The Conversation Starter

Contributed by Patty Clark

I think you know you’re passionate about your work when an advertising campaign makes you emotional because of its sheer brilliance. The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity took place last week in Cannes, France, and awarded the best thinking in advertising. If you’re in the business of creating big ideas, you should know what big ideas are actually making a difference today. Here are just a few PPBH favorites from the Cannes Lions list of winners.

Small Business Saturday
Everyone knows the madness of Black Friday: the lines, the sales, the stampedes and the lines… American Express and Crispin Porter + Bogusky capitalized on this madness to shed some light on the American hero: small businesses. This became a day people could continue the shopping craze while feeling like they just gave back in some way. It quickly became the buzz on social media, with even President Obama tweeting about the cause. It’s a great example of an idea that goes beyond commercial interest—it hits a cultural truth.

For better or worse, Sweden’s Twitter account has a lot more interested followers. That’s because Sweden truly applied the democratic process, even in its social media. Every week a new Swedish citizen gets to tweet whatever they like under Sweden’s official account, even if that means controversial remarks about Jews. We’re not quite sure yet if this is an absolute disaster or a brilliant move, but if nothing else, it’s successfully gotten me to start following @Sweden.

Go Outside Radio
It’s hard to find anything worth looking (or listening) twice at in radio. But Go Outside magazine and advertising agency Talent managed to make a meaningful radio campaign with sounds you can barely hear. While spending time outdoors is on the top of things to do this summer, the No. 1 deterrent for many is likely mosquitos. So they aired a mosquito repelling sound on the radio, while advertising Go Outside magazine. This became the perfect way to advertise, give back and promote a philosophy.

Book Burning Party
Sometimes the best way to beat fire is with fire, and that’s exactly what the Troy Public Library did to survive. When the library’s survival depended on a vote on a small tax increase, it partnered with Leo Burnett and posted realistic flyers all over the city for a book burning party, encouraging voters to close down the library. And it had it’s desired effect—people went to the site telling them how sick they thought book burning was, promising they would vote ‘Yes’ to the save the library. Reverse psychology at it’s best. Clever, clever…

I Have Already Died
Imagine seeing a ghost ask you to help avenge their death. That’s essentially what the ALS Foundation Netherlands and Publicis did. Every commercial featured an ALS patient sincerely pleading for support for the organization—but not for them, for they had already died. Patients with ALS were filmed, but the spots did not air until after they passed away. The words of the tagline itself, I Have Already Died, are eerie enough to make you look twice and feel for the person you can hear and see.

Check out the rest of the winners here. Let us know in the comments what winners stood out for you. Did we miss any?

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