Awards shows in general have been thrown for a loop by the internet. Let’s face it, their principle raison d’etre was aggregation.
They used to offer the advertising community the chance to see the see the best the world had produced in the previous year.
Usually in a book. Or a VHS. Or a DVD.
That’s their DNA. Judging the best and producing some form of annual collection so we could all get an overview of that year’s creative output.
So they served a valuable need.
Then along came the internet.
And the award shows were caught like deer in the headlights.
Only slowly realizing that the need to aggregate creativity was blown away by the fact that if an idea is any good I’m to to hear about it online the next day.
Ideas are no longer as easy to judge either. It’s no longer :30 spot vs :30 spot.
And online entries frequently don’t have the crowd pleasing emotion that film has. Part of the fun of the final night is hearing the instant audience reaction in the Palais.
And I don’t need a group of ad execs to tell me if an idea is any good anymore.
The most viral ideas are the big winners. The public are now the judges.
But awards shows like Cannes are money-making entities.
So what do they do? The obviously smart thing.
Turn the awards show into a “festival of creativity” and create many more categories so many more people can enter at a grand a pop.
Which is fine. Up to a point.
At a certain point the sheer number of categories and awards reaches diminishing returns.
The awards lose their cachet.
And cachet is what used to make Cannes special. it was their product.
It was the world championship of advertising. The one we all agreed on because it was easy to agree on it.
But if they’re not careful, they’re in danger of becoming yet another trade show in a rather tacky seaside town.
(I was going to show you the winning idea at Cannes this year but i’m not really sure what the winner is. QED)