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Cannes highlights by Warren Brown


Being invited to be President of a Cannes jury is a real honour and I was lucky enough to land the Promo and Activation gig. I love the work in Promo and Activation as the ideas in it are screaming for attention like a spoilt kid. Trying to arouse curiosity and deliver an impact with measurable results in a condensed time frame is always going to be challenging creatively. For me it can be best summed up as ‘Creativity without borders’.

The jury this year is no exception to other years where there is a great mix of talented creative minds from all corners of the globe, except China, although we all know it's only a matter of time before that changes. It's something that to my mind makes Cannes unique and gives credibility to the notion that it is indeed the Olympics of advertising in all its forms. Our first day of judging revealed that setting world records, super sizing the product or experience to ridiculous proportions or re hashing a social phenomenon is still not going to get you very far.

Fresh ideas that make you feel something instantly without the veneer of familiarity are always going to win out. The jury found a few that made being stuck inside on a beautiful day in the med bearable.

Day two beckoned for what was more of the same but the good thing about being in Cannes before the madness that descends on the Croisette the following week is it's actually a lot more fun judging with a clear head, and I thought I'd never ever admit to that. Our jury stayed in a hotel where all the floors are themed differently taking the various continents as their design lead. I was on the African floor where the designers have taken deepest and darkest as their cue as I didn't know what I looked like in the morning until I got in the lift. My eyes eventually adjusted before I injured myself on the furniture.

Anyway we're there for the work.

Great ideas hit us like a bolt of lightening and if they don't kill us with envy they'll charge us with enthusiasm to do better. I regard Promo and Activation as creativity that is let off the leash and runs amok in our society creating an immediate impact, over the course of the first couple of days of judging some themes emerged.

The words challenge, solution and results are punctuated by words like world's first, awesome, incredible, outstanding, impossible goals, best ever, unbelievable, amazing, inspiring humanity, most talked about ever, never before in the history of marketing, in our wildest dreams etc, you get the picture. Such superlatives lose their potency when you hear them every few minutes for a couple of days.

What amazes me is how easy it is to attract an enormous level of interest with benign, bland and puerile activity. The world's apparent thirst for content of any sort seemingly knows no bounds. And don't get me started on the subject of stating the bleeding obvious and trying to pass it off as a searing insight. To think people get paid big bucks to do this is hilarious; anyway it only helps to elevate those who have dug deep enough to unearth something truly original and interesting to say.

At the end of day two and judging by the majority of entries it makes me wonder how on earth we ever managed to sell anything to anyone in the past without the help of blogs, apps, facebook, youtube or twitter.

After a three-day travel odyssey our judge from Argentina finally managed to join us with a ready made case study of his efforts to escape the cloud. We voted on it and from memory I think we gave it a Gold.

No show is complete without a Trojan horse idea or two. It must be one of the longest running campaigns ever, the idea that just keeps on giving, we also came across a beer campaign's insight that drinking beer can make you feel less than perfect the following morning, reeeeeally? I had no idea, to think for all these years in Cannes I've been blaming it on the sea air and sunshine.

It's also amusing to see people with misplaced optimism prepared to spend 10 times the budget they had for their idea on entering Cannes in an effort to try and snaffle a Lion. Mind you there was a student who had a go by submitting himself as a Promo, like it, big thinking, it's just as easy to fail at the top as it is at the bottom so why not start at the top.

There were some very clever ideas and plenty more that claimed overwhelming responses that tend to leave you feeling underwhelmed at best but the gems were gradually unearthed. If you were to believe every word of the case studies up for consideration it seems incredible that people have enough time to experience all the phenomenons and world firsts created by our industry. Not forgetting the ultimate experiences, who needs class A drugs when advertising is pumping out all this amazing experiential stuff?

The judging did have its lighter moments though, like Titanium was created for work that didn't quite fit in any category I think there's enough evidence to suggest Cannes could do with a WTF category as well. We ended day three and looked forward to the shortlist where opinions are shared amongst all 21 of us for the first time. The shortlist initially comprised of around 220 entries, which equates to roughly 10% of all the work entered. It’s a basic rule of thumb used by the Cannes organisers but it still manages to let some things through that don’t belong.

That’s where the fun begins, to tidy up the shortlist we began by pulling the chain on the work that barely scraped in. Coincidentally nearly all of this work had the unpleasant odour of scam about it so the jury was more than happy to flush those entries out.

What we ended up with was a body of work that anyone on the jury would be happy to put their name on, with some having achieved that distinction already. When you see how much work gets turfed out anyone who gets a shortlist should be pretty proud of themselves. Not exactly Gutter bar strutting stuff but pleased nonetheless.

Before the final shortlist is set in cement the jury have an opportunity to bring back any work, as long as they don’t have their or their network’s fingerprints all over it. Two pieces of work were retrieved, and included, the one I dragged back actually went on to win metal, always happens on juries, some things just turn from shit to clay before your very eyes. 175 carefully considered decisions later we had our shortlist.

Day five is all about metal, the jury now armed with their combined scores of how they ranked the 175 entries on the shortlist were ready to award the appropriate coloured metal, which isn’t as difficult as you’d think. In fact the Golds more or less self select, most of the discussion centered on the Silvers and Bronzes. Bearing in mind you can only upgrade rather than downgrade the metal, the jury tempered their enthusiasm for some of the work initially. One of the jurors thought it was important to explain work that we’d all seen several times.

Best to be patient in such circumstances and I did encourage everyone to get it all out as they may never be invited to be a Cannes judge again. Sometimes I could kick myself.

