Cannes 2014: H+K London's chief creative officer Simon Shaw picks his highlights

When I sat on the PR jury at Cannes back in 2010, much time was spent debating what was PR and what wasn't.

Simon Shaw
Simon Shaw

At the time it seemed like a valid debate; the PR Lions were only in their second year. How were we to judge the entries at the newly named Festival of Creativity? Should advertising agencies be even allowed to enter ‘our’ awards?

Today it seems that debate continues. Sitting in the 2014 awards ceremony you have to ask how far we have moved on.

My belief is we should not restrict the PR Lions to our own profession but use them to identify the best work, wherever it comes from, and not worry about crossing boundaries and jumping disciplines. We can be sure our audience does not play by these rules.

So what won? For me highlights in the Gold Lions were the ‘This is Wholesome’ Honey Maid campaign; a brave campaign that really comes alive after the brand engages with negative comments on social media (a real-time ‘newsroom’ approach that was seen in a number of campaigns).

The ‘Fading News’ campaign for Radikal, a Turkish newspaper, also won a gold. It is about changing proposed censorship laws and was always going to be a winner, delivering real and tangible impact in the public affairs and lobbying category.

The Grand Prix was won by ‘The Scarecrow’ campaign for the Chipotle Mexican Grill.

As I watched the movie on YouTube (where it has 12,822,299 views and counting) last night I read the first consumer comment ‘outstanding commercial’… and I am sure it will be one of the big winners at Cannes, so congratulations to the CAA/Edelman team. Although there is more to this than just the film we need to be aware of nibbling at the edges of others' big ideas and we need to conceive our own.

There is always a Cannes ‘tear jerker’ in there somewhere and for me this year the award has to go to ‘Dad’s Pregnant Too’ for Huggies by Ogilvy & Mather in Buenos Aires… that kick is gonna’ hurt!

Simon Shaw is the chief creative officer at Hill+Knowlton Strategies London

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