“Look up and give a shit.”
Bruno Bertelli, this year’s jury president for Outdoor, gave us his criteria for great outdoor creative before we started our work in the jury room. Great outdoor creative should do two things, he told us. It should make you look up. And it should make you give a shit. And I think that is a very succinct and powerful way to assess all your outdoor work.
Our two Grand Prix this year are perfect examples of this standard.
We gave the Grand Prix for traditional outdoor to a huge, iconic Twitter campaign, created by Twitter’s in-house creative team. It is work that is beautiful and simple. And the art direction is masterful—the relevance of the topics, the perfect selection of images, and the perfect compositions incorporating the hashtags.
The work gets better the bigger it becomes. It makes you look up and take notice. And the timeliness and emotional intensity of the trending topics makes you give a shit. It is just a big, beautiful brand-building campaign for Twitter.
No one wants to work to understand your outdoor creative. You have just seconds of anyone’s attention. The work must telegraph its message quickly and make some kind of meaningful, ideally emotional, connection.
For non-traditional outdoor, we awarded the Grand Prix to Fearless Girl, which is winning everything, everywhere, but which is, at its heart, a stunning piece of out-of-home work.
How do you promote a new financial fund that is made up of companies with more female leadership? McCann’s genius idea was to create Fearless Girl—a beautifully crafted statue of a confident girl perfectly positioned to take on the quintessential icon of male privilege in the financial world, the bull statue down on Wall Street (whose testicles, by the way, are rubbed so often by tourists that they shine).
The image speaks for itself, tapping into the whole cultural conversation of female empowerment and becoming a popular new landmark in New York City. How often does advertising create landmarks?
Fearless Girl makes you look up and give a shit.
So you need to ask yourself, what cultural truth is your outdoor work tapping into? Will it make busy people who are addicted to their screens look up? And after they look up, will they give a shit?
If all outdoor work aspires to this creative standard then of course the category has a bright and powerful future ahead.
Tim Doherty is chief creative officer of Isobar Asia Pacific and was part of the Outdoor Jury at Cannes Lions 2017.