Inspired by the Cannes Lions International Film Festival, the International Advertising Film Festival was first established in 1954. The name has since changed to the International Festival of Creativity and is said to be the largest gathering of international advertising professionals, digital innovators, marketers and designers in the world . The festival takes place in Cannes, France every year in June. For those of us unable to make it to France this year, however, the Winnipeg Art Gallery is screening the reel of winners until Dec. 28.
Thousands of entries are shown and judged each year by jurors from creative organizations around the world. A record 28,828 entries were received this year. These were finally narrowed down to a select list of winners, in a multitude of categories, including Film Lions and Film Craft Lions, each with one Grand Prix winner , all of which are included in the reel shown at the WAG.
The first, and biggest, category presented is the Film Lions, in which commercials are judged based on their content. The winners in this category include big names such as Nikon, Sony and Google. The commercials are separated into Bronze, Silver and Gold awards within the category. Even if you don’t recognize the products being advertised, you’ll still get a laugh from ads such as Toast Men for Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne in Japan and Rear View Girls for Levi Strauss in New Zealand. Some might make you cry, while others might simply serve to make you think. Either way, every ad makes a rather sizeable impact, which is exactly why Cannes Lions has chosen to honour them.
Another category is the Film Craft Lions, in which ads are judged by the filmmaking process, with emphasis on direction, use of sound or music, and editing. Again, the ads are separated into Bronze, Silver and Gold awards depending on their quality. Here, the commercials in this category are more likely to make you think, with or without humor, rather than just making you laugh. My favourite ad in the Film Craft category is one from Sony Ericsson; it compares the complexities and features of various smartphones with a humorous twist, making the ad memorable and effective. Certain ads will have a deeper, more personal impact on you.
All in all, going to see the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity at the WAG was time well spent. We’re bombarded with commercials every day on TV, radio and billboards — ads that only aim to push a product on us. The Cannes Lions winners are far more than that. Yes, they all want us to go out and spend money on a particular product, but they also provoke feelings of pride, indignation, sadness and joy. When someone can provoke that much emotion in 60 seconds, recognition is certainly due.
The 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is being shown at the Winnipeg Art Gallery from Nov. 28 to Dec. 28. Visit www.wag.ca for screening times and ticket information.