Cannes advertising festival 2016

The Cannes international festival of advertising are the Olympics of commercial films. The yearly event awards Bronze, Silver and Gold Lions to the best ones. Luckily we get to see and judge for ourselves. The day when commercials could only be seen on TV in 15 or 30 seconds clips are long gone. There are more platforms than ever (you tube, corporate websites and others), and some of the ads are so long that they feel more like short films than commercials. I’ve been going to see Cannes advertising festivals for more than 20 years. They used to be more fun. A short 30 seconds clip was almost always assured to have a few laughs and a good punch line. I must confess that I sometime remembered the ads, but often I had forgotten the products the ads were selling. Especially if the ads were funny. This year there seems to be less boring car or truck commercials. One of the highlights this year is an animated ad for Honda. Human hands are throwing cards or flipping design of a car on a drawing table. The car is constantly changing. Going down a road, then another. The high quality of the animation is breathtaking. A series of mind–boggling ads shows stop motion animated puppets made of wool. There are a few powerful ads about road safety. One of them show the impact of an accident on not only the victims, but on their families and loved ones. They too are thrown up in the air amid the shards of glass and broken car parts. Because of the growing lengths of the ads, there is more time to tell stories and those have a lasting impact. Two of the longer commercials are about accidents caused by cell phones users. In one, a young university athlete sees his life forever changed. Then there is one showing the events leading up to an accident, not only from the drivers, but also from witnesses. After the accident, the ad then fast forwards to the moment where the accident could have been avoided. This is certainly one of my favourite this year. We see more ads this year denouncing violence against women and rape. A series of ads stars Reshma Quereshi , an 18-year-old girl from Mumbai, India, who’s face has been horribly burned by acid. Reshma’s make up tips will have many people in the cinema cringe. Its aim is force Indian government to put an end to over-the-counter acid sales in India. Mexico has seen a rise of violent crimes against women. So Mexican beer brand Tecate claims it doesn’t want to sell you beer if you commit violence against women. You think at first that it’s a bad joke, but by the end of the commercial you realise that Tecate is dead serious. The best ad comes from Norway. It has a soon to be born girl reading a “Dear daddy” letter. The ad is about asking men to treat every women as if they were their own daughters, to speak up when boys and friends speak about girls and women in derogatory terms. To put an end to a systemic rape culture. The Cannes advertising festival 2016 is a good sample of the best in commercial films. And how powerful they still are.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Cannes advertising festival 2016

Directed by

Various directors from various countries

113 min.




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