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How do ad agencies win a Cannes Lion award?

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As the Cannes Lions Festival is wrapping up this week, we’re seeing the annual breathless, self-congratulatory statements coming out of agencies with photos of their awards and sun-tanned creative teams sipping champagne.

Cannes Lions
Thanks for the trip to the south of France, clients!
We’d like to thank the little people who made this possible.

They should feel proud. They’ve achieved a huge accomplishment that has been the recognized stamp of credibility for advertising creativity since 1954.

How do agencies win at the Cannes Lions festival?

When I worked at the big ad agencies, I was often shocked at how they used clients’ budgets for the purpose of winning awards and self-promotion.

I’ve seen ad agency executives planning how to maximize their billings for minimal work and use their clients’ budgets to submit campaigns for awards.

I vividly remember, shortly before I walked away from my ad agency career, being part of a team that created a poster to promote a lightbulb.

It involved an elaborate set rental, professional photography shoot, intensive image editing, and ultimately cost the client $17,000. For a poster.

It did nothing to communicate the benefits of the lightbulb for consumers. And there was not a single conversation at the agency about how we should measure results, or even what the goal was for the poster.

Was it a failed poster campaign?

It certainly didn’t achieve the goals in the official creative brief.

But, it did win a prestigious award for that agency and the creative director.

It was certainly a clever (if not esoteric) concept with beautiful, subtle photography, but it was entirely useless as an ad.

I watched as the client contacts turned a blind eye to the waste, knowing that they would be repaid with lavish expense account dinners in exchange for handing over their company’s cash.

CMOs are turning against award-obsessed agencies

That’s why today’s CMO’s are rejecting traditional award-seeking agencies. They know those agencies don’t care about their clients. Much less their clients’ customers.

Today’s CMOs know award-seeking agencies don’t care about their clients. Much less their clients’ customers.

They know that too-clever ads often don’t achieve results. Their digital transformation is changing their priorities. Data-informed ad campaigns are now revealing how ineffective the old gut-feeling approach can be.

They are seeking alternatives, and finding them in the Zen Marketing approach that balances intuition with data, big ideas with bold experiments, inspiration with rigorous validation.

The alternative to cleverness is customer insights that are validated by robust data.

The alternative to awards for cleverness is measurable results lift.

I firmly believe that creativity is still required for advertising. And a rigorous experimentation program is enabling today’s marketing innovation.

I’m reminded again, in this Cannes Lions Festival season, of why I started WiderFunnel to be the “anti-agency.” And again, why we will never make a recommendation if we haven’t tested its ability to lift the client’s revenue.

So, the next time you’re in an agency pitch where they’re bragging about their awards, don’t walk; run away from hiring them. They’re telling you they don’t care about you.

Why we will never win a Cannes Lion award

Short answer: Because we will never submit for one.

The post How do ad agencies win a Cannes Lion award? appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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How do ad agencies win a Cannes Lion award?

50 Examples Of Stellar Use Of Light, Shadow And Texture To Kick Start Your Inspiration

Many people find it difficult to get their minds back into work after a holiday season filled with love, food, and friends. May 2017 bring you a healthy and inspiring adventure. As for that kick-start inspiration, I hope this article will help get you back in the creative mindset.
Let’s begin!
Further Reading on SmashingMag: Inspiring Illustrations With Plenty Of Bright Colors Colorful Inspiration For Gray Days How To Create A Water Lily In Illustrator Anglepoise This is just genius!

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50 Examples Of Stellar Use Of Light, Shadow And Texture To Kick Start Your Inspiration

Spotify Playlists To Fuel Your Coding And Design Sessions

Some like it loud, others need some steady beats to stay focused, others calm tunes. A while ago we asked on Twitter and Facebook what music the web community is listening to when coding and designing.
The answers were as diverse as the community itself and certainly too good to live an existence only in a Twitter discussion. That’s why we’ve compiled those hand-crafted spotify playlists, favorite artists, and loved soundtracks in this article to see which tunes fuel the web.

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Spotify Playlists To Fuel Your Coding And Design Sessions

Breaking Out Of The Box: Design Inspiration (August 2016)

How about trying a very different drawing technique or illustration style for your next project? Maybe a weird geometric shape? Or a more abstract form? Or a retro-futuristic color scheme? Not sure about you, but holiday or no holiday, my need for some fresh inspiration never stops.
This month, I’ve continued my journey in search for some inspiring and beautiful artwork — and I’ve found some real treasures! As a designer, I feel that there is so much that I can learn from the techniques and color combinations in these little gems.

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Breaking Out Of The Box: Design Inspiration (August 2016)

Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: October 2012

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one—desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for over four years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: October 2012

Hands-On Experience: The Rehabilitation Of The Script

Serifs, sans serifs and… scripts. In theory not a bad typographic palette to play with, but when it comes to practice, the options are always far fewer. [Links checked March/10/2017]
One member of that stylistic trio could never quite punch its weight. But over the last few years we have seen something of a rebirth and revitalization of scripts, a category that once represented a care home for the typographically underemployed.

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Hands-On Experience: The Rehabilitation Of The Script

Weird And Wonderful Typography – Yet Still Illegible

First a question (or perhaps a Freudian jab at your subconscious): What does this shape represent?
Could it be a trowel, a duck, an ornamental motif, or a seed-pod? I know, Aladdin’s Lamp! What if I told you it was an alphabetic character? What alphabet would you assign to it? Cham? Telugu? Perhaps it has the cursive quality of South Asian letterforms, created on bamboo strips (or palm leaves) and written with the pen held in one’s fist… doesn’t it?

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Weird And Wonderful Typography – Yet Still Illegible

50 Beautiful and Creative Blog Designs

The most recent collection of creative blog designs was featured here on Smashing Magazine back in July. Only three months have passed and we’ve got a new dose of inspiration for you. Beautiful and sophisticated designs are constantly appearing on the Web; creative activity is in non-stop mode, despite global economic shocks and unfortunate events; and this is surely a positive sign.
Today, we showcase 50 fresh, beautiful, inventive and, hopefully, inspiring blog designs.

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50 Beautiful and Creative Blog Designs

35 Examples Of Beautiful City Photography

More people across the world are living in cities than ever before. Cities are both places of historical significance and the engines of the world’s economy. They’re also home to some of the greatest treasures and buildings that mankind has created. Cities are wonderful subjects for photography. They offer a variety of subjects suitable for both straight and HDR photography, including architectural, street and night photography. The structure, angles and texture you get with architectural photography make it unique and very engaging.

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35 Examples Of Beautiful City Photography

Beautiful Black and White Photography

If you’ve been following Smashing Magazine for a while, you know that almost all posts from the Monday Inspiration series are pretty colorful and eye-catching. This post is an exception. Compared to colorful designs where catchy colors help the design to stand out, in black-and-white designs the ability to stand out depends only on its ability to communicate rather than on its appealing visual presentation.
Indeed, beautiful black and white photography doesn’t attract with its play of colors.

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Beautiful Black and White Photography