To kick off my comments, it’s wonderful to hear that for the first time South Africa has digital judging representation at Cannes. Despite being represented at most other global awards (including One Show, New york festival, Clio awards etc.) our digital community hasn’t cracked the Cannes nod till now. So that’s something to celebrate and is a sign of things to come. And hopefully it’s not too long until the categorisation of digital is a thing of the past – and we can all simply judge good ideas across all mediums.

Meanwhile, it was a pleasure to see some great ideas cutting through this years entry list. Sadly we all know that it takes a certain type of idea to cut through in judging and every award show has it’s style of work that it likes to award. I know that local work often resonates here in SA but fails to do so to an international judge. But here’s hoping that some of the work with a local flavour gets the final nod.



Chicken Licken ‘Everest / Roller Coaster / Wedding Anniversary
(Net#work BBDO) Kicking off in no particular order with Radio; Network’s quirky take on healthy eating for Chicken Licken really grabbed my attention when I first heard it whilst sitting in traffic on the way home from work. I still giggled when I went through the work again today, but more importantly I still connected the brand to the work clearly too.



One School at a Time
(Joe Public) At the opposite end of the humour spectrum, I’m holding thumbs for Joe Public’s worthy and clever use of media, with the ‘One School At A Time’ campaign. An innovative use of consecutive media placements that helps demonstrate the power of learning. A real ‘I wish I’d done that moment’ for me.



Benzac ‘Blackhead Betty
(Jupiter JHB) Finishing off radio with another humorous take on life was Jupiter Joburg’s Benzac campaign – ‘Blackhead Betty’ being my favourite of the 3 spots in this campaign. Simple human stories that I feel confident would resonate with the target audience and raise a laugh, as well as an influence towards their shelves in stores.



Gun free South Africa ‘Car-jacking / Intruder / Robbery
(Y&R South Africa) Onto the print category, Y&R’s Gun Free South Africa campaign had me questioning (in a good way) if I’d seen this treatment before and why I hadn’t seen this before. Powerful messaging, alongside a smart and clever visual treatment, for a serious issue globally and not just locally. The TV side of this campaign didn’t resonate as strongly with me, purely because the simplicity of the print shone so brightly.



Cape Times ‘Guantanamo Bay / Robben Island / Dodo / Dalai Lama / Stephen Biko
(Lowe and Partners, Cape Town) Whilst I’m sure the local stories will resonate more with South Africans, the political spin on the Dalai Lama and Guantanamo Bay stand a strong chance of grabbing the international judges attention at Cannes



Volkswagen ‘Meet Me at the House
(Ogilvy CT) My favourite in the print category was this piece of work by Ogilvy Cape Town for Volkswagen. Look left and right in traffic during rush hour and you’re bound to see a driver texting. Luckily for the preservation of the human race there are heavily enforced laws globally that may make this message have less impact to a judge from the UK for example. But in terms of a message that cleverly and clearly captures a local insight, this stood out for me.



Absa ‘The Marshmallow Test
(Jupiter JHB) Only 1 spot jumped out for me in the film category. This was the ‘Absa Marshmallow Test’. Having worked on many financial brands, I know how deep the issue of saving is in our country – or lack thereof. Saving can be such a dry creative territory, but this piece helped illustrate the issue in an unusually fresh and simple way. On a personal note, and outside the judging criteria, I felt the only downside of this campaign was that it may have done more for the category than for the brand.



Playboy ‘Boobs / Bum / Lips
(Y&R South Africa) I found my top 2 entries, across all categories, from Y&R. The first was entered in the outdoor category. When asking an audience to move from print to online, they used the simple digital language of YouTube, playing cleverly on iconography that stands for movement, but in a static format. Brilliant.



Johannesburg Zoo ‘Anaconda Escalator
(Y&R South Africa) The second was an activation piece for Johannesburg Zoo. I wish I had experienced this escalator for myself, but I can imagine the talkability and tactile nature of this clever media placement. So often we see complex and technical powered activations cutting through, but this really is sooo simple. Yet clearly leaves no doubt as to what it’s communicating.



The Exchange – Organ Donor
(Native VML) This category isn’t complete without mentioning Natives Organ Exchange. I hear the idea was long in the making, so hats off to their tenacity to make it happen. I remember sitting in the audience at Loeries last year and hearing the wows on peoples lips when this came up. Some have criticized it for its lack of ability to scale, but well deserved praise for what I think is a really great idea, one that could happily sit on the global stage.



Audi Exchange
(Ogilvy CT) Leaving digital till last, there are 2 strong pieces from this year that stand out for me. First up is Ogilvy CTs Audi Exchange. More an integrated campaign than a traditional digital piece of work, but then again this is where the ‘sweet spot’ of digital lies right now. With great craft and messaging in all aspects of the production, this campaign moved across many channels and created a hype that’s rarely seen in a digitally led campaign for vehicles.



Johannesburg Zoo ‘Worlds First Tweeting Badger
(FCB JHB / Hello Computer) Rounding off with HCs great work on Joburg’s Zoo with the now famous Tweeting Badger. I see the case study has been re-edited yet again to capture its fullest impact, which will increase its chances at Cannes. As I’ve previously commented before during Creative Circle judging – this brings a healthy and warm edge to what people often see as a clinical category. A great example of digital helping capture human emotion to drive a message. Again not a traditional stand alone digital piece but once more demonstrating where the category is moving and how the lines are blurring.