Adweek has released the Cannes “best ad” reel for the year, and the ads chosen as winners are all very interesting, in my opinion, but what sticks out to me are a few common (alliterated) themes:

1. Time: The majority of the ads are 2 minutes long, meaning a few things.  First, it explains why I haven’t seen them as frequently, because those things cost 4X as much to air taking up almost a full commercial break.  Still, being this long is a double edge sword, the audience will either be immediately drawn in, or pushed away with enough time to pop a bag of popcorn.  These ads clearly have mastered the time element, and have made up for Chrystler’s Detroit debacle last year.

2. Transcending: Since these ads are so long, they need to tell a story, and that is exactly what they do.  They spread a message that not only tells a story, but transcends linguistic barriers through music and universal actions.  This is the direction that advertising is taking, it is becoming more like art and less like selling a product.  Much like an abstract painting, it is simply understood, no words or huge branding is needed.

3. Timeless: The Cannes Gold Lion awards share a universal message that isn’t dated.  The love of a mother, caring for your world, etc.  These are all messages that are important in today’s culture, but won’t grow stale.

Bravo advertising, bravo.


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