The story of Cannes Lions 2013 is South America's dominance. Argentina, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Brazil have been making headlines at this year's awards. As a block, they are currently beating Europe, and may be just trailing the US. This is big coming from these Spanish-speaking countries.
For one, they are culturally rooted. Take the No Name entry from Paraguay. Unregistered births are a common problem across many developing countries (including India). In India too we have done campaigns asking citizens to record every birth; however, the way Paraguay's campaign linked birth registry to the iconic football game is a true reflection of popular culture. The Organ Donation/Immortal Fans campaign from Brazil is a reflection of how popular culture can be leveraged to find simple rooted solutions. My Blood is Red and Black, the blood donation campaign, is brilliant, and I kept thinking how come our IPL teams never considered doing something like this? Why did they not take the women safety issue and make it a part of the game?
Secondly, they have been bold in pushing the boundary. The Dove Real Beauty campaign is now fairly well established, but to come up with a new insight and push the execution into multiple areas, in almost a social media way, is really bold and clever. When you say 96 per cent of women don't feel that they are more beautiful than you think and the way they executed it made it stand out.
Thirdly, and this possibly is the biggest reason for their success, the scale at which they mount the campaign. They have been very crafty in merging the social conversations with the brand speak, and hinged it to popular culture. This is what lifts a campaign, creates more engagement opportunities, makes it work better, and in this case, specifically for awards, gives it greater opportunities to win.
The Cannes Lions this year is possibly for the first time looking at campaigns that have been produced with the net savvy, social media savvy audience. I believe the future of consumerism is in merging social responsibility with brand responsibility. The social media savvy audience does not just want to engage with a brand, it wants to talk about it, and this is what I call 'Sociomerism'. Some of the award winning campaigns from LatAm blocks is aimed at the 'Sociomers'. That is a strong reason why the campaigns are getting picked up and winning awards.
There is a fourth reason, and that is the linguistic unity of the whole continent. The English-speaking world has had this unity for a while; the Latin Americans have played the same game, and played it very smartly. They understand the cultural nuances of each other's work. They know what they have done and what others have done in their continent. They take up each other's cause and put up a fight for it. They have leveraged strength, a strength that cannot be leveraged by Asia. Asia has no linguistic unity.
Therein lies the tale of rise of Brazil and Argentina and Costa Rica and Paraguay and Puerto Rico. They play short passes with fluidity and score big goals. They are like the game of football they play so well.
(Naresh Gupta is managing partner and chief strategy officer, Bang in the Middle)