The first Cannes winner?


Ok, so the Lascaux cave paintings, a few hundred miles away to the Southwest in Dordogne were never entered into the Cannes competition.

But I think this Upper Paleolithic art is a good analogy as to what is happening to us in advertising right now.

The paintings are one of the earliest expressions of creativity using a new technology innovation to communicate ideas and then becoming the ‘medium’ everyone was paying attention to (provided one had a cave of course).

Jump forward 15,000 years or so and we have the arrival of the printing press, which then becomes the dominant medium everyone was paying attention to. Jump forward again to round about the time an advertising industry came into being and naturally print is the dominant, if not the only medium.

This is an example of a press advert from the 1890s, I like the way it works like a web page with lots of information and choices available.


The TV commercial has become the dominate media in which brand ideas are expressed and communicated, and rightly so, because this has been the medium consumers have been paying immediate connection with consumers.

Campaign did a recent feature about the top 10 adverts that changed advertising. For example the classic McCann ad “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” released in 1971 created a lasting, albeit not immediate connection with consumers.


The thing is, that the epicenter for the ads that changed advertising was the early 1980s. The only ad from the 1990s being Hello Boys and from the Naughties, BMW films, neither of which were TV commercials anyway.

So are we saying that there has not been a TV advertising idea that has changed advertising since the 1980s? Apparently so.

Look at it another way, take a great advert from Cannes today, drop it in the 1980s and that might well be considered an advert to change advertising. But that is not going to happen, this particular game is over.

The issue at hand is that continuing to define advertising ideas in the technology or ‘the medium’ that people used to pay most attention towards, the 30 second TVC, will damage client’s brands and businesses.

In the Age of Participation we have to create brand ideas and experiences that work in the technologies and properties consumers are now paying attention to whether that be mobile, Internet, Facebook, MySpace or whatever is coming next.

Advertising has always followed the technology that consumers pay the most attention to.

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