much going on that by the end of the day it was difficult to say your name. It started with warm-up inspiration sessions, during which we listened to exciting speeches, tips on how to approach a brief (which really came in handy later on!) and took part in a team-building exercise involving answering three questions in writing, creating our own fourth question, and then approaching a person we hadn't spoken to before and exchanging answers with each other. This was the first opportunity to brush up on English.

After everything, there was a moment to get acquainted with the festival area, which, in addition to the main building, stretched almost all along the coast. We visited numerous zones, whose representatives included Omnicom, T-Mobile, Sprite, Tubi, Reddit, MG Empower, VEVO, Whalar and Meta. The latter particularly caught our attention - in the Meta zone we not only listened to a speech on reels, but could also be inspired by ideas and settings specially prepared for filming them. It was a huge injection of creativity that we could try out on our own.

The final highlight of the day was the start of the Young Lions competition - a briefing in the PRINT category, in which we again had 24 hours to prepare a project - this time competing on an international scale. Discussions and devising a plan of action continued into the late hours, and we spent most of the next day on the festival campus dedicated to working on concepts. This time we were hit with an eco theme - the competition task was to create a key visual for EcoTree that would stop the viewer and encourage them to check out what the brand does. Spoiler - people can buy a tree from them and make money from it,
and, in addition, contribute to the fight against climate change.

Ola and I have proven before that we like bold creative solutions, so we took the risk this time too. We decided to compare people to... trees!

The key message of the brief was that a forest can simultaneously grow and provide. For us - quite like people who develop their relationships and provide the best for their loved ones. Surrounded by our own family, we find true peace and comfort. We invest our time, care and effort to stay close and in good relationships. The same can be gained from contact with nature, thanks to trees. So why not call them family?

We created an abstract image of trees as members of our family. We wanted to personify them and make the recipient realize that a tree is like a person - we can take care of it, visit it, watch it grow - all with a click on the page.This image makes us start to understand the essence of family roots and feel close to the tree we bought, and therefore close to nature. We united the whole communication with the slogan "POV: your uncle is a tree", with a movable term for a family member that can be exchanged, depending on the particular message and medium.

After submitting the contest entry, there was some networking with festival participants, and the next day - new and interesting speakers. During a meeting with Coca Cola, we learned a bit about its new summer campaign "Be who you are (real magic)" and the key to reaching representatives of Generation Z. All this was accompanied by a mini-concert by Grammy-winning singer Jon Batiste, who sang in the campaign. We also listened to a moving speech by a mystery speaker, who turned out to be NFL player Jacoby Brissett.

On that day we also toured the festival basement, which hid a huge number of inspiring case studies, including in the DESIGN, PR and OUTDOOR categories. Some of them were awarded gold, silver and even bronze lions. We also found a unique exhibition next door, where some of the works from the case studies we had read before were available to see (and touch) live. An extremely interesting moment was a talk called The French Rebellion, where the French showed us how French creativity drives business, combining culture, striking ideas and deep data analysis.

In the following days there was a bit of relaxation - during a cruise to nearby St. Margaret Island - but even more valuable lectures. There was a meeting with the creative artist of the year, director Spike Lee, a presentation of campaigns from the 1980s and 1990s, showing 70 years of groundbreaking creativity, or a speech by Tyler LaMotte of Patagonia, who demonstrated how to put a sustainability program into practice.

We also had the opportunity to watch the world premiere of the film "Here's To The Crazy Ones," which depicted the untold 50-year story of the Chiat/Day advertising agency breaking barriers. The production celebrates the intersection of art and innovation and the pioneers who are still recoding the DNA of advertising today. There were also meetings with Chief Marketing Officers - brand leaders from various industries - who talked about their challenges and opportunities, and a talk by a Walmart representative who revealed how to use creativity to drive growth in the retail industry. The last day of the festival ended with an official awards gala and a beachside dance party under the theme "Party Like It's 1954!".

All in all, going to the Cannes Festival of Creativity was a very intense, but even more inspiring experience. The number of lectures, zones to visit and what's going on around is beyond human capacity - 5 days to see everything is definitely not enough. Nevertheless, it is a chance to delve into the real world of creativity, absorb a mass of inspiration, gain valuable new acquaintances and experience an amazing adventure. If anyone works in the advertising, creative or related industry and has the opportunity to visit the Cannes Lions festival, they should definitely do so.

We said goodbye to Cannes, saying Aurevoir, but to our creativity, which is returning with redoubled force after this trip, we say emphatically Bonjour!

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