Brainfood from the 2014 Cannes Lions PR entries. Call it a trend, call it inspiration, how could you barter with your audience?

Guest blog post by Claire Bridges, Founder, Now Go Create

Reading all the tweets, blogs and media around Cannes it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the inspiration and information on offer. Trying to wade through all the big data I offer my ‘small data’ – things I have noticed from some of entries at this year’s PR Lions. Whether you’d go so far as to call them trends or not I don’t know but here are some observations. Creating currency, social experiments, taking a stand, hijacking a moment and of course storytelling were all noticeable in the campaign entries. The storytelling is becoming more and more visual as many of the winning and shortlisted campaigns demonstrated – The Autocomplete Truth for UN Women, Volvo Epic Split and Rice-Code to name a few as well as the adidas and Hair Fest campaigns noted below. The full winners list can be seen here. What I also observed from many of the campaigns is that digital & social makes every good creative campaign global now whether that’s the intention or not and I think that’s interesting for brands because it changes the context of the idea, and for ideas in general as it challenges what is new.


Delving deeper into the creating currency theme – this started several years ago with campaigns including Orange’s RockCorps ‘give, get given’ idea – volunteer 4 hours of your time and earn a ticket to a gig. I noted 7 entries from 7 different countries across categories including not for profit, sports and retail and education using this theme and I’m sure there are many more in other categories. Whilst many of the elements are not new the trend abounds. It is about barter, involvement, collaboration and creating value out of elements of your brand or offer.


Silver Lions Winners


The Silver Lions winner in the event category by TBWA London for adidas D Rose Jump Store asked kids in Hackney to show their basketball skills and jump like NBA player Derrick Rose to receive a pair of new sneakers in a simple and clever execution  Having worked for adidas and Speedo in my career, this also cleverly used the ‘2-hour sports talent window’ that you get for PR in a truly impactful way.


A campaign that I personally loved that also won a Silver Lion in Event is the Hair Fest from Ogilvy and Mather Mexico for a cancer charity Casa De La Amistad, using a variation on theme of the Orange Rockcorps, using currency to appeal to a whole new audience for fundraising – heavy metal fans – give at least 25cm of your hair to make a wig for a child with cancer. Now these guys love their hair making the sacrifice for a ticket to a gig even more impactful.


Shortlist entries


The Exchange was a cashless pop-up store for the Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa where you ‘bought’ an item by becoming an organ donor. In terms of the insight behind the campaign I wonder whether the level of consideration for such a serious issue would have been met by the fashion link and immediacy of the purchase/swap but it is an interesting way to talk about a difficult subject and garnered much attention.


The Unicef Tap Project is a challenge – give your time & donate money by not using your mobile phone for 10 minutes at a time via an app. It is the work of the creatively on-fire Droga 5 agency in NY who were also behind the Gold winning Honeymaid This Is Wholesome and Silver If We Made It for Heineken campaigns.


Pay Per Laugh for the Teatre Neu Theatre in Spain was a response to the Spanish authorities raising the tax on theatre tickets from 8-21% which heavily impacted sales. The pay per laugh theatre invited theatre-goers to only pay for what they enjoyed using facial recognition technology.


The Message Barter Akanksha Foundation campaign for a kids NGO used children in a humorous and cheeky way to engage with high profile influencers and celebrities in India – they publicly declared their support with home-made clips in exchange for social media awareness of their issue to great effect  This also tapped into the theme of experiment which is prevalent this year too.


In the Mindrive Social Fuel education campaign from the US the currency is a tweet to get an electric car moving across America to raise awareness and get it to Washington meet with legislators to talk about education. This is not new but was well executed and incorporated new technologies.


The Marc Jacobs Daisy Tweet shop was not featured in the short list but is a well-known campaign from this year – pay for handbags with a tweet.

Ways you could apply this to your company or brand would be to play with your audience:

  • Challenge me
  • Dare me
  • Tempt me
  • Involve me
  • Inspire me

…and think about what you have to offer that you could barter. Call it a trend, call it inspiration, think about how you might collaborate and co-create with your audience.



Claire Bridges is the Founder of Creative Consultancy Now Go Create, Judge at this year’s Cannes Lions PR Jury. Claire is an ex-WPP Consumer MD with 20 years PR experience. We demystify creativity & fear of the blank page via creative training courses for business Twitter @nowgocreate, or link up with Claire at Google+

Claire is also a PRCA trainer, and runs the online “Unleash your inner creative” training webinars for PRCA and ICCO members.