afaqs!

Cannes 2012: Honesty, provocative relationship and good work - the secret elements to a successful campaign

By , Seminars, Cannes | In Advertising | June 23, 2012
On the fifth day of the 59th International Festival of Creativity, Sir John Hegarty, worldwide creative director and Dan Wieden, co-founder and global executive creative director, Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) discussed about the elements that make a campaign successful. Their topic was '30 years of creative chaos'.

What are the reasons behind a successful commercial - is it the craft, the execution or great story telling, and what has made campaigns stand out over decades? On the fifth day of the 59th International Festival of Creativity, Sir John Hegarty, worldwide creative director and Dan Wieden, co-founder and global executive creative director, Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) discussed the elements that make a campaign successful, while speaking on the topic, '30 years of creative chaos'.

Cannes 2012

The session was facilitated by Atifa Silk, editorial director, Campaign Asia-Pacific.

Silk started the session by talking about Nike's long term association with W+K, and how over the years the sports brand has worked with the agency, trusting and believing in its every work. To this, Wieden said, "Nike is a very different client as the company does not believe in airing one TVC several times. Interestingly, the company also does not believe in advertising, it believes in creating an experience. When I came to know about this, I enquired about this quite unique approach. The company representative replied, 'You never write the same letter twice, then why the same spot?'"

Nike

Levi's

Old Spice

Microsoft XBOX

The Guardian

Agreeing with him, Sir Hegarty cited the example of the Nike commercial featuring golfer Tiger Woods. He said, "In order to break away from the usual and to create something unusual, a brand has to be constantly brave. A brave brand will be ready to take risks, and will further allow the agency to create unusual and interesting campaigns."

Sir Hegarty next talked about the 'Go forth' TVC for Levis by W+K, called 'America's challenging time'. "There are times when due to the scale, it becomes difficult to use one language to unify different countries with different dialects. In such situations, one needs to conceptualise one single idea, which will bring everybody to a common platform," he remarked.

Silk then asked them how the foundation client has overpowered the agency's business.

According to Wieden, in case of W+K, Nike was the only visible client for a long time and while the agency had the business of a small radio station from Portland, the fact is that its survival was mainly dependent on one client; this made the agency uncomfortable. So, while foundation clients are important for any agency, there is also a need to branch out.

Next, speaking on the power of creativity, Sir Hegarty elaborated, "Advertising is 80 per cent idea and 20 per cent execution - and we live in a world of YouTube - where everyone can make everything, so it is important to be both perfect in detailing and in storytelling."

Adding to his view point, Wieden said, "Emotions need to be depicted in the right form and it is not necessary that one always has to go the social media way to depict emotions. Rather, telling simple stories with great emotions can move the consumers."

Sir Hegarty discussed the campaign called 'Dean Savage' for Google Chrome, and how it turned a brand which is usually perceived to be unemotional to emotional. He added, "Do your job right and in that process, add some value to life."

Sir Hegarty next focused on the importance of motivation. "In this industry, one gets motivated via competition's work. The 'Old Spice' ad is a spectacular example of good work and when I watched it I felt jealous. However, two minutes later, I was determined to do better work for Axe. Therefore, in order to do great work, we need competition to succeed, as then at that time even clients fuel up, which further motivates to create good work," he noted.

Wieden next provided the example of the Xbox commercial and stated that clients should trust agencies and agencies, on the their part, keep pushing, enabling the client to take a leap and once that happens, the agency gets ample opportunities to create extraordinary work.

Taking the example of the commercial for the UK-based newspaper, The Guardian, Sir Hegarty said, "It is all about the art of storytelling and we should master how to tell the simplest of the stories in the most interesting way."

At the end, Wieden added that storytelling should be honest and should have emotional essence, so much so that it should also be provocative.

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