Cannes.  Pronounced “can,” like the ones Andy Warhol used to paint. When enunciated incorrectly (i.e. “con,” which stems from “con man”), a derogatory word toward women.  Also a city located on the southern coast of France.

Lions.  One of Africa’s big five game animals.  Reputation for being the king of the jungle, and preying on baby buffalo.  When encased in gold, a prestigious award of the highest honor for ad agencies worldwide.

This past week, Hill Holliday’s top guns flew over to Europe for – hopefully you’ve guessed it by now – the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Poster designed by Katie Schikowski.

Poster designed by Katie Schikowski.

For those unfamiliar, let me provide you with a synopsis.  Essentially, the Cannes Lions is the World Cup of the ad world. Just trade the grass for sand, cleats for sandals, and water for wine, and you’ve got yourself a festival – the biggest ad festival in the world, to be exact. The event runs seven days long, and attracts several thousand delegates from around 100 different countries.

As if I wasn’t already bummed to be missing out on the bomb croissant selection, now I had to step up my tanning game, too?

Back at the agency, we decided to create our own version of Cannes so that we could also attend the festival … without ever setting foot outside of the office.  And, let me tell you, we ate many a croissant in the process (granted they weren’t from France, but they were still flaky as ever). 

Poster designed by Alyssa Fishman.

Poster designed by Alyssa Fishman.

Every day, we live-streamed different seminars taking place at the festival; and, to fuel our competitive side, we participated in an agency-wide contest regarding who could most accurately predict which campaigns would be awarded over the course of the week.  Winner would get bragging rights and a full summer Friday off.

My team is currently in 20th place, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed – it’s never too late for an epic comeback (think Hungary vs. West Germany in the 1954 World Cup final).

Conversations, competitions, and croissants aside, I must admit that my favorite part of the week has been seeing all of the work other agencies have put out into the world.  From Volvo’s viral “Live Tests” films (Forsman & Bodenfors Gothenburg) to Chipotle’s integrated campaign, “The Scarecrow“, (CAA), and Coke-a-Cola’s globally sustainable activation campaign, “2nd Lives”, (Ogilvy & Mather China), it is exciting to see work that continues to surprise, delight, and entertain in a constantly evolving market.

An additional kudos is warranted to Hill Holliday for adding two more lions to our pride, the first being a gold lion in the first ever health awards for The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids “Mind Your Meds”, and a bronze lion in media for Bank of America’s “The First Aids-Free Generation”.

Poster designed by Nico Bovat. *All copy by Megan Machen.

Poster designed by Nico Bovat.
*All copy by Megan Machen.

If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to head to the Cannes Lions website and browse some of the winning work.  Just make sure you stop at the nearest bakery and pick up a pastry or two before you do (Tatte Bakery has some wicked good pistachio croissants).

À la prochaine,


AuthorHill Holliday