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Music and voice: what it takes to become a Cannes Lion

Posted by Symon Dickinson - Creative Director at PHMG on

Last week, The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity celebrated the most exciting innovators in all creative industries, from marketing to design and technology. Stand-out campaigns and agencies were rewarded with gold, silver and bronze accolades – including those that used music and voice to make brands sing. Join us as we take a look at the audio trend-setters that walked away with the ceremony’s most illustrious prizes.

Recognised as a central category for the first time last year, ‘Entertainment for Music’ celebrates creative collaborations between music artists and brands. Awards include ‘Use of Original Composition’ and ‘Production of Exclusive Artist Content in Partnership with a Brand’, and are based on their ability to entertain, engage, and drive business.

Some of the 2017 winners to receive gold in Entertainment for Music were SONY Music’s ‘Black M’, going against the “Controversy of Verdun”; Vida Mujer Organization’s ‘A Love Song Written by a Murderer’, recognised for its contrasting connotations of love and guilt; and Nike and Jordan brand’s ‘We The People’, impressing the judges with a refreshing, uplifting reprieve to today’s corrupt world. But representing exactly what it takes to become a Music Lion was Adidas’ ‘Original is never finished’ – which took the Grand Prix. The sportswear giant’s 90-second spot, created by Johannes Leonardo, develops its anthem on originality by challenging the very concept it was built on – the future. In fact, it suggests the future is empowered by the past – combining modern creators, like Snoop Dogg and Stormzy, with the classic sounds of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’.

Beyond the music, the ‘Direct’ category recognises the skill that goes into directly targeting a specific audience and producing measureable and meaningful results – paving the way to celebrate an ad for its rather creative use of voice. Burger King’s ‘Google Home of the Whopper’ campaign contained a message to activate Google’s voice personal assistant (Home) encouraging a direct response by utilizing the latest technology – making it a huge talking point and a viral sensation. Other awards in the category went to Netflix’s innovative use of social media in the ad ‘Spanish Lessons’, and Adidas’ ‘Odds’, which directly confronts prejudice.

So what do these award-winning campaigns have in common? Whether it be a broadcast, music video, or media stunt, they’re all direct, they challenge usual advertising techniques, and they use a clever combination of music and voice to enhance the important message being delivered. On-Hold Marketing is no different. It offers a brand congruent blend of music, voice artistry and copy that delivers a return of investment. And one day, this unique, powerful and captivating medium may well be recognised with its very own lion.

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