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Cannes Contenders: DDB Digs Deep on the Work Ahead of Cannes



Leaders from around the network discuss the work, the trends they expect to see next week and the role of award shows

Cannes Contenders: DDB Digs Deep on the Work Ahead of Cannes
For DDB’s Cannes Contenders, we’re delving into five ideas that the team has discussed in depth in their new DDB Talks series on Youtube. For the episode, Diana Sukopp (DDB Germany CCO), Lindsay Bennett (DDB global head of marketing), Juan Carlos Ortiz (DDB Latina president and CEO), Ari Weiss (DDB Global CCO), Gary Steele, (DDB New Zealand ECD), Britt Nolan (DDB North America CCO) and Rick Brim (adam&eveDDB CCO) get together. 

In terms of what they’re hoping to see next week, Juan Carlos Ortiz says: “I want to celebrate ideas. That’s what I want to do, I think that it is very important for our industry, for our people, for our creatives. What is my dream? I want DDB to be number one. That’s exactly what we want to do.”

Thinking about what the winning work might tell us, Britt Nolan ponders the balance of fun versus purpose, particularly after a year and a half of Covid-19.

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like humour usually plays hugely well, it seems that way from some of the shows we’ve already seen this year. It’s been overwhelmingly purpose-led or the work that has been winning has some sort of deeper societal impact, which has been the case for the last several years but seems even more pronounced this year. I guess that’s appropriate for the where the world is. What’s unusual about this year is that it feels like it’s transcended our industry, in that everything has a meaning, and everyone is really engaged and impacting society in some way… I’m excited to see what the juries reward.”

Richard Brim has his eye out for some playfulness. “I was asked the questions of what do you want to see? And my response was, I just want to see a bit more fucking nonsense… I want to see stupid stuff. Purpose is great and purpose has a role, but purpose is not everything we do.”

After a year and a half of Covid-19, the industry is pondering the role of award shows generally. For Ari Weiss, they still have an important function. “I think the harder answer is a bit more nuanced. We need some sort of mirror to hold up. As an industry, as I think several people have touched upon, we need that bar to be set. We need to compete against each other. We need to have these rivalries; we need to get excited. We need to be scared. We need to be motivated.

Folha de S.Paulo Newspaper The Most Valuable News 


Juan Carlos Ortiz reflects on what makes this project, which reinforces the value of trusted new sources by printing a newspaper like it was money.

“When we sold this idea for the first time, just the seed of the idea, it got unanimous voting. Everyone said, wow, what a beautiful idea. And then that idea, that is a tremendous powerful idea about making fake news part of the culture and how to connect fake news back to a newspaper that is trying to put value back in the news. So, we created this newspaper as if we were printing money, but this time it was a newspaper. We followed all the processes you would for printing money while printing the newspaper. Ultra-violet, with all the security systems and it was great. But this idea has something that is very important – the crafting. It’s perfect, it’s beautiful. The design, the details. It’s very, very, very, very, [much] the Brazilian way, getting every detail in place. It’s a printing culture.”

Reporters Without Borders: The Uncensored Library

DDB Group Germany

The Uncensored Library was devised as a way to both circumvent digital firewalls that enable press censorship and to reach young people and alert them to the importance of the free press. The library, built in Minecraft, hosted important books and articles, free of censorship. 

Says Diana Sukopp: “I think the results in the case film already give you an idea how massive this was. I think we were lucky was that people couldn't go anywhere… We just hit it off with I think 2.7 billion media reach which in in the first weeks, which is 790 articles… But the more incredible results is when you really look into what has it been for the client, what was really in the end their value out of it, and they had 62% donation increase… Now, this is something that universities have in their programmes, and schools. The team is doing tours with school classes inside the library, leading them through and teach them about press censorship. And I think the most incredible result is that it's still growing. So, it's not only that we still get clicks on the website and donations are increasing. We open up two new rooms in March this year, Brazil and Belarus so that is also an incredible result.”

