Our industry needs to focus on meaningful creativity. Allow me to break down why that is so much more important than winning awards.
One of the (expected) key topics coming from Cannes Lions 2022 was talent. And a talent crisis is what we are all living in today. Let’s face it, we are living in an era of talent being everything. For this new generation of talent, awards are not a thing. At least not in the way we know them. This very special and talented new generation of creatives need meaning.
Awards, simply put, are peaks of success. They are just a route to recognition, but they are never an end. They are just a way.
So, why do we still rush at the last minute to come up with a once-in-a-lifetime brilliant stroke of genius that had zero impact on anyone’s life or business, and then proudly stand on a stage receiving accolades for our achievements? Really?
People, stop it. No one buys this egocentric bullshit anymore. Especially our clients. Especially jury rooms. Especially our talent. They couldn’t care less about it. It’s meaningless work for something they don’t believe in.
In a recent survey by MediaMonks, ‘awards’ came in seventh on the list of “what is more meaningful for you as a young creative?”. Seventh. I am saying it again: Seventh.
Awards have become boring because of how predictable and expected the outcome is.
Don’t get me wrong, we want to win awards. Everyone wants it. But we need to redefine awards—not as an end, but as a way for real work to really impact business, brands and culture. Only then we will attract incredible talent, help new-age companies to get noticed and develop a creative reputation based on powerful narratives. If we don’t redefine what it means to win awards, then who actually cares? Not our talented people.
Fortunately, this year in Cannes, we can already see the change happening right in front of us and industry leaders are joining in this discussion around meaning and awards.
The most awarded work at Cannes, without exception, had a meaning, a purpose, they moved culture and impacted the world for the better. Eight Grand Prix, and almost every Gold Lion, won in categories that are usually driven by their products and, instead, were won by profound themes in our society. From gender equality to democracy threats, to sustainability or disability stereotypes.
While our industry continues to be disrupted by the ‘speed of feed’, with short, automated hygiene content gaining even more traction through technology, the ‘speed of upload’ will improve the experience between people and content. Web3 and virtualisation will encourage new behaviours, demanding brands to be up to speed and tell more immersive stories across channels. This allows creatives to expand the boundaries of storytelling with innovation and imagination and gives a whole new meaning, and platform, to our products
Yes, our creativity is a business product. It is also full of purpose and intention. A beautifully crafted one. It needs to deliver impact. Impactful results are the creative currency of the future, not how many awards you’ve won with ideas that no one saw. That will get you a job, that care and search for meaning is what we all should look for in a portfolio, not how many awards the work had.
Our work is being redefined, so we need to redefine for our talent what it means to win awards. We need to reimagine our winning ideas as ‘new products’. This reinvents who does the work and how that work is done because the future of creativity in marketing, is not solutions for marketing, but human crafted experiences with a positive impact on culture.
This approach will bring awards but, more importantly, it will inspire an entirely new generation of creatives and generate meaningful creativity.