Another year, another booze-fueled, scandal-plagued ego trip on the French riviera. If that sounds harsh, perhaps it is. It’s easier to forgive the excesses of Cannes when they’re accompanied by inspiring work. Unfortunately, this year was a bit of a dud.
Few airline industry campaigns were awarded, and many of those that did pick up Lions are retreads of previous years’ campaigns. Last year, airlines took eight Silver and 15 Bronze Lions, already a far cry from the heights of 2014. This year, it was just four Silver and five Bronze, with most of those in lesser categories.
Last year, airlines had a spectacular showing at the Cannes Lions, with a Grand Prix, six Golds, eight Silvers, and eight Bronzes. Inevitably, this year’s performance (eight Silver, 15 Bronze) was not quite so lofty. But there were some strong contenders, along with the usual mix of shocking omissions and perplexing victors that really make you wonder what the hell the judges were thinking.
“Champagne, sir?” asks the flight attendant.
“Oh, no, I couldn’t possibly,” I answer graciously as I recline in my first-class seat, nonstop from New York to Nice. My seat companion, a famous movie star, wants to hear my story about that shoot I went on that one time, but I’ve already delighted her with it seven times and now I grow weary. I settle in for a few hours of blissful slumber.
Yes, fine, you’re right, this flight is only happening in my imagination. For the fourth year in a row, Branded Skies reports on Cannes from nearly 4,000 miles away.
But what a year it has been for airline brands. For the first time since 2009, work for an airline won a Grand Prix. Of course, it won in the least likely category. But that’s Cannes, where a billboard with no response mechanism at all can be crowned the best direct response work of the year.
It doesn’t have to make sense.
No, not literally, unfortunately. But for someone interested in airline branding, there wasn’t really that much to see at Cannes this year anyway. Mary Wells, famous for branding Braniff Airlines, once said that hard times call for hard selling, and last year’s times were very hard indeed for the airline industry.
Unfortunately, Cannes Lions are rarely given out for 1/8-page newspaper ads announcing seat sales.
There were, however, some winners—or, really, three: Norwegian Airlines, which won a bronze outdoor Lion for its cute “Last one to leave please turn out the lights” bus shelter, Germanwings, which won a bronze Film Lion for a gutsy and hilarious spot that I’ve embeded below, and Virgin, which won all the rest. Read more