Project Description

Cannes Lions winners

October 2021

Creative Corner

Clare Russell
Clare RussellCreative Director B2B

What more cannes you be doing?

We live and breathe B2B campaigns; they are our bread and butter. From social assets to sales decks and white papers, we are dedicated to always finding new, compelling ways to tell our clients’, often very complicated, stories.

But how do we raise our head above the daily parapet of content creation and make something truly standout? How do we create something that is going to stop people in their tracks and make them think differently about a B2B brand?

Well for starters, we can take some learnings from this year’s Cannes Lions winners. Look through the entries to Cannes – arguably the world’s most highly-regarded festival of advertising creativity – and one thing is clear. A sexy video or clever headline is not enough: B2B marketing needs to work harder. We need to dig deeper, plan further and actually take some action (the sexy video and clever headline can follow afterwards). And with that in mind, here are some phenomenal brands that are doing just that…

Lesson 1: Know your audience

Santander (Brazil) showed what a fantastic companion they were for small businesses by investing their marketing budget in low-income female entrepreneurs. They showed their support for women on International Women’s Day – not with a cliched, token female empowerment ad but through genuine investment. They positioned themselves as a trustworthy brand to work with by inherently communicating they can support any business. And guess what? It really worked– 100,000 women joined Santander Ela on the launch day. (Bronze Lion winner – well done!)

Lesson 2: Think big

Then, there was Three – who built an island. Well, ok, not quite – but they did endeavour to transform Arranmore, a small island off the coast of Ireland, into a connected island. Due to Arranmore’s size and outdated behaviours, it’s population was sadly dwindling, so Three decided to help attract newcomers by improving its connectivity. Ambitious, for sure, and a brilliant creative case study with a very human way of telling a complex connectivity story. (Well-deserved Gold and Bronze wins at Cannes. BRAVO)

Lesson 3: Do something different

My final choice of inspiring examples is from equipment provider, United Rental, with their idea for a ‘digital toolbelt’. The company’s customers were used to analogue ways of working but this idea put them in control of a digital fleet of vehicles they could not see. It enabled the customers to manage their fleets more efficiently and economically; everyone’s a winner. (Bronze Lion – wahoo!) 

Video link (membership required) –

What these three ideas have in common is ambition. The desire to do something out of the ordinary and solve a genuine problem at the same time. Not one of these ideas would have happened quickly, just the idea alone would have taken months to conceive and sell in, then with the design, investment, implementation and outcomes… you are looking at a good year.

The point I am trying to make is more B2B brands need to realise their brilliance and the difference they can make to their customers – and even wider society – if they allow us to think bigger for them. Each of these ideas sells much more than one product, it sells many services whilst elevating the position of the brands.

The moral of the story is we need more time (not to just think but to execute bigger ideas) and more ambition to get B2B making a real difference. The kind of investment needed will require marketing teams to come together and share their money pots for the greater good as the outcome will surely benefit them all.

Oh, and I know I said a sexy film is not enough – although I did say it could follow after. Shout out to this little beauty for Adobe that bagged a Cannes Silver this year for visual effects. It is beautifully executed and demonstrates the product perfectly. Oh Adobe, how we love you….

Want to know more about being bolder in B2B? Try these:

Creativity in B2B and Watch the video, we dare you…

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