VIDEOS & AWARDS. Strip away all the pomp and ceremony, and genuine creativity needs to be of use in the real world.

As the clean-up operation starts after the Cannes Lions jolly, The Blogfather spends far too much time on YouTube watching videos, in an attempt to distil what makes for a good ‘un.

The 64th ‘International Festival of Creativity’ swung through the south of France last week. More famously known as the Cannes Lions, these awards are alleged to celebrate the very best of creativity in numerous industries, including the one we at Gasp call home; marketing and communications.

On the surface, and by the majority, they are seen as the equivalent of the Oscars for the industry, being much coveted, and can help agencies and brands hit the stratosphere.

Yet scratch a little deeper, and there is a prevailing point of view that this is far from the case, and from a calibre of people it is always worth listening to. The most common word I found in articles relating to Cannes was ‘debauched’.

Mark Ritson has, as ever quite strong and enlightening views, seeing the festival as inappropriate in the larger context of recent digital advertising controversies:

“While marketers sat around sunning themselves on the French Riviera and enjoying special events on a host of different luxury yachts, the most powerful marketer on the planet [P & G] was bemoaning the fact most of his and their ad money was being wasted. It’s not a good picture.”

Possibly the most significant news coming out of Cannes this year was that Publicis Groupe have pulled all budget from chasing awards and won’t be entering Cannes next year. Admittedly, this is in part driven by them going nuts and putting everything into an internal AI platform called Marcel, but it is still something of note. They blew $20 million on sending people and entries to Cannes this year. Crazy.

Festival goers this year were given a Cannes Connect wristband. It enables wearers to ‘bump’ their details as a techy replacement for the age-old exchange of business cards, whilst also sounding like an entry in the ‘Best use of tech for tech’s sake’ category at the recent Chip Shop Awards (where Gasp picked up a ‘Vinegar’ commendation, which was ruddy lovely).

Do awards matter? Depends on the awards. The Chip Shops are great as they are utterly free of the egos (well, mostly) and pretentious bollocks of Cannes. You would have to question how much of the Cannes entries are workable in the real world (as the great Dave Trott says, they are like ‘The Eurovision of Advertising’). Great work simply works better, and is likely to be more successful in the market place. We’ve never been nominated for a Cannes at Gasp, but we really couldn’t be bothered. We had an award-winning Direct Mail campaign for Windlesham Golf Club not so long ago, featuring a video that got some great coverage online, but crucially got our client great results. You can have a little gander here:

In the run up to the Lions, YouTube released details of the most watched videos on their channel for the preceding year. Finishing top of the rankings was this offering from Nike called The Switch, by Wieden+Kennedy.

Featuring Cristiano Ronaldo in the lead, with a whole host of the world’s footie stars in support, this film has humour, good story writing, and is no doubt an inspiration for a load of kids to get out in the park and try and be like Ronnie.

You can’t cut corners when looking to produce something genuinely creative. No doubt there are conversations in many organisations every day along the lines of: ‘we really need a piece of viral content’, or; ‘everyone is on YouTube, let’s just stick up some videos’.

It was assumingly this kind of thought process that led to this amazing piece of video from the Conservative’s general election campaign that went viral, starring the captivating Greg Knight. Although, it went viral for all the wrong reasons.

If Alan Partridge produced political videos.

It’s shockingly shite, but it’s also comedic gold.

We’ve blogged on the larger issue of ‘Content’ Marketing getting well out of control before, and a whole tonne of awful content is perpetually pumped out into the internet. Anyone can do this, from blogs laden with keywords just to attract clicks, to generic corporate videos.

The team at Gasp recently went to see the great ‘Ad Contrarian’, Bob Hoffman speak in London. We could listen to him all day, but one key take away we had ringing in our ears was;

‘Creativity is the only thing of value an agency can offer a client. Everything else they can get somewhere else.’

That’s one of the fundamental reasons Gasp are in existence. We offer clients something a bit different that you probably don’t have.

So, what traits do successful videos have? What do the creatives like us have to produce? They usually have at least one of the following facets: humour, usefulness, beauty, are inspiring or have the shock factor. The Nike film has a couple of these. The Greg Knight video undoubtedly has humour, albeit not intentionally.

I pondered what were some of my most favourite videos, and Rory Sutherland’s talks quickly came to mind. They certainly have 3 of the 5 key video elements; humour, usefulness whilst also being inspiring. This is not to infer that Rory isn’t aesthetically pleasing, nor shocking. If you have some spare time, you should check out some of his videos.

And if you fancy having a chat about Gasp’s video producing chops, then give us a bell. We’ve produced videos for clients as diverse as law firms to trampoline parks.

If the Blogfather’s forthright opinion and pithy wit is to your liking, then click here, and we can keep you connected, if you know what we mean (what we actually mean is that we will send you an email to notify you every time he writes a new one, nothing heavy is going down).

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