New Zealand Aids Foundation: The Baby That Changed HIV

DDB Group New Zealand

When it comes to impact, few campaigns can claim to have created new life, but this ground-breaking project for New Zealand AIDS foundation can claim such a thing. When the organisation wanted to demonstrate the fact that medical treatment had advanced to the point that the virus can be kept at bay and that people infected can carry on with a normal life, the team at DDB couldn’t shake the idea that creating a healthy baby using sperm from a many with HIV would be the ultimate demonstration. It was audacious. Unrealistic. And yet… they couldn’t shake it, so they shared it with the client. And so, they created a sperm bank that men with HIV could donate to.

The impact, Gary Steele explains, was unlike anything he’d seen before.  “When we launched her on World AIDS Day, we really didn't expect the response that we got, and we put it out there… We woke up to our inboxes completely full and all the media around the world just picking this up loving the headline, having the conversation, which was the most important part around the stigma and how safe with treatments HIV can be, and you can actually have and give birth to children. So, when that happened, I think 94 countries within a 24-hour period, were talking about it. And that conversation just spiralled and spiralled. 

“And the big surprise for us was we managed to get about 27 donors within a week. And 32 women came forward shortly after that. And the surprising thing is most of these women were saying the waiting list for any sperm donations around a two-year period. And when they heard about this, this opened another channel for them and actually changed the way they saw things and gave hope again. And that was great, because you had the 27 donors who actually really wanted to have children yet the 32 woman that came forward that were also in the same boat, and we just put them together. And I think we're now expecting another three verses. Yeah. On the what was it the 27th of January this year, just after 2pm, the very first baby to an HIV positive sperm bank was born. And she's a beautiful baby girl, and the mother's happy and the father's happy. And yeah, there's a lot of goodness in this idea.”

adidas GMR: Play Connected 


When Covid-19 lockdown rolled around, gaming went up and physical activity went down. adam&eveDDB saw an opportunity to bring together two of their clients to solve a problem – sportswear brand adidas and EA Sports’ Fifa. With kids using games to connect with their friends but becoming more sedentary, the agency saw a connection and a way to encourage more activity. They created a campaign that allowed players to accrue ingame currency with physical activity.

“The whole thing about a Fifa is: if it happens in life, it happens in the game. And tying it with adidas, trying to get kids moving. We knew that kids care about their avatars in their game, we knew that their points and their scores in the game were as important as as real life,” explains adam&eveDDB CCO Richard Brim. “It was about very much getting kids to move in the real life. So, it affects their chances and their standing in the game.  It was first on mobile, and then they went into the console. It's one of those things that you hear and it's just so simple.”

Miller Lite: Farewell Holiday Party

DDB Chicago & DDB San Francisco

Miller Lite from Representation on Vimeo.

This holiday period, with the office party on ice Miller Lite created a film that was an ironic homage to the annual cringefest that is the office party. Missing out was one of the few upsides of the pandemic. But, unexpectedly, Miller Lite also brought this diorama to life as a physical art exhibition, attracting 20,000 visitors. 

Britt Nolan explains: “If we only made the film, then you only get as many impressions as you pay for really. And so, you know, the goal here is to make something that gets amplified in culture and gets a lot of earned media, and then really takes off in PR, so the fact that it was a physical space and that it was so meticulously crafted, really contributed a tonne to that story. We worked with Alex Prager to execute this thing. And she is just absolutely nuts about every single detail. These people were real people that we cast that we scanned, then we recreated sculptures of them, added details like body hair that would be underneath a shirt, you know, that that no one's going to see anyway… It's about making something that we don't just pay to put in front of people, but making something that people are going to pick up and talk about and spread and amplify. In order to do that, you know, it was important that it was a physical place, and that it was meticulously executed. It was it actually, I mean, it's a weird, it was a weird time in history to launch a museum exhibit. But even despite COVID I think it saw over 20,000 visitors, it was one of their most visited exhibitions ever.”

Ubisoft: Watch Dogs Legion Tipping Point 

 DDB Paris

Politically charged and unapologetically so, the campaign for the latest outing in Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs may have been set in London but it was inspired by global events. Global CCO Ari Weiss fell in love with the craft and storytelling of the work coming out of the Paris office, as well as the timeliness.

“It was also coming out of a time in the world where we might have had a different president and there were a lot of feelings of, how much do we accept the world as it is versus push back on it? And the timeliness of that message, it was a little while ago now but it was a very potent message at the time. It’s beautifully told.”

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DDB North America, Fri, 18 Jun 2021 17:39:39 GMT