As we nudged closer to awarding the Grand Prix the room began to fill with the Cannes top brass, obviously keen to make sure we were still in full command of our faculties after five days of judging and weren’t about to loose the plot and create an international incident that would knock the troubles in the Eurozone off the front page.

For the Grand Prix we debated the merits of two obvious candidates, the other Gold winners being for public awareness or charity and therefore ineligible for the top prize. The discussion only served to strengthen one over the other to the point that the verdict was virtually unanimous. The campaign for the ROM chocolate bar from Romania was deserving of the Grand Prix and reminded us all that a great ballsy idea that uses technology as a lubricant to spread the message rather than as a crutch will always capture the hearts and minds of a Cannes jury.



BMF is the fifth most effective independent advertising agency in the world according to global analysis released in Cannes.
The rankings were released by Effie Worldwide and marketing intelligence service Warc and are based of Effie Award winners and finalists from 40 worldwide Effie competitions between June 2010 and June 2011.
Rufus Olins, chief executive of Warc, said: “The Effie Effectiveness Index will become the industry standard. It is the world’s most comprehensive ranking of agency and advertiser performance and a valuable resource for anyone interested in marketing effectiveness.”
We were awarded joint fifth along with Propaganda House from the Ukraine. The number one most effective independent agency was Wieden + Kennedy in the US, followed by Kinograf (Ukraine), Rabarba (Turkey) and BBH Singapore.

Read full article here

BMF tops Mumbrella creative agency study


BMF has come out on top of the inaugural Mumbrella Creative Agency Performance and Perception Study. From a field of Australia’s top 30 agencies, an expert panel and Mumbrella’s readership gave the Photon-owned agency the highest overall score – 78.9 out of 100 across 10 assessment criteria.

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne came second, with an overall score of 75.78. Third was Host – the highest ranked independent agency – followed by Droga5 and Three Drunk Monkeys.

BMF top scored in six of the 10 criteria – creativity, effectiveness, integration, talent, planning and impact on the industry.

The results (total score out of 100):

1.  BMF 78.9

2.  Clemenger BBDO Melbourne 75.78

3.  Host 74.24

4.  Droga5 73.1

5.  Three Drunk Monkeys 71.83

6.  Whybin\TBWA Sydney 70.44

7.  DDB Sydney 68.03

8.  GPY&R Melbourne 67.6

9.  Leo Burnett Sydney 66.38

10. Clemenger BBDO Sydney 65.29


View full article on Mumbrella

Domino’s appoints BMF as new ad agency


Australia’s largest pizza delivery company Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (“Domino’s”) today announced it has appointed creative advertising agency BMF to lead the Company’s strategic direction and creative advertising for its Australian and New Zealand business.

 BMF will commence on 16 May 2011 and will lead Domino’s above the line and below the line advertising.

 Domino’s CEO Don Meij said he is excited to welcome BMF to the Domino’s team and is looking forward to a long-term, successful partnership.

 “I am delighted to welcome the BMF creative team to the Domino’s family and look forward to seeing the team take us to a whole new level in the future,” Don said.

 “Our promotional activity has been really successful over the past few months and we are expecting BMF to deliver even more engaging promotions and advertising campaigns to our customers.”

 Domino’s Chief Marketing Officer Allan Collins said the Company undertook a three-month review of key creative agencies in Australia to find the best agency suited to the Domino’s business.

 “Following an extensive selection process, BMF stood out as the best creative agency - one that understands our consumers, our brand and the way we operate,” Allan said.

 “We were very impressed with BMF’s ability to have a huge amount of empathy for our business and the steps that we need to put in place to take our emotional engagement with consumers to the next level.

 “We welcome them as a key partner to our business and as key extension to the marketing team.”

 BMF CEO Jeremy Nicholas said his team was excited at the opportunity to work with Domino’s and felt the entrepreneurial business was a great fit for BMF.

 “Domino’s is an ambitious, innovative and entrepreneurial business – a great partner for BMF,” Jeremy said.

 “BMF is looking forward to working with one of Australia’s most forward-thinking companies.”

 Domino’s Pizza is the market leader in the Australian pizza industry with more than 46% market share in the chained pizza category.

 The Company and its franchisees have 539 stores across Australia and New Zealand, employing more than 15,000 part-time and full-time staff who make more than 50 million pizzas each year. 



BMF has formally been appointed as Ferrero Australiaʼs lead creative agency. This follows the agency working on further brands within the Ferrero portfolio, including Kinder Surprise, Nutella and Ferrero Rocher.

Yannick Durand, Marketing Director at Ferrero said, “Ferrero Australia is very excited to be working alongside an agency like BMF. We have now been working together for over a year, and have been consistently impressed by the calibre of the work, and the professionalism of the people. We look forward to developing some great campaigns with their team”.

Martin Rippon, Managing Director at BMF said, “This is a great opportunity to work across a prestigious portfolio of world-class brands. Itʼs also nice that many of them involve chocolate.”

To date, BMF have produced campaigns for the Kinder Surprise and Pralines brands.

BMFlug-Tag - flying in the face of gravity


Introducing the inaugural BMFlug-Tag.

Flug-Tag is usually people throwing themselves off a ledge inside some manner of flying contraption trying to go as far as possible. Much like this:

BMFlug Tag is slightly different. It’s an all-BMF event where we’re going to use little balsa wood gliders, which we’ll throw at a target in Miller Lane Park. There’s no need to dress up like an idiot, unless you want to, which would be okay too. We'll simply be grabbing gliders, pimping them up, and then preparing ourselves for winged glory.

BMFlug-Tag – together we’re flying in the face of gravity.