Leaders

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Cannes Lions shines a light on subpar employees

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The Cannes Lions is taking a rather unconventional approach this year with its own ad campaign called “Invest in Creativity,” which features print ads and online videos created by McCann London. The tongue-in-cheek message behind the campaign is that employers should consider sending their worst performing members of staff to this year's festival, thinking of it as an “Investment in creativity.” As the campaign points out; it's cheaper to send them to Cannes than to offer them severance, and it might just ignite a fuse in them.

Bridget the Account Director

The campaign launched yesterday, and will run until the festival opens on June 21. The ads and their corresponding videos were all shot by photographer Dan Burn-Forti and written by Jess Mallett and Mike Oughton, with art direction from Carl Rapp. Characters used in the campaign range from a lacklustre VP of Marketing to a washed-up producer. It's a clever and remarkably self-deprecating concept, which should at the very least inspire conversation, and at the very most, spark a few knowing laughs.

Samuel the Producer

The campaign marks the second year of the festival's relationship with McCann, which also handled press duties for the campaign. Rob Doubal, co-president and chief creative officer of McCann London, said that although the campaign is humorous, “It makes a very sensible point; Why should being a Cannes Lions delegate be the preserve of the already excellent?” He argues that “If we really want a more creative world, as we all profess, we should also be encouraging the not-so-excellent performers to be inspired by Cannes Lions.”

Igor and Hannah the Creative Team

Senta Slingerland, Cannes Lions director of brand strategy, adds that they wanted “To stress the point that not looking after your talent is a much more expensive exercise than developing it,” and to underline the point that “Investing in creativity will drive your business forward, and coming to Cannes is the perfect way to do that.”

Nisha the Strategist

Alongside the campaign, the festival is running a competition that asks user to submit a short video detailing why they think they deserve to be a delegate at this year's festival, not by showing how good they are at their jobs, but rather how bad they are instead. The entrants are obviously expected to display a modicum of comedic wit, as nobody would openly advertise their own imperfections to their peers. Would they? Either way, winning entrants will receive free delegate passes to Cannes Lions.

Jean-Pierre the VP of Marketing

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK.

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