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Matt Williams: Women buyers do agree with Cannes Lions judges – some of the time

Posted by: Matt Williams via MAA

The Cannes Lions festival really is the most remarkable showpiece. It provides headlines, controversy, jealousy and a healthy bout of scepticism that reached peak levels this year.

Whether the week is a flagbearer for inspiration and creativity or an excuse for a piss-up and an ego-trip I’ll leave up to you. Though when you do, maybe note that Helen Kimber’s ‘a headhunter’s guide to boost your career at the Cannes Lions’ was consistently one of More About Advertising’s most popular posts during the event.

Yet there are always diamonds in the rough. And whilst another one of this site’s columnists Jane Austin superbly summed up the cheek and bluster of the festival talks during her daily diary, she also picked up on one quote that I really hope the industry doesn’t brush aside as ambivalently as they do a Colombe d’Or expense receipt.

It came from the mouth of Richard Brim, Adam&eveDDB CCO and the man with perhaps the scariest job in advertising: the guardian of this year’s John Lewis Christmas ad.

Talking about the pressure behind said ad, Brim spoke not of being worried how the work would be perceived at places like Cannes, but the terror he has when hearing reactions from the public immediately after it airs. “The industry you can disagree with, the public you cannot.”

It’s a comment you wish more during Cannes would take note of. Hell, it’s a comment you wish more creative departments would take note of throughout the whole year.

And it’s why a team from Partners Andrews Aldridge spent this year’s Cannes week at our 60 Great Portland Street offices rather than on the Cote d’Azur. Not in some sort of stroppy protest – many of the positives of Cannes still far outweigh the negatives and we were represented out there by those necessary. But we stayed back because we wanted to take a different look at the Cannes Lions winners.

We knew which campaigns resonated with the industry, but how did they resonate with actual customers?